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Enews
August 2012

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In this issue
  • Studing the Microbial Life of Ginkgo
  • AAC Gift Boosts Arboretum Plant Health Initiatives
  • Members' Plant Giveaway: Join us on September 15
  • Explore the Arboretum for Fun on Free Fun Friday
  • Share the Wonder of Trees and Nature with Children
  • Enjoy MA Gardens Reciprocal Membership Week
  • Ex Herbario: An Exhibition by Susan Hardy Brown
  • Plant Spotlight on Clematis

  • AAC Gift Boosts Arboretum Plant Health Initiatives
    AAC Compressor Gift

    For many of the tasks directed at improving conditions for plants in the living collection, an air spade helps horticulture staff get the job done. Through a generous gift from Arnold Arboretum Committee, a non-profit advocacy organization, the Arboretum has acquired an air compressor that will enable staff to deploy this technology more extensively for plant health and care initiatives. The air spade converts compressed air into a supersonic jet, producing exit velocities of over Mach 1.6 (nearly 1,200 mph) to break up compacted soils, provide deep root aeration, or dig out a plant for relocation, all with minimal damage to tender root systems.


    Members' Plant Giveaway: Join us on September 15
    Members' Plant Giveaway

    Thinking about joining the Friends of the Arboretum or renewing your membership? August is a great month to do so, just in time to take part in the Members' Plant Giveaway on Saturday, September 15. Select free, Arboretum-grown plants as our thanks for your support. Free plant quantities are determined by membership level, and attendees may also participate in special drawings for remarkable plants from our nursery. Experts will be on hand to help you with your selections and to answer your woody plant questions. Join or renew today; current members, look for our mailing this month with plant information and event highlights.


    Explore the Arboretum for Fun on Free Fun Friday
    Free Fun Friday

    Make the most of a summer day in the great outdoors without leaving the city! Free Fun Fridays feature events throughout Boston this summer, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation. Visit the Arboretum on Friday, August 3 to enjoy activities for all ages between 10:00am and 3:00pm. Highlights include a horticultural equipment display and tree climbing demonstration, botanical watercolorings, plant science activities, a tree scavenger hunt, guided landscape tours at the top of every hour, and more! No registration is necessary.


    Share the Wonder of Trees and Nature with Children
    Field Studies Guide

    Make a difference in the community and share the wonders of the Arboretum with young learners. Apply today as a School Programs volunteer guide and train to lead small groups of schoolchildren through an active learning program about plants and the natural world. Prospective guides must be able to volunteer for a minimum of two seasons, and prior experience with teaching, counseling, or volunteering with children is preferred. Training sessions begin this month, focused on introducing new guides to the basics of botany, the curriculum of the Arboretum's diverse field studies, and the Arboretum landscape as an outdoor classroom. Please call Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children's Education, at 617.384.5239 for more information.


    Enjoy MA Gardens Reciprocal Membership Week
    Reciprocal Membership Week

    Arboretum members enjoy reciprocal benefits at gardens and arboreta affiliated with the American Horticultural Society, though some restrictions may apply for institutions within a 90-mile radius of the Arboretum. During Massachusetts Botanic Gardens Reciprocal Membership Week, August 11-19, members of any of nine participating institutions in the Commonwealth can enjoy free admission and other benefits when visiting these sites. Check our website for the full schedule, including the Arboretum's staff-led tour at 4:00pm on Tuesday, August 14.


    Ex Herbario: An Exhibition by Susan Hardy Brown
    Ex-Herbario

    Curatorial Assistant Susan Hardy Brown has prepared specimens for the Arboretum's herbaria for a quarter century, utilizing aesthetic sensibilities cultivated in her vocation as a visual artist. Continuing this month in the Hunnewell Building, Ex Herbario is an exhibition of more than 50 pieces that evocatively incorporate some of the materials and ephemera associated with her daily work with plants collected from all over the world. Her paintings and constructions renew these found materials and offer viewers a unique perspective into the realm of preserving plants for identification and long-term study.


    Plant Spotlight on Clematis
    Clematis 'Multi Blue'

    Celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer, the M. Victor and Frances Leventritt Garden holds a unique plant collection that includes a diverse selection of vines suitable for New England landscapes. The Arboretum grows more than 100 accessions of vines, which climb on modular steel trellises, grow along the fieldstone walls, and cling to the supports of the garden's open-air pavilion. This month, check out Clematis, the August plant highlight in our Visitor Center. A member of the buttercup family, clematis is a vine that climbs with twining petioles and bears flowers highly prized for their showy sepals and stamens. Its pollinated pistils expand and curl to form a round, feathery seed head that extends its ornamental interest into the fall.


    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives, except exhibition image courtesy of Susan Hardy Brown.

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    Studing the Microbial Life of Ginkgo
    Ginkgo Microbiome

    Three 30-foot-tall, 23-year-old ginkgos growing near the Arboretum's Bussey Street Gate are being studied from top to bottom as part of the first-ever effort to define the entire community of microbes found on the above-ground surfaces of a large tree. Senior Research Scientist Peter Del Tredici and Arboretum Director Ned Friedman are collaborating with Noah Fierer, Jon Leff, and Samantha Weintraub from the University of Colorado to sample and analyze the trees' microbiome--the complete record of their microbial associates. While the microbiome of humans has been well studied, those of plants are largely unknown. This project hopes to fill this gap by identifying what species of microbes live on these trees and how they vary according to their location from top to bottom as well as from north to south.

    Read more about this work...
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