At the Arnold Arboretum, I have been assigned a number of specific curatorial tasks. I am responsible for annual inventories in the dynamic environment of the Dana Greenhouses and nursery, which serves as the gateway for all plant material arriving at the Arboretum. This also involves producing nursery labels for newly propagated/received plants. My other assignment is collecting specimens of plants grown on the grounds for the Arnold Arboretum Herbarium and revising the existing holdings.
I run annual inventories and provide curatorial support of the Arboretum’s North American rare woody plant collection held in collaboration with the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC). Native North American plants that have become rare within their natural ranges are allocated by the CPC to botanical institutions for preservation as cultivated material. Holdings of many botanic gardens and arboreta together constitute the national collection of rare plants. A special feature of this collection is that it has to represent as many natural populations as possible for each species of concern. Therefore, the Arnold Arboretum has multiple holdings for every species of its CPC collection distributed across the grounds. Currently, our collection features nine rare plants: Nantucket shadbush (Amelanchier nantucketensis), two species of bush honeysuckle (Diervilla sessilifolia and D. rivularis), mountain witch-alder (Fothergilla major), long-stalked holly (Ilex collina), two azalea species (Rhododendron prunifolium and R. vaseyi), Virginia spirea (Spiraea virginiana), and a species of viburnum (V. bracteatum).
In my spare time, I have been a student of the flora of Massachusetts. I am a board member of the New England Botanical Club. In the photo gallery on my website, you can find four-season photos with captions of more than 1,300 plants growing wild in Massachusetts—along with plant inventories for a few Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) or town properties. The inventories have been used by the DCR for their resource management plans. The photos have been employed in different ways, including a Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife invasive plant brochure, a pine barrens brochure by the Nature Conservancy, and the Online Flora of New England Go Botany project of the New England Wild Flower Society. The name of my website, Salicicola, translates from Latin as “dwelling on willows.” Along with some of the site contents, it depicts my life-long interest in the genus Salix (willows). I am also an editor at Skvortsovia, a new international journal of salicology and plant biology.
Though my background is plant ecology, my 20-year employment at the Arboretum has sparked my interest in horticulture, particularly, promotion of native plants for private gardens. As a board member of the Friends of Myles Standish State Forest (Plymouth), I have been propagating native plants growing in the Forest for displays, which are intended to demonstrate the horticultural potential of plants native to southeastern Massachusetts but not traditionally used in horticulture.