Amid a pandemic, nature’s beauty blossoms

Normally, this first week of Summer Quarter would be buzzing with activity on campus. Instead, there’s a subdued, sparser setting in which students, faculty and staff traffic has been greatly reduced and kept home to help combat transmission of COVID-19.

But Facilities Grounds crews have been busily tending to our campus and keeping it looking glorious and pristine. For those not able to access campus, we wanted to bring the campus to you, through the senses and lenses of our staff. Many thanks from UW Facilities employees Kandis Byrd, Katie Kadwell, Chris Pennington and Keith Possee who helped photograph our Seattle campus for this pictorial. Enjoy.

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The Medicinal Herb Garden is mostly tended to by Keith Possee, who has been on campus since 1996. “I enjoy the full spectrum of the year, from planning and propagating in winter and spring to planting out in the garden and cultivating the plants and then saving seeds and trading them with other botanic gardens. I’ve had the chance to add a lot of plant diversity to and increased the size of the collection.”

Possee also maintains a blog about his musings and observations of the Herb Garden.

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Some of the many plants located in the Medicinal Herb Garden, including clockwise, from top left: Asclepias tuberosa, Wyethia scabra, Mirabilis multiflora, and Aquilegia chrysantha.

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Fireweed at Denny Hall attracts beneficial insects, including bees. Native Americans and people of Siberian descent have been known to collect the roots of fireweed and cook and eat them. In Canada’s Yukon Territory, the flowers are made into jelly.


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This Elderberry, or Sambucus, is tucked in a nook of Hutchinson Hall.


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Ceanothus, otherwise known as California lilac. This shrub loves the sunshine near Suzzallo and Allen libraries.

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Nestled behind the Facilities Administration Building, these ice plants thrive under hot, dry conditions.


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Clockwise, from top: Tree peony located on Klickitat Lane; Checkerboard lilies in the Quad, and a Coneflower plant outside Willow Hall. The aptly-named checkerboard lilies enjoy immunity from hungry squirrels and deer.

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Did you know that vegetables are growing outside the UW Tower? These pepper plants are expected to do well in full sun.

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Drumheller Fountain from a distance. Summer quarter during a pandemic means very few people on campus, but campus fowl are enjoying the relative peace.


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Mama and baby cruise around the calm waters of Drumheller Fountain. Photo by Howard Nakase

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The rose garden around Drumheller Fountain features dozens of cultivars.

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Roses at Drumheller Fountain.

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“…When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.”

— Singer/songwriter Bette Midler, The Rose