Arboretum Foundation Program: Do Ecogeographic Gardens Work in Olmsted Parks?

The Olmsted Brothers firm had a long history of involvement in the development of Washington Park. In 1904, John Charles Olmsted designed the route of Lake Washington Boulevard through the park. When Works Progress Administration funding made it possible to develop an arboretum in the park, the Seattle Garden Club paid for James Frederick Dawson of the Olmsted Brothers firm to design it. Dawson's 1936 plan laid out the physical infrastructure of the park, including the shaping of the lagoons at the north end of the park and the circulation patterns within the park, and the organization of the plants according to their taxonomic classification.

For the past several years the University of Washington, the Parks Department, and The Berger Partnership have been implementing the 2001 Arboretum Master Plan, which calls for a reorganization of some of the plant collections into ecogeographic regions in the Pacific Connections Garden.

In his lecture, FSOP board member and Berger Partnership landscape architect Andy Mitton will explore the work that led up to the implementation of Washington Park Arboretum and how the current collections are organized. He will look at the New Zealand Forest to understand how this newly installed 2.5-acre ecogeographic garden follows several principles of an Olmsted designed park. Andy will also discuss the importance of historic landscapes and how new components can fit into the fabric of an existing park system.

RSVP: Seating for the lecture is limited. To save your place, please email Rhonda Bush or call her at 206-941-2550.


New Zealand Forest, Washington Park Arboretum. Courtesy Arboretum Foundation