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February 2013


In this issue
  • Bonsai Collection Celebrates Century in America
  • Director's Series Talk Ponders Biodiversity in 2013
  • Grow a Young Plant and Partner in our Mission
  • Explore Junipers and Dwarf Conifers on Snowshoes
  • Discover Arboretum History, One Photo at a Time
  • Artists Talk Highlights Drawn to Woods Exhibition
  • Plant Spotlight on Alders

  • Director's Series Talk Ponders Biodiversity in 2013
    James Hanken

    The current state of biodiversity presents a paradox. While the pace of discovering new species continues to accelerate, the rate of species extinction is also on the rise worldwide due to environmental degredation. Harvard Professor James Hanken, Director of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, will ponder these issues on February 25 as he presents the second talk in the 2013 Director's Lecture Series. Learn how new approaches and a heightened sense of urgency have focused scientists on both conservation of species and their habitats as well as understanding and mediating the major drivers of extinction.

    Grow a Young Plant and Partner in our Mission
    Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen'

    Share in a longstanding horticultural tradition. Each spring, the Arnold Arboretum offers members at the Sustaining level ($100) and above the opportunity to receive and grow a woody plant from our greenhouses. This year's plant, Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen', a cultivar of the native oakleaf hydrangea, is a hardy shrub that blooms from early summer on with large, conical, creamy-white flower heads. Its handsome, deeply-lobed leaves are a dark green in summer, followed by outstanding burgundy tones in autumn. Qualifying members should look for a plant dividend letter in the mail this month, with additional information and a plant request form. Join or upgrade today to take part!

    Explore Junipers and Dwarf Conifers on Snowshoes

    Join Arboretum Horticulturist Jen Kettell for a trek through the dwarf conifer and juniper collections on snowshoes. Jen, the caretaker of these plants, will help you identify common conifers, share the stories of the plants and the history of the two collections, and describe the microclimate existing in this part of the Arboretum. Bring your own snowshoes, a travel mug for cocoa after the hike, and be sure to dress warmly for a winter outing in the landscape. See our full calendar of events for winter and early spring, now available online.

    Discover Arboretum History, One Photo at a Time
    Lilac Path 1949

    The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library includes more than 50,000 images collected since the 1880s as an associated resource for the living collection. The library preserves these rich views of plants, people, and places from across the globe, and through ongoing digitization projects preserves them and makes them available to the public and researchers alike. Check out our weekly Featured Image on our website and view some of the remarkable photographs that document more than 100 years of plant exploration, science, and horticulture at the Arboretum.

    Artists Talk Highlights Drawn to Woods Exhibition
    Drawn to Woods

    From quick sketches to large drawings and paintings, the Arboretum's current exhibition by Paul Olson explores the intimacy and lyricism of depicting landscapes and trees by hand. A teacher in the Illustration Departments of both MassArt and Rhode Island School of Design, Olson has created a remarkable group of works in the Arboretum landscape that reflect on the diversity of life and the passing of time. Join us for an artist's talk on February 21 at 7:00pm in the Hunnewell Building to learn more about the artist and the trees that inspired him. View Drawn to Woods in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall during regular Visitor Center hours now through March 24.

    Plant Spotlight on Alders
    Alnus maximowicz

    The plants we commonly call alders (Alnus spp.) belong to the Betulaceae, the same family as birches, hornbeams, hophornbeams, and hazels. As wind-pollinated plants, alders sport tiny flowers clustered on catkins. Alders produce both male and female catkins; males shed pollen and are often colorful and quite showy, while the females are woody and open to release seeds as conifer cones do. This winter, visit the Arboretum to see alders coming into flower in the collection. Stop by the Visitor Center for an activity guide, including a special letterbox in the landscape.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except exhibition drawing courtesy of Paul Olson and photograph of Alnus maximowicz by Robert Mayer.

    Bonsai Collection Celebrates Century in America
    Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection

    In 1913, Ambassador Larz Anderson returned from his diplomatic mission in Japan with several dozen dwarfed trees to decorate his Brookline estate, Weld. Today between 151 and 276 years old, the surviving plants of this assemblage form the core of the Arboretum's Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection. Though off display for winter, these living remnants of Japan's imperial past have been restored to honor their traditional design by Senior Research Scientist Peter Del Tredici and bonsai expert Colin Lewis. Check back for details on special events this fall planned to celebrate these fascinating and beloved plants.

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