Curatorial Assistant, Dana Greenhouses
The Dana Greenhouses serve as the gateway for all plant material arriving at the Arboretum, whether live plants, seeds, or cuttings. In this dynamic environment, I am responsible for plant and propagation records, labeling plants in the nurseries, and annual inventories. I also run inventories of the Arboretum’s rare plant collections held in collaboration with the Center for Plant Conservation, which are spread across the grounds. Though work with labels and the Arboretum’s plant database is my primary task, the greenhouse staff necessarily shares many responsibilities and assignments.
In my spare time, I have been a student of the flora of Massachusetts. As you can see from the picture, running into an Atlantic white cedar in a swamp is what cheers me the most. In the photo gallery on my website, you can find four-season photos of approximately 1,000 plants growing wild in Massachusetts, along with running plant inventories for a few Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) properties. The inventories have been used by the DCR for their resource management plans. The photos have been employed in a number of different ways, including a Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife invasive plant brochure, a pine barrens brochure by the Southeastern Massachusetts Nature Conservancy, and in the Online Flora of New England project of the New England Wild Flower Society. In the invasive plants section of the website there are notes and reports on some aggressive exotic plants depicted in the gallery—those that have not yet been officially recognized as invasive in our state. These include Norway spruce (Picea abies), rusty willow (Salix atrocinerea), chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), Japanese lespedeza (Lespedeza thunbergii ssp. formosa), and sheep’s bit (Jasione montana).
The name of my website, Salicicola, actually translates “dwelling on willows.” It depicts my other, life-long interest—the genus Salix (willows). I have translated important Russian botanical works, including a published translation of a major monograph on willows. The translations, along with my own writing on Massachusetts willows, can also be found on the website. Additionally, there are two articles on Chosenia, a tree closely related to willows and native to Siberia and the Far East. I wrote one of these articles for Arnoldia.
Though my background and education is plant ecology, my employment at the Arboretum has sparked my interest in horticulture, particularly in promotion of native plants at private gardens. As a board member of Friends of Myles Standish State Forest, I have been propagating native plants growing in the forest for educational displays at its headquarters and one of its entrances. The displays are intended to demonstrate the horticultural potential of plants native to southeastern Massachusetts but not traditionally used in horticulture. The Friends’ program, which is now called Pine Barrens Community Initiative (PBCI), has an ambitious goal: to develop a propagation line for native plants that are currently missing in nurseries.