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September 2012


In this issue
  • Fun and Free Plants for Members at Plant Giveaway
  • Arboretum and Observatory Team for Sky Viewing
  • Take a Class: Plant Pathology, Bark, Nature Photos
  • Take a Closer Look on a Special Theme Tour
  • Spotlight on Quercus
  • Jamaica Plain Open Studios: Artists in the Arboretum

  • Fun and Free Plants for Members at Plant Giveaway
    Plant Giveaway

    The 2012 Members' Plant Giveaway is almost here! Our appreciation event for the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum will be held in the landscape at the base of Bussey Hill on Saturday, September 15 from 10am to noon. This annual event offers members an opportunity to select a quantity free plants based on membership level, engage staff plant experts, and participate in free drawings for choice specimens from the Arboretum nursery. The Giveaway also provides a great chance to visit the Arboretum at the close of summer and enjoy a fun-filled morning with staff and fellow plant enthusiasts. Join or renew today to take part in the fun.

    Arboretum and Observatory Team for Sky Viewing
    Andromeda Galaxy

    Look up in the sky! This month the Arnold Arboretum partners with the Harvard College Observatory and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to offer a unique viewing event of the night sky over Weld Hill. Join us on Saturday, September 22 for a stellar evening of family fun and observe space with and without the aid of telescopes. Explore the face of the moon, search for double stars, spot nebulae, and even gaze at the Andromeda Galaxy! Drop-in activities begin at 7pm. Parking information will be emailed to registrants. Register

    Take a Class: Plant Pathology, Bark, Nature Photos
    Female Monarch

    The end of summer heralds the beginning of another great season of learning at the Arnold Arboretum. Browse fall and winter class offerings on our website, and register online to experience new perspectives on plants and nature. On September 24, Harvard University's Archana Vasanthakumar presents a brief history of plant pathogens, from the Irish Potato Famine to the scourges of modern agriculture. Join naturalist Mark Wojtech on September 29 to learn how to differentiate between different types of tree bark, find out how they evolved, and explore their diversity in the Arboretum landscape. And join us on September 30 for a workshop with photographer Kim Smith focused on taking great photographs that capture the beauty of nature in close up.

    Take a Closer Look on a Special Theme Tour
    NACPEC 2010 China Expedition

    In addition to free general tours of the landscape each Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Arboretum presents a number of tours this month that spotlight Arboretum programming and explore the wonderful plants that grow here. Arnoldia Editor Nancy Rose provides an in-depth look at vines showcased in the Leventritt Garden on September 13. Bring your binoculars for a bird walk with Arboretum Docent Robert Mayer on September 29. And on September 30, join Curator of Living Collections Michael Dosmann to learn about the six national plant collections held by the Arboretum.

    Spotlight on Quercus
    Quercus palustris

    Native oaks, including white oaks (Quercus alba), scarlet oaks (Q. coccinea), and black oaks (Q. velutina), to name a few, were well represented among the broadleaf trees growing on forested parcels of the land that would become the Arnold Arboretum. Today, thanks to ongoing efforts to identify and catalog the many wild oaks growing in our natural woodlands, the Arboretum Quercus collection consists of 548 trees representing more than 40 distinct species. A mature oak can produce thousands of acorns, which are both seeds for new trees and storable food for wildlife. Like the trees that bear them, acorns come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, reflecting the great diversity of a genus that grows in every temperate region of the earth.

    Visit the Arboretum this September and enjoy a walk on Oak Path on Bussey Hill. Oaks are the September plant highlight in our Visitor Center-stop by to pick up a free activity guide or download the guide from the family activity page.

    Jamaica Plain Open Studios: Artists in the Arboretum

    The Arboretum participates in Jamaica Plain Open Studios each September by presenting works that depict or are inspired by the majesty of our landscape and collections. This year's exhibition, Artists in the Arboretum: Looking Closely, kicks off on September 19 with an opening reception in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall. Jamaica Plain Open Studios runs from 12:30-6pm on September 22 and 23, but feel free to drop in and enjoy our jury's winning selections through November 18.

    Also, don't miss Ex Herbario, on exhibit through September 16, showcasing works by Arboretum Curatorial Assistant Susan Hardy Brown. Learn more about the show at an artist talk on September 13 at 7pm, and join the artist for a reception on September 15 at 1pm.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives, except Andromeda Galaxy image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA and nature photography image courtesy of Kim Smith.

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    AA Map, M27, 1930s

    The Arboretum curatorial team has rounded the corner on a project funded through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Completing review of 3" × 5" index cards related to plants accessioned and grown from 1872 to 1987, the team has created almost 70,000 new records, and edited over 100,000 others, in the collections database, BG-BASE. They have also scanned some 1,800 maps of the living collections, hand-drawn from 1937 to 1988, and integrated these into the Arboretum's geographic information system, or GIS.

    With these archives now in digital repositories, staff have unfettered access to valuable data. These include source and evaluation records on all plants grown or attempted to be grown, their historic planting locations, and even a few interesting reasons for their deaths, such as floods, fires, and harvesting for holiday greens! More work and stories to come.

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