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October 2012


In this issue
  • Conditions Favor Good Year for Autumn Foliage
  • Birches: More than Meets the Eye
  • Enjoy Membership Perks at Gardens Nationwide
  • Practical Classes Offer Hands-on Learning
  • Plant Spotlight on the Maple Collection
  • October Lectures Illuminate Plants, Gardens, History
  • Artists in the Arboretum Exhibited Through 11/18
  • Enjoy the Best of Fall on a Free Tour

  • Birches: More than Meets the Eye
    Hugh McAllister

    Last year, University of Liverpool botanist Hugh McAllister visited the Arboretum to research plants for monographs he was preparing for the genera Sorbus (mountain ashes) and Betula (birches). This month, Hugh returns to study the living collection as a recipient of the Sargent Award, following up on questions about the evolutionary history of these and related plants. Join him on October 2 for an in-depth and richly illustrated look at birches, from the propensity of North American paper-bark birches (Betula papyrifera) to freely hybridize to the distribution of various species around the world. Hugh will also lead a Tree Mob about birches on October 11.

    Enjoy Membership Perks at Gardens Nationwide

    If your autumn travels include outings to botanical gardens and arboreta, your Arboretum membership entitles you to reciprocal benefits at institutions allied with the American Horticultural Society. Our members may enjoy free or discounted admission and other benefits at more than 270 organizations in 45 states, plus Canada, the Cayman Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Membership not only fosters a closer connection to the Arnold Arboretum, it also welcomes you into the larger community of North American public gardens and horticulture.

    Practical Classes Offer Hands-on Learning

    Classes at the Arnold Arboretum can be your path to new skills and knowledge for an array of plant-related activities. Discover the best methods to propagate new plants from seeds and cuttings with Propagator Jack Alexander on October 20. Join Head Arborist John DelRosso on October 21, for instruction on handling and maintaining your chainsaw for safe pruning and tree removal. And Roslindale photographer Eric Gehring shares tips for composing and capturing great tree photographs on October 28. Register today and learn to grow!

    Plant Spotlight on the Maple Collection

    Perhaps more than any other species, the iconic sugar maple (Acer saccharum) makes New England a favorite destination for viewing spectacular autumn foliage. When the weather cooperates, sugar maple leaves display a rich range of tones before defoliating, from golden yellow to bright orange and crimson red. Sugar maples join 56 additional maple species at the Arboretum, comprising a national collection that has been ranked among the most significant in the world for conservation. This month, enjoy the broad range of colors produced by this diverse collection, including the orange-red foliage of the paperbark maple (A. griseum), the apricot tones of three-flowered maple (A. triflorum), and the multiple hues of Korean maple (A. pseudosieboldianum).

    October Lectures Illuminate Plants, Gardens, History
    Frances Benjamin Johnson

    Connect with leading experts in biology, horticulture, and landscape history this month at the Arboretum. Learn What a Plant Knows and senses from its environment with Daniel Chamovitz on October 10. On October 18, Peter Hatch, Former Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, discusses A Rich Spot of Earth that Jefferson cultivated and how it has been faithfully restored to display his agricultural legacy. Meet the The Brookline Troika, planners of Boston's model suburb, with Keith Morgan on October 25. And join Sam Watters for a morning or evening program on October 29 showcasing the photographs of Frances Benjamin Johnson, Gardens for a Beautiful America. All talks presented in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall; please register in advance.

    Artists in the Arboretum Exhibited Through 11/18
    Artists in the Arboretum

    View the Arboretum through the eyes and inspiration of artists. "Artists in the Arboretum: Looking Closely" presents works that depict and celebrate the majesty of our landscape and living collection. Organized in association with Jamaica Plain Open Studios, this juried show features paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, and mixed-media assemblages created by 28 local artists. View the exhibition through November 18 in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall.

    Enjoy the Best of Fall on a Free Tour
    Docent Tour

    From fall fruits and colorful foliage to a diversity of bark tones and textures, the Arboretum delights the senses at this time of year. Enjoy a free tour of the Arboretum landscape with a friendly and knowledgeable docent on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays through the end of November. Special theme tours include an exploration of conservation pioneers on October 14, a look at seed dispersal on October 20, and two Saturday morning bird walks, October 13 and 20. October also offers your last chance this year to interact with volunteer interpreters stationed in the landscape on weekends, as well as one more free drop-in activity for families on October 27.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except birch lecture photograph courtesy of Hugh McAllister, Frances Benjamin Johnson photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress, and Artists in the Arboretum image courtesy of Nan Porter.

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    Conditions Favor Good Year for Autumn Foliage
    fall foliage

    With signs of the changing season beginning to appear at the Arboretum, those interested in leaf peeping may wonder whether 2012 will be be a good year for autumn color in New England. According to Arnold Arboretum Curator of Living Collections Michael Dosmann, the outlook so far appears good. "I am pretty optimistic we will have good fall color ahead of us because we have healthy leaves, healthy trees going into autumn, and we seem to have the right conditions," he explained. Each fall foliage season relies on the right balance of climatic conditions for chlorophyll to break down and allow leaves to express underlying pigments. As long as the weather over the next few weeks continues to cooperate, leaves will respond with bolder colors for longer periods before falling to the ground. "We have bright sunny days and just enough moisture in the soil," Michael added. "I think we will have another quintessential New England autumn."

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