March Banner
March 2013


In this issue
  • metaLAB Partnership Inspires Student Discoveries
  • Contemplating the Past and Future of Plastic
  • Encourage Nature Study as a School Programs Guide
  • 'Snow Queen' Hydrangea is 2013 Member Dividend
  • Take a Class: Gardens, Flowers, Nuts, and History
  • Explore the Collections on a Special Theme Tour
  • Plant Spotlight on Witch Hazels
  • Paul Olson's Drawn To Woods Exhibition Continues

  • Contemplating the Past and Future of Plastic
    Susan Freinkel

    The 2013 Director's Lecture Series continues on Monday, March 11 with Susan Freinkel reflecting on our dependence on plastics. Each year we use and consume more plastic; in fact, we've produced as much in the past decade as we did in the entire twentieth century. Join us for a look at plastic that touches on history, science, and the global economy to assess its real impact in our lives. You may acquire a new way of thinking about a substance that has become the defining medium and metaphor of our age. Please register in advance for this free lecture as space is limited.

    Encourage Nature Study as a School Programs Guide
    field study guides

    Share your love of nature and help us inspire tomorrow's environmental stewards. As a volunteer guide in our Field Study programs for Boston City Schools, you'll take an active role in helping schoolchildren connect with plants and explore science outdoors at the Arboretum. Training sessions begin later this month, featuring all the know-how required to lead small groups of elementary school students through hands-on learning activities in our landscape.

    'Snow Queen' Hydrangea is 2013 Member Dividend
    Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen'

    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 dividend, Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen', a cultivar of the native oakleaf hydrangea, is a beautiful deciduous 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 receive a plant dividend letter in the mail, with additional information and a request form.

    Take a Class: Gardens, Flowers, Nuts, and History
    Flowering cherries

    As winter transitions to spring, the Arboretum offers programs to enrich your knowledge of plants and provide fresh approaches in the landscape. On March 18, Kristina Jones explores how understanding natural plant communities can help us create healthier and more sustainable gardens. Researcher Julien Bachelier explains flower form and function through the lens of plant evolution on March 20, and Sandra Anagnostakis shares tips for growing a harvest with nut trees in the Northeast on March 21. Lectures this month include a look into the history and future of flowering cherries in the US on March 26 and a profile of British garden designer Rosemary Verey on March 27. See all our spring classes, now posted online.

    Explore the Collections on a Special Theme Tour

    Take a tour and explore plants in the awakening landscape. The Arboretum offers a variety of theme tours from early spring to late fall, each focusing on a specific subject or area of the collections. Enjoy some exercise and take in seasonal highlights on a Winter Wellness Walk, March 10. Join Arnoldia Editor Nancy Rose on March 20 to delight in early spring bloomers at the Arboretum, including willows, witch hazels, and pussy willows. And on March 24, Spring into Health with Docent Rhoda Kubrick on a brisk walk highlighting plants along some of the less-traveled paths of the Arboretum.

    Plant Spotlight on Witch Hazels
    Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

    The resilient flowers of witch hazels (Hamamelis spp.) suggest the promise of spring. Flowers bear slender, strap-like petals that curl up for protection when temperatures dip to extremes. Near the Hunnewell Building, look for the brilliant yellow, fragrant flowers of H. x intermedia 'Arnold Promise', a hybrid of the Chinese and Japanese witch hazels introduced by the Arboretum. Other popular cultivars of this pairing in our collection include the bronze-flowered 'Jelena' and the red-flowered 'Diane'. Witch hazels are the plant of the month in our Visitor Center. Stop by for an activity guide and find a hidden letterbox in our landscape.

    Paul Olson's Drawn To Woods Exhibition Continues
    Drawn to Woods

    Recommended by the Boston Globe, Drawn to Woods is on display through March 24. A teacher of illustration at both MassArt and Rhode Island School of Design, Paul Olson enjoys painting and drawing in the open air. All of the works in this show were completed in the Arboretum landscape, including vistas, studies of majestic trees, and even a few portraits of past Arboretum luminaries. From quick sketches to larger drawings and paintings, Drawn to Woods offers one artist's enticing reflections on the diversity of life and the passing of time.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except metaLAB image courtesy of metaLAB, Susan Freinkel photo courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and exhibition drawing courtesy of Paul Olson.

    metaLAB Partnership Inspires Student Discoveries
    NuVu Studio

    For over a year, Arboretum scientists and curatorial staff have been partnering with metaLAB (at) Harvard to explore and expand how people can engage with our plants and landscape through digital technology. In a series of recent workshops with NuVu Studio, local high school students developed media-rich projects touching on a variety of subjects, from climate change and urban affairs to the reinvention of lunch. Through remote explorations of the Arboretum landscape, the marshalling of online resources, and intensive experimentation, students developed hardware and software to record phenomena at the Arboretum. As a follow up, students designed interactive, web-based visualizations that joined their field data with Arboretum collections records. In addition to gaining new knowledge about plant biology, horticulture, and urban ecology, the students sketched possible prototypes for longterm digital outreach and interaction between the Arboretum and schools in Boston and beyond.

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