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November 2009


In this issue
  • Arboretum Launches Bradley Garden Improvements
  • Plant Spotlight on Betula uber
  • Give the Gift of Arboretum Membership this Season
  • Esther Sternberg on the Science of Place and Health
  • Food for Thought: Visit the Arnold Arboretum Library
  • Take a Class: Garden in Your Mind's Eye
  • Botanica Exhibition Artist Offers Free Gallery Talk
  • Don't Miss the Final Walking Tours of 2009

  • Plant Spotlight on Betula uber
    Roundleaf birch

    While you can spot sweet birch (Betula lenta) displaying its autumn yellows just about anywhere in New England, the Arnold Arboretum is one of the few places you can marvel at the more golden tones of its ally species, the roundleaf birch (Betula uber). With a wild population numbering just a few dozen trees in its native Smythe County, Virginia, and grown sparingly in cultivation, B. uber is now protected as a federally threatened species. As its common name suggests, its leaves are more rounded than those of most birches, and emit a wintergreen scent when crushed. Usually topping out at less than 40 feet in height, roundleaf birch sports slender branches and an oval crown. A 25-year-old specimen can be viewed in the birch collection near the bend of Bussey Hill Road.

    Give the Gift of Arboretum Membership this Season

    Give a gift that gives back and helps keep the Arboretum growing. Share the many benefits of Arboretum membership with your loved ones (or treat yourself!) and help sustain the Arboretum's programs for research, education, horticulture, and landscape enhancements like those currently underway in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection. As a Friend of the Arnold Arboretum your gift membership recipient will receive a year of great benefits, including subscriptions to Silva and Arnoldia, free plant material, and discounts on classes, purchases at the bookstore and at participating nurseries, and admission to partner gardens. For holiday gifts, please place your gift order no later than Friday, December 14 to allow for processing and delivery.

    Esther Sternberg on the Science of Place and Health
    Dr. Esther Sternberg

    Can a walk through the Arboretum improve your outlook? Dr. Esther Sternberg, author of Healing Spaces, has studied how our responses to external pressures and our sense of well being can be influenced by our surroundings. Join her on Sunday, November 8 at 2:00pm at Boston's historic Trinity Church for a talk describing her findings for the National Institute of Mental Health.

    Food for Thought: Visit the Arnold Arboretum Library
    Arnold Arboretum Library and Archives

    Though the Arnold Arboretum is best known for the remarkable collection of woody plants in its landscape, did you know there are also thousands of treasures you can explore inside? Through more than a century of collecting that began with Charles Sprague Sargent's personal library, the collection has grown to encompass 40,000 works related to botany, horticulture, forestry, landscape design, and more. While the collection is non-circulating, you may visit the library Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm, utilize materials onsite, and receive reference assistance from staff. You may also pose questions via e-mail to or by phone at 617.522.1086.

    Take a Class: Garden in Your Mind's Eye
    Garden in the Mind's Eye

    Thoughtful garden design requires more than just an inspiring plant list and an eye for proper placement. Pursuing excellence involves practicalities, economics, and philosophies of design. In an effort to bring it all into perspective, designer Tony Bernstein presents a five-session workshop, A Garden in Your Mind's Eye, starting November 2. You'll start by learning core design principles, and train your eye to envision how such elements as architecture, landscape, and environmental factors contribute to a cohesive garden. You'll be coached to clarify your own aspirations and expectations, developing a vision that's reflective of your personality and lifestyle. Start planning your spring garden this autumn at the Arnold Arboretum.

    Botanica Exhibition Artist Offers Free Gallery Talk
    Klein Artwork: Oak Leaves on Bolete

    Marty Klein carefully scans plants and other natural objects to create arresting images imbued with depth and contrast. An exhibition of his work, Botanica: Scanography by Marty Klein, continues this month in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall. View the exhibition and learn about his technique and its capacity to expose fine details and textures at an artist's talk on Thursday, November 19 at 6:30pm.

    Don't Miss the Final Walking Tours of 2009
    Fall walking tours

    Colorful fruits and bark, foraging wildlife, and the soft crunch of leaves underfoot characterize visits to the Arnold Arboretum in November. Experience the wonders of autumn on a free landscape tour with a knowledgeable docent. Only five tours remain this year, so plan to join us for a closer look at our collections in seasonal transition.

    Mark your calendar for November 21 for stories of trees told under storied trees! Arboretum staff and volunteers treat kids to tree, plant, and nature-themed storybooks at 11:00am. Free tours and story hour start at the Hunnewell Building.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except roundleaf birch image by Jean-Pol Grandmont, Sternberg lecture image courtesy of the speaker, Garden in the Mind's Eye image courtesy of the instructor, and Botanica exhibition image courtesy of the artist.

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    Arboretum Launches Bradley Garden Improvements
    Bradley Garden Enhancements

    Established on a seven-acre parcel near the Arboretum ponds in the 1980s, the Bradley Rosaceous Collection has developed into a popular visitor destination and a valued resource for the study of plants in the rose family. This year, a number of improvements marked the start of a multi-year commitment to improve the quality and display of the collection, enhance opportunities for visitor education, and improve accessibility.

    Horticultural work has focused on improving the health and presentation of the collection by reshaping planting beds, rejuvenating and resituating individual specimens (pictured), and removing compromised or redundant accessions. The Arboretum's curation department has worked to refocus the collection to boost its scope and scientific value, efforts supported by the collecting and propagating activities of the greenhouse staff. Watch the transformation of this garden in coming seasons as it develops in exciting and educational ways.

    Find out more about landscape management at the Arboretum...
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