Garden Blog

Speaking of Wreaths…

By Dawn Wagner Todd, MsK Nursery Intern

Ancient gold wreath found in subway dig

The Kruckeberg annual wreath-making event, in conjunction with my Propagation class final project, got me to wondering…how long have folks been making wreaths?

It turns out they’ve been making wreaths a long time. The photo above is a gold wreath of olive leaves dating to the Early Hellenistic Era, at the end of the fourth—or perhaps early third century B.C. It was a headdress.

That takes me back to my own history.  Is there anyone among us who hasn’t been tempted by various forms of foliage to create a headdress?  As a Navy brat I spent a few of my formative years in Florida, where the trees are thick with Spanish moss, or Tillandsia usneoides. It is an epiphyte, which is a plant that grows on another plant, but is not a parasite.  It is an air plant, getting nutrients from the air and the rain. Though no doubt riddled with insect life, we nonetheless draped it over our heads, using it as disguise and decoration both. I am not the first to think of Spanish moss in conjunction with wreaths; there are entire websites devoted to the subject.

COM_CONTENT_READ_MORESpeaking of Wreaths…

Art, Nature, and Awe


Dawn Wagner Todd, MsK Nursery Intern


Cross section of tree

Our Wood Wave Dedication Ceremony on November 16th was a wonderful event. The excitement in the air was tangible; the warmth of spirit was a welcome counterpoint to the chill of autumn. Bruce Johnson’s amazing piece, made from a 1000-year-old redwood root system, was well described by donor Bruce Amundson—I’m paraphrasing here—as causing that “Wow!” reaction. He was so right, and we cannot thank him and JoAnn Amundson enough for making it possible for us to experience that “Wow!”



Inventory,Taxonomy, and Other Horticultural Challenges

By Dawn W Todd, MsK Nursery Intern

Name THIS!Name This!

Thank you all so much for helping to make our fall plant sale a success!  Now the sale has ended, it is time to take stock…literally. Plant inventory time.

Last Thursday as I worked my way through the tables of potted plants, carefully writing the formal Latin plant names in our ledger, I couldn’t help thinking about Carolus Linnaeus, aka Carl Linnaeus, aka Carl von Linné.  That’s his picture up top—were you able to name it? He was a Swedish doctor, naturalist and explorer who is considered the father of taxonomy.  Prior to Linnaeus plants had long, complicated names that had more information included in them than anyone needed.

COM_CONTENT_READ_MOREInventory,Taxonomy, and Other Horticultural Challenges

Mysterious Visitor on Halloween

By Dawn Wagner Todd, MsK Nursery Intern

I had an apparently ghostly visitation as I potted baby Myrica last Friday.  I kept hearing a rapping sound, as if someone were working with tools nearby. I thought I was alone, and each time I looked around I saw nothing but the silent autumn trees.  Enjoying the sweet smell of the Katsura in the air I kept working, but I also kept expecting one of our energetic volunteers to appear with a shovel or a pick.  Nothing. When I went to fetch more pots I walked around a bit, still hearing the sounds of work, still seeing nothing. Finally a volunteer came up the path from the meadow. “Did you see the Pileated Woodpecker?” she asked. Mystery solved!

COM_CONTENT_READ_MOREMysterious Visitor on Halloween

My Story

By Brianne Zorn, KBGF Executive Director

The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden (KBG) is an important part of the Northwest horticultural community, and it resonates differently with each person.

Why is KBG important to me? It was the first place I saw a Helwingia chinensis (Helwingia) in bloom, one of two species in an uncommon genus. I had never before seen a plant that flowered from the midrib of the leaf and I was amazed. KBG is important to me because the garden was a botany lesson every time I visited. Dr. Kruckeberg would always quiz me on my botanical knowledge, as he still does to this day! I learn something new each time I walk through the garden.


Upholding the Kruckeberg Tradition

By Brianne Zorn, Executive Director

This year, we revived the Kruckeberg tradition of collecting specimens in the wild.For years, Art and Mareen Kruckeberg, with family and friends in tow, made journeys to the far reaches of the Northwest to collect seeds and cuttings to grow in their garden. This September, in the spirit of the Kruckebergs, we traveled to their favorite place: the Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon.With general directions from Art (“Take the River Fork Road out of O’Brien”) we traveled to the places where he historically collected.

COM_CONTENT_READ_MOREUpholding the Kruckeberg Tradition