June 2011


In this issue
  • Explore the Trees of Borneo with Cam Webb
  • E. H. Wilson and a Century of Notable Plants
  • Save-the-Date: 2011 Members' Plant Giveway
  • June Classes: Vines, Plant Pests, & Bark Ecology
  • BioBlitz Inventories Arboretum Bugs and Birds
  • Painters for a Purpose: A Walk in the Arboretum
  • Plant Spotlight on Magnolia virginiana
  • A Dynamic Landscape Awaits This Summer

  • E. H. Wilson and a Century of Notable Plants
    E. H. Wilson

    E. H. Wilson led plant collecting trips for the Arboretum on four continents, but he's best known for his bountiful explorations in China. One hundred years have passed since his last major Chinese expedition, but his lifework continues to inspire through the paperbark maple, beautybush, regal lily, and hundreds of other plants he collected and helped introduce to Western horticulture. Join Jim Gorman on June 4 at 1:00pm in the Hunnewell Building lecture hall for an in-depth look at Wilson's life and legacy. View a selection of Wilson's choice introductions growing in the Arboretum landscape, including some grown from seeds he collected. This program is free, but please register in advance.

    Save-the-Date: 2011 Members' Plant Giveway
    Walnut trees

    Arboretum members, mark your calendars for the 2011 Members' Plant Giveaway, scheduled for Saturday, September 17 at the Arboretum. The event offers members the opportunity to select free plants as part of the Arboretum's mission to promote and exchange exceptional trees, shrubs, and vines for New England gardens. Staff experts will help you with your selections and offer advice on planting and care, and the event will conclude with a free drawing for exceptional specimens from the Arboretum nursery. Save the date for a morning of fun and fascinating flora!

    June Classes: Vines, Plant Pests, & Bark Ecology
    Bark Ecology

    The Arboretum offers a variety of compelling programs this month to enhance your knowledge of woody plants and their care. On June 2 and 4, join Arborist John DelRosso and Horticultural Technologist Kevin Block for an evening lecture and daytime walk investigating the various types of insect pests, plant diseases, and stresses that affect woody plants. On Wednesday, June 15, Horticultural Technologist Jen Kettell introduces an array of woody vines, focusing on characteristics such as attachment mechanisms and growth habits that make them suitable for specific uses in the garden. Learn how to identify trees by their bark and discover how this vital plant structure evolved with nature writer Michael Wojtech on Saturday, June 25.

    BioBlitz Inventories Arboretum Bugs and Birds
    Japanese stewartia and bee

    Harvard biologists, students, and science enthusiasts participated in a survey of insects and birds at the Arnold Arboretum on May 1 as part of the second annual Harvard University Campus BioBlitz. Beginning at midnight on Sunday, May 1 and continuing for 24 hours in multiple locations around the University, volunteers catalogued their encounters with plants, insects, birds, and more to gain insight into local biodiversity. Activities at the Arboretum centered on the meadow, the landscape along Meadow Road, and the North Woods, and included the placement of "bee bowls" to sample pollinating insects. Organisms spotted in the 2011 BioBlitz were recorded on the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), an online biodiversity database.

    Painters for a Purpose: A Walk in the Arboretum
    Barbara Chaisson Big Birch

    Painters for a Purpose, a group of South Shore pastel artists, present the collections from a variety of viewpoints in a new exhibition, A Walk in the Arboretum. Opening June 11, the show explores the Arboretum landscape in all seasons, capturing natural beauty and changes in light and atmosphere. The artists find a perfect muse in the Arboretum's idyllic beauty, utilizing pastels to render intense colors and contrasting textures. Join the artists at 1:00pm on June 11 for an opening reception, and an artists talk on Wednesday, June 29 at 6:30pm.

    Plant Spotlight on Magnolia virginiana
    Magnolia virginiana

    The magnolia collection provided a stunning backdrop when the Arboretum hosted the annual meeting of the Magnolia Society International earlier this spring. One species worth seeking out this month is the late-blooming Magnolia virginiana, the sweetbay magnolia. It's native from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Texas, and delights with creamy white, sweet-scented flowers and a graceful, multi-stemmed form. M. virginiana grows well in wet soils, tolerates shade, and is usually unbothered by pests and disease. Visit a fine example growing near the Arborway Gate, bordering the right side of the driveway wall as you enter.

    A Dynamic Landscape Awaits This Summer
    Spring Landscape

    Flowers, fragrances, and beautiful views make June a great time to enjoy a free tour at the Arboretum. Docent-guided tours start from the Visitor Center on Saturdays at 10:30am, Sundays at 1:00pm, Wednesdays at 12:15pm, and at 6:00pm on Friday, June 3 for a special evening tour. Check our calendar for special theme tours through the summer, and look for Arboretum interpreters stationed in the landscape on weekend days through October. Visit and experience the Arboretum in a new light.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except Bark book cover courtesy of the author and exhibition image ("Big Birch") courtesy of Barbara Chaisson of Painters for a Purpose.

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    Explore the Trees of Borneo with Cam Webb
    Cam Webb

    Arboretum Senior Research Scientist Campbell Webb and an international team have spent the past two months camped in the inner valley of Gunung Palung National Park in Indonesian Borneo, as part of a three-year study of forest biodiversity, evolution, and ecology. Since early April, Cam has been blogging from the forest, describing some of the remarkable plants, animals, and natural phenomena his team has encountered. Join him for a presentation on his field work on Thursday, June 23 at 7:00pm in the Weld Hill Research Building lecture hall. Hear more about his experiences and discoveries, and learn how this research raises both global and local awareness of the natural wonders at risk of disappearing through rapid deforestation and development.

    Read more and register for this talk...
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