Have you seen this? Archive
January 28, 2015
A non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds
Seed Savers Exchange, located on the 890-acre Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa, offers an alternative model to big agriculture through encouraging participatory preservation among its members, and by signing the safe seed pledge. Seed Savers Exchange knows that the future of our planet depends on a genetically diverse food supply and carries out its important work by:
- Maintaining thousands of varieties of different plant types–from amaranth to zucchini–in one of the largest seed banks of its kind in North America.
- Regenerating seed in isolation gardens and storing them in ideal conditions.
- Documenting valuable cultural information on varieties and their histories.
- Distributing heirloom varieties to members and the public through the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook and the Seed Savers Exchange Catalog.
- Storing varieties in back-up locations at the USDA Seed Bank in Fort Collins, CO and at Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. These off-site deposits remain the property of Seed Savers Exchange.
Seed Savers Exchange is also home to the Robert Becker Memorial Library, which supports the research needs of SSE staff, membership, and visitors. SSE’s website also offers ongoing educational resources with its blog, guidelines for seed saving, and free webinars.
Seed Savers Exchange is the 2015 host of the 47th Annual Meeting of The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL), of which The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library is a proud member.
December 22, 2014
Horticulture education and consulting
Jen Kettell started her career as an Arborist in 2003, through the Hunnewell internship program at the Arnold Arboretum. She later officially became horticultural technologist and went on to maintain the Leventritt Shrub and Vine Garden, in addition to the open, natural areas of the grounds which include junipers, dwarf conifers, hickories, horsechestnuts, and many other “mixed” collections.
Jen now has her own website and small business based on her experience with arboriculture and in horticultural education. Jen also specializes in pruning, woody vines, and tree climbing safety. She is a ISA Certified Arborist® and serves on the executive board of the New England Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.
For years, Jen also led snowshoe winter tours of the Arnold Arboretum, hosted the Norfolk County Agricultural High School Practicum at the Arnold Arboretum, and is your go-to person for learning all-things-pruning.
November 12, 2014
Stewardship through education
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) provides people with the ability to see, understand and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its Web site, lectures, outreach and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations.
October 15, 2012
Capturing the beauty of nature and more
Susan Hardy Brown’s engagement with materials is both innovative and playful. She embraces the surprise element inherent in artistic processes; extending traditional drawing techniques, experimenting in watercolor, oil, and mixed media, and working on varied grounds including plaster, playing cards, found wood, and stone.
A pioneer in the use of contemporary encaustic, her use of this ancient medium has evolved since the mid 1970’s. More recently, utilizing the ephemera from her job preparing herbarium specimens at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, she produces works that exist in multiple layers of meaning, with a richness and depth that the encaustic medium provides. Using a camera, she favors the painterly and poetic use of film with the Holga, layering exposures akin to her encaustic methods.
Working in series and book form, both large scale and small, Susan’s works explore the realms of botany, geography, politics, art history, literature, music, and dance – always with bold strokes.
Susan also prepares herbarium specimens sent from all over the world for Harvard University Herbaria.
Also be sure to read this feature published in The Harvard Crimson, published September 24, 2014.
September 22, 2014
Gateway to invasive species information; covering Federal, State, local, and international sources.
The National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC) is a gateway to the latest research and updates on invasive species, down to the local level. Color photographs and host tree information provide helpful visual references.
The Summer 2014 discovery of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) at the Arnold Arboretum, along with the officially announced eradication of Asian long-horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) from the City of Boston earlier in the year indicate the importance of public education and vigilance in sustaining quality of life throughout New England.
August 18, 2014
by Sasaki Associates
It is projected that sea levels will rise two feet by mid-century and six feet by 2100. The new tide line will transform the coastal landscape of Greater Boston and increase the probability of a major storm devastating the metropolitan region. The Sea Change: Boston exhibition examines Boston’s vulnerabilities to sea level rise and demonstrates proactive design strategies at the building, city, and regional scale. The exhibition is intended to catalyze conversations with a broader audience about the tough questions and regional implications of sea level rise.
To visualize different flooding scenarios and the city systems that will be affected in Boston, please visit this interactive map.
July 30, 2014
Through original and interactive visual content, with animations, illustrations, games, photos, and videos, Trees Inside Out gives visitors a chance to learn about trees, how they function, and how they relate to their environment. Written in French and English, it is designed for the general public, students, and teachers.
June 18, 2014
An educational initiative dedicated to preserving the historic Wakefield Estate and Arboretum.
Polly was an advocate and leader on many environmental issues of her day. She was a trained horticulturist and landscape designer who loved to design gardens and experiment with shrubs and trees, most notably Kousa dogwoods. Two of the most highly praised dogwood cultivars today, “Greensleeves” and “Fanfare,” were actually propagated and patented by Polly.
She was also a longtime supporter of the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library—retired Horticultural Research Archivist Sheila Connor traded her own watercolor of Polly’s dogwoods for one of her paintings. Sheila then had Polly’s watercolor framed and matted to include Polly’s signature and an inscription. Polly approved this gesture and stated that she felt touched by our commemoration. This watercolor is displayed just outside the Library Reading Room.
May 12, 2014
Promoting the study, appreciation and protection of vernal pools.
The Vernal Pool Association began in 1990 as an environmental outreach project at Reading Memorial High School, Reading, Massachusetts. It is now an independent group of individuals attempting to educate others about vernal pool ecology, the local environment, biodiversity, and the protection of natural resources.
The VPA’s goal is to encourage the appreciation, protection, and interdisciplinary study of vernal pools, particularly by students. To meet this objective, they produce educational materials, present workshops and talks, and interact with educators and students both in person and through the Internet. They are actively involved with state, federal and private environmental protection and education agencies and organizations. Their website includes teaching resources, a web store, certification guidelines, membership information, and so much more!
Also be sure to check out the VPA’s blog, Wicked Big Puddles.
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library also holds the VPA’s Field guide to the animals of vernal pools by Leo P. Kenney and Matthew R. Burne.
April 30, 2014
A lilac in every garden . . . the world over!
The International Lilac Society (ILS) is a group of people who have a common interest in lilacs. Their website is a knowledge base of lilac cultivars, horticultural practices, care guidelines, history, retail sources, and upcoming events. They also run an active crowdsourcing project for images of lilac stamps from all over the globe.
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library also carries Lilacs : the quarterly journal of the International Lilac Society.
Come celebrate the beauty and popularity of Sryinga with us at the Arnold Arboretum on Lilac Sunday, May 11, 2014. Activities and tours run from 10am to 3pm.
March 31, 2014
Wallcharts from Harvard University Botany Libraries and Archives
Educational wallcharts were designed for classroom use in the early 1800’s. They were first made in small format and depicted simple scenes and objects for primary school teaching. Around 1870 wallcharts were produced and sold in large quantities not only for primary schools but also for higher education. Several factors contributed to the use of wallcharts. Lithography was invented in the late 1700’s and made possible the production of large color prints at a reasonable price. In the nineteenth century in Germany the educational system underwent major reform. In 1852 the average schoolteacher had 136 students in their classroom. It was difficult to pass engravings around a classroom and almost impossible to show students the view through a microscope. Large wall images could be viewed from almost every corner of the classroom and became popular with instructors. Botanische Wandtafeln, or, Botanical Wallcharts, show anatomical and morphological details of plants. The Botany Libraries and Archives own several incomplete sets of Botanische Wandtafeln, among them charts by Leopold Kny, Alios Pokorny, Engleder, Hartinger and Schlitzberger.
February 28, 2014
Go Orchids, a tool to explore orchids native to North America, is brought to you by The North American Orchid Conservation Center. Go Orchids currently focuses on orchids in New England and the mid-Atlantic region, but orchids of the southeast and Alaska are also being added. The website is similar to Go Botany, developed by New England Wild Flower Society, and will eventually include all of the orchid species in the U.S. and Canada.
The North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC) is a coalition of organizations dedicated to conserving the diverse orchid heritage of the U.S. and Canada. Based at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, it also includes the National Zoological Park, the National Museum of Natural History, and Smithsonian Gardens. The U.S. Botanic Garden is the other founding partner.
The initial group of public and private organizations that support NAOCC have joined forces with a common goal: to ensure the survival of native orchids for future generations. To this end, NAOCC’s collaborators are working to preserve habitats, create and maintain national collections of seeds and orchid mycorrhizal fungi, and support research on orchid ecology, conservation and restoration. An important goal of NAOCC is to provide the public with opportunities to join in the effort to conserve native orchids.
January 17, 2014
By the people, of the people, for the people!
The Boston Tree Party is an urban agriculture project, a performative re-imagining of American political expression, and a participatory public art project. At its core, the Party is a diverse coalition of organizations, institutions, and communities from across the Greater Boston Area coming together in support of Civic Fruit.
The apple has a long and deep connection to the history of Boston. The first apple orchard in the American Colonies was planted by William Blackstone on Beacon Hill in 1623. The oldest variety of apple in the United States, the Roxbury Russet, was developed in Roxbury in the 1630s. The Boston Tree Party celebrates and re-contextualizes this history and envisions Boston as a city of apples once again.
December 9, 2013
Help us capture America’s garden history before it is lost
The Archives of American Gardens’ holdings include over 80,000 images of gardens dating from colonial times to the present. These images come from literally thousands of different sources and were not always accompanied by basic information (such as owner or location) that would identify them. Without this fundamental data, these images lose much of their informational value.
Online users can browse and search images by region, and tag images with relevant data. This greatly improves metadata associated with the images. If preferred, users may contact archives staff directly if they can identify ‘Mystery Gardens.’
November 12, 2013
with a love for the English garden
“To those anxious to know the rapid progress horticulture is making on the American continent, the catalogs of the nurserymen are very instructive.”
–Thomas Meehan, Gardener’s Monthly, 1860
Thomas Mickey is author of America’s Romance with the English Garden, published in 2013 by Ohio University Press. Researched over a year through a grant from the Smithsonian, the author spent a year in Washington D.C. exploring the archives at the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Mickey states, “The focus of my work was to study the connection between marketing and the garden in nineteenth century America. I began by looking at seed and nursery catalogs from that time, and I never left them. I couldn’t get enough of the catalogs. I loved the language the writers used and the images, but especially what the catalogs taught us about gardening.”
October 28, 2013
Evolving Landscapes: 100 Years of Change in Western China
The Evolving Landscapes re-photography exhibit features century-old images captured in western China by early 20th-century British explorer and photographer Ernest Henry Wilson, alongside comparative modern photographs by Professor Yin Kaipu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This is the first-ever public exhibit of these photographs.
Wilson created hundreds of large-format photos across western China – one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world outside of the tropics. Yin re-photographed the same locations 100 years later, allowing viewers to explore a complex and diverse range of environmental, social and economic changes. Expert commentary will accompany each comparative set of photographs.
The exhibit, hosted by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the School of Human Ecology and the Wisconsin China Initiative, opened Thursday, November 7, 2013, with an all-day China Bridge Symposium. Panel discussions included William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Yin Kaipu, Professor, Chengdu Institute of Biology, and in the afternoon the keynote was delivered by renowned conservation biologist Peter Raven of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Yin Kaipu’s book Tracing one hundred years of change: illustrating the environmental changes in Western China contains many Ernest Henry Wilson photographs from our Image Collection, and is available at the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library.
September 30, 2013
Intertwined at Maudslay State Park
A descendant of the Moseley family, Gardiner reproduced early 20th century images from our collection for her “Intertwined” sculpture project at Maudslay State Park, which included a diary kept by Helen Moseley herself. An image gallery of her complete project is available here.
September 16, 2013
Arnold Arboretum Library on Twitter
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library is now on Twitter, and it’s a great way to share real-time updates about events, exhibits, lectures, featured books, featured images, blog posts, news stories, archival treasures, trivia and more!
Twitter is a highly popular and easy-to-use social media network that enables its users to stay tuned to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about virtually any topic of interest. Updates are instantaneous and you can read them right on your smartphone.
If you’re not currently on Twitter, joining is easy. Once you’ve set up an account, simply search “Arnold Arboretum” at the top right of the page, click on the search results (Arnold Arboretum Lib), and then “Follow.”
August 19, 2013
Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
Summer is the perfect time for exploring the wilderness throughout New England. When planning your trip consider the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which runs from from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island through urban landscapes, historic villages, farmlands, and forests.
July 1, 2013
Chicago Botanic Garden Brings Rare Botanical Volumes to Life
With the help of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Chicago Botanic Garden is cataloging, conserving, and creating online access to its historic collection of botanical volumes—nearly 4,000 rare books, journals, and manuscripts, some dating to the 16th and 17th centuries—that were rescued from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MHS). When financial difficulties forced the MHS to sell many of its holdings, the Chicago Botanic Garden stepped in and acquired the collection in 2002. Now, through a 2011 Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant, the Lenhardt Library at the Chicago Botanic Garden is working to make 45 of the rarest and most fragile volumes available for research, education, and the enjoyment and pleasure of all.
Read and see more at National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access.
June 3, 2013
by Macoto Murayama
The worlds of architecture and scientific illustration collided when Macoto Murayama was studying at Miyagi University in Japan. The two have a great deal in common, as far as the artist’s eye could see; both architectural plans and scientific illustrations are, as he puts it, “explanatory figures” with meticulous attention paid to detail.
In a project he calls “Inorganic flora,” the 29-year-old Japanese artist diagrams flowers. He collects his specimens from the roadside or buys them from flower stands: sweetpeas (Lathyrus odoratus L), Asiatic dayflowers (Commelina communis L.), and sulfur cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus Cav.), to name a few.
Murayama carefully dissects each flower, removing its petals, anther, stigma, and ovaries with a scalpel. He studies the separate parts of the flower under a magnifying glass and then sketches and photographs them.
Read and see more at Smithsonian magazine.
April 29, 2013
StackLife DPLA from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) demonstrates how the DPLA’s collection of books can be mashed up with other collections and browsed in highly innovative ways. Users can find and freely read 1.7 million books from the DPLA, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Hathi Trust, and the Internet Archive’s Open Library.
StackLife DPLA also enables users to browse virtual bookshelves that cluster—and can instantly re-cluster—titles based on their multiple subject areas. With a click, a user can read the book online. The Harvard Library version of StackLife adds social features, lets users browse more than 12 million physical and digital items in the Harvard collection, and includes tools of use to a research community.
April 1, 2013
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Check out the new website of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society–your resource for information on gardening, greening, and learning! Along with optimal navigability, it’s now easier to connect on social media with the PHS Social Stream, you can also ask questions about gardening and horticulture with Ask PHS, visit the PHS McLean Library, and get to know the PHS Blog.
Now more than 185 years old, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society continues in its mission to “motivate people to improve the quality of life and create a sense of community through horticulture.”
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is also on Facebook.
March 11, 2013
Arbonauts: of trees, data, and teens
For over a year, metaLAB has been working with the scientific and curatorial staff of Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum to explore new digital lives for the institution—not only a much loved public park, but a collection of rare plants, a research site, and an evolving landscape—that will connect it to new audiences locally and globally.
One of the most exciting projects they’ve shared so far recently wrapped up at NuVu Studio, a “magnet innovation center for young minds” headquartered in Central Square. Founded by Saeed Arida, a 2010 PhD in the Design and Computation Program at MIT, NuVu offers a bracing vision of the power of STEAM: enlivening the left-brain work of making and investigating science, technology, engineering, and math with the expressive energy of the arts.
February 4, 2013
Come and see the new blog Arbotopia, observations of fauna and other things natural in the Emerald Necklace, created by Arnold Arboretum docent and birding expert Bob Mayer.
Seasonal highlights and wondrous sights abound throughout the Emerald Necklace, but not everyone can witness them simultaneously. But the experience can be shared! Head over to Arbotopia for a narrative and pictorial account of the best and beautiful sights in Boston’s open park spaces, with a particular emphasis on The Arnold Arboretum.
And don’t forget to read about the Owls at the Arnold Arboretum!
Arbotopia is also on Facebook.
December 10, 2012
Looking for something truly unique to do this holiday season?
The Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinatti, Ohio presents “What Makes the Reindeer Fly?,” a special exhibit on hallucinogenic mushrooms, with a special focus on Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria Lam.), a mushroom that figures prominently in the development of the legend of Santa’s flying reindeer. This is the same mushroom that is often depicted in children’s literature, shows up as a theme in children’s toys, and in many other places.
Fly Agaric isn’t the only mushroom that has a role in cultural development. Many other psychedelic mushrooms play their part in many other cultures, as do non-psychedelic fungi. This exhibit features some of the earliest art texts about mushrooms, beginning in 1601 and working up through the twentieth century. Find out the scientific facts and the cultural significance associated with mushrooms and learn all the things you never knew you didn’t know…
November 12, 2012
Come celebrate Geography Awareness Week with us and view these late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century maps and plans of the Arnold Arboretum held by the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library.
Geography Awareness Week, sponsored by National Geographic Education, is observed each year in the third week of November and highlights the importance of geo-literacy and geo-education. A free workshop on Wednesday, November 14 and Saturday, November 17 will focus on the Geographic Information System (GIS) at the Arnold Arboretum, including an introduction to our Mobile Interactive Map application.
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library holds over 650 full-size archival maps documenting historical views of our grounds, collections, hardiness zones, and more. We encourage you to contact us for more information, and to visit the library in person and online.
October 22, 2012
American Society of Botanical Artists, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting public awareness of contemporary botanical art, honoring its traditions, and furthering its development.
October 1, 2012
A historical guided tour of Kew Gardens
A tour around the historic gardens at Kew using images dating from the 1860s to 1930s
This virtual tour is one of many opportunities to view past and present together on Google partner Historypin.
Historypin helps people come together from across generations, cultures, and places to share small glimpses of the past and to build the story of human history.
September 19, 2012
Go Botany is a rich educational resource offered by the New England Wild Flower Society and funded by the National Science Foundation to encourage informal, self-directed education in botany for science students and beginning and amateur botanists. Professors, teachers, and environmental educators can share curricula and teaching ideas.
August 13, 2012
The New England Landscape Design and History Association (NELDHA) offers online materials for self-guided walking tours of Boston’s parks, gardens, and green spaces. Maps, narratives, and additional resources unique to each neighborhood provide immersion and guidance for visitors of all ages.
NELDHA’s mission is to further the education of landscape professionals, to promote their professions, and communicate NELDHA’s commitment to landscape design, history, conservation, preservation, and stewardship of the land.
July 2, 2012
Metasequoia — Student Artwork
After a few weeks of researching various seed cones though drawings and painted studies, students in Paul Olson’s Junior Illustration class at MassArt were asked to make an illustration for a poster or a book based on an open Metasequoia seed cone and the plant’s reputation as a “living fossil.” Students also completed a final project of their own design, a piece inspired by their visit to the Arboretum’s Horticultural Library, the Herbarium, and the Living Collections of the Arnold Arboretum.
June 4, 2012
The Forest Of The Future
Singapore—known worldwide as the “Garden City” because it has more than 300 parks—is poised to become the “City in a Garden.”
An ambitious project is converting 250 acres of waterfront property into a horticultural recreation area. The project includes a forest of “supertrees,” some fitted with solar panels to store energy for lighting them at night.
Read the article in Smithsonian magazine.
May 16, 2012
Jadav Payeng has been instrumental in converting a sand bar in the middle of the river Brahmaputra in Assam, India, into a huge forest. His work over the past 30 years is receiving recognition around the world by tourists and film makers.
Read the full article.
April 30, 2012
View: Ways of Seeing
May 5 – August 3, 2012
The Lloyd Library and Museum is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to our nation’s capital with a look at Cincinnati’s own connections to Japan, cherry trees, and the Lloyds.
Contemporary artists Alysia Fischer, Setsuko H. LeCroix, and Charles Woodman investigate nature through sculpture, painting and video, all in celebration of the famed cherry tree.
April 9, 2012
Frederick Law Olmsted Papers Project
April, 2012 marks the 190th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), the celebrated landscape architect who designed the Arnold Arboretum as the second-largest link in Boston’s Emerald Necklace.
National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) has created a website to coincide with the ongoing Frederick Law Olmsted Papers Project. Since its inception in 1972, this project presents the most significant of Olmsted’s extensive writings from 1840–1882 in a twelve-volume series of books. The next volume, Plans and Photographs of Public Parks, Recreation Grounds, Parkways, Park Systems and Scenic Reservations (Supplementary Series Volume 2), will be published this year, and additional volumes are also in development.
Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library holds each volume of the series published thus far.
March 19, 2012
Wonder Tree: Create a Green Oasis
What makes a Wonder Tree?
Willows are a blend of beauty, diversity, adaptability, and utility which marks them aside from many other temperate trees.
Wonder Tree can help you grow your own willows for use and ornament. You can watch these trees mature to full size within your own life time, or you can use their shoots as raw material for other products and activities.
The collection of the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library includes a folio with beautiful color illustrations of willows (Salix spp.): Salictum woburnense or, A catalogue of willows, indigenous and foreign, in the collection of the Duke of Bedford at Woburn abbey; systematically arranged by James Forbes (the Duke’s gardener).
Read more about Salictum woburnense and John Russell, the 6th Duke of Bedford of Woburn Abbey.
March 5, 2012
Botany Blueprint is a collection of botanical photography and a study of plant design, specifically regarding the form and function of seed pods.
Individually, each photograph is a portrait of a unique specimen; as a series, the photographs become an inquiry into the evolution and diversity of plant design.
Laurent’s photographs are published in her column at Print magazine, where she writes about the form and function of seed pods.
Intended to advance botanical literacy and make plants relevant to a broad audience, the project will be compiled in a forthcoming book.
February 15, 2012
Lacock Abbey was originally built as a nunnery in southwest England in 1232. When William Henry Fox Talbot came to live there in 1827, he grew his own botanical garden and photographed the plants using the negative-positive process of his own invention, providing the basic method for almost all 19th and 20th century photography.
Photographer Mary Kocol also traces the development of modern photography and its botanical beginnings with Talbot in The Garden in Early Art Photography. Her website also contains beautiful color photographs taken with a toy camera at the Arnold Arboretum.
February 1, 2012
From the exhibition catalog of her work:
“Davies has intervened in areas of the forest landscape
to create images that express her relationship to the
forest. And though each body of work stands
alone as a distinct series, together they
trace the trajectory of Davies’
ongoing exploration of the forest
as a cultural landscape.”
January 3, 2012
In the late 19th century, Boston merchant Edwin F. Atkins was a dominant force in the U.S.-Cuban sugar market. His firm, E. Atkins & Co., established sugarcane plantations along the southern coast of Cuba near the cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad. From the 1840s through the 1920s, the Atkins family successfully operated their sugar business on the island, safely seeing it through the abolition of slavery, Cuba’s fight for independence from Spain, and the changing agricultural and industrial practices of sugar production.
The photographs in this online exhibition are a sample of 419 photographs at the Massachusetts Historical Society that were taken and collected by members of the Atkins family in Cuba between 1884 and 1958. This collection, the Atkins Family Photographs, is a unique visual record of life and work on sugar plantations in Cuba during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition, these photographs also capture the changing face of Cuba before and after the Spanish-American War. The finding aid for Atkins Family Photographs is available here.
The Massachusetts Historical Society also holds the Atkins Family Papers, an extensive collection of records and papers that detail the activities of the Atkins family and the E. Atkins & Co. sugar interest in Cuba from 1854-1950. The finding aid for Atkins Family Papers is available here.
The Atkins family also had an affiliation with the Arnold Arboretum, which administered the Atkins Institution in Cuba from 1932 to 1946. The Harvard Garden in Cuba-A Brief History by Marion D. Cahan published in Arnoldia describes how the Atkins Garden became a model for the development of many later tropical botanical gardens. You can read even more about the history of this garden, now the Cienfuegos Botanical Garden, Cuba online.
December 12, 2011
Dried botanicals are imported for varied uses including potpourri, decorative plant arrangements, and handicraft items. They consist of whole or sectioned fungi, fruits, seeds, leaves, and almost anything that is botanical, has abundant air spaces (“physical fixatives” for the synthetic oils), has structural interest, and/or is inexpensive (e.g. lawn sweepings and waste products of other industries). These botanicals may include potentially toxic species, invasives, or even plant diseases.
Dr. Arthur O. Tucker of Claude E. Phillips Herbarium at Delaware State University contributed to the development this tool to help identify ingredients of imported potpourri. Interactive galleries, descriptions, fact sheets, and glossaries are provided.
November 28, 2011
The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, America’s oldest natural history museum is kicking off their bicentennial celebration in 2012 with a countdown made up of “200 Years. 200 Stories” where you can meet some of their “quirkier personalities” and discover the secret stories behind many of their most well-known exhibits and scientific breakthroughs.
November 14, 2011
Ever wonder what the name of that tree is growing on your street, or how old or how tall it is? If you live in San Francisco providing these answers is now a challenge for the whole community.
Both “experts and non-experts” alike have been invited to participate in an urban forest research project, the San Francisco Urban Forest Map. You can jump right into the map itself and see how the Map creators’ goal “to work toward building a complete, dynamic picture of the urban forest” works.
Not only will you find the tree’s number, scientific and common names, diameter, height, and nearby address, but also the tree’s amounts of stormwater intercepted, energy conserved, air pollution removed, carbon dioxide reduced and total Co2 it has stored to date.
October 31, 2011
What do you get when you cross misanthropic black metal, hammered dulcimer, and obsession with plants? Just listen:
According to Botanist:
The songs of Botanist are told from the perspective of The Botanist, a crazed man of science who lives in self-imposed exile, as far away from Humanity and its crimes against Nature as possible. In his sanctuary of fantasy and wonder, which he calls the Verdant Realm, he surrounds himself with plants and flowers, finding solace in the company of the Natural world, and envisioning the destruction of man. There, seated upon his throne of Veltheimia, The Botanist awaits the day when humans will either die or kill each other off, which will allow plants to make the Earth green once again.
Botanist’s double-CD “The Suicide Tree / A Rose From the Dead” can be purchased here.
October 17, 2011
80 Years of History and Archives at the Montréal Botanical Garden
To mark its 80th birthday, the Montréal Botanical Garden, a Space for Life, invites everyone to visit the all-new virtual exhibition on its website, 80 Years of History and Archives at the Montréal Botanical Garden.
For Gilles Vincent, Director of the Botanical Garden, the exhibition “takes us back in time to discover the soul of the Botanical Garden and meet the people who created it, in particular Brother Marie-Victorin and landscape architect Henry Teuscher.”
The virtual exhibition is organized into three sections. The History of the Botanical Garden section takes visitors on a 24-stop historical path, through more than 300 archival images and documents.
October 3, 2011
The Magic and Myth of Alchemy
However one regards it as a science and philosophy, Alchemy provided the beginnings of chemistry, and certainly helped to develop the apparati of chemistry. It is part of the history of science, which is the history of human interaction with nature, and humanity’s attempts to harness the power of nature for very human needs and wants.
This exhibit at Cincinatti’s Lloyd Library and Museum traces the history, development, and personalities behind the “magic.” This seemingly esoteric study in fact formed the basis for modern medicine, and chemistry itself. Take a peek into a history that pre-dates even the Middle Ages.
September 19, 2011
Or rather, Have You Heard, “On Willows and Birches,” written by John Williams, Boston Pops Laureate Conductor for former BSO Principal Harpist Ann Hobson Pilot. “The atmospheric “On Willows” movement is prefaced by the Biblical quote “We hanged our harps upon the willows…” from Psalm 137. The lively, rhythmically vibrant “On Birches” notes a line from Robert Frost’s poem “Birches” — “One could do no worse than be a swinger of birches.”
September 5, 2011
The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is an organization which is collecting genetic material from very large and old trees for preservation and to clone new trees for reforestation. Since 2008 they have collected 55 separate genotypes of old growth Coast Redwoods alone, as well as a variety of other samples from significant trees, from which they are propagating new trees.
Their website has videos explaining the work they are doing and their blog has up to the minute progress reports.
August 22, 2011
The works of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) may have helped form the basis of modern science, but he remains a controversial figure. His views on gender are no less provocative than his theory of evolution. University of Cambridge scholar Philippa Hardman helped launch the Darwin Correspondence Project to reveal his less-known writings about gender which paradoxically reflect the Victorian Era during which he worked.
The Darwin Correspondence Project provides access to at least 15,000 letters, written between 1821 and 1882, and “Darwin & Gender” is the newest feature to reveal his accomplishments and complexities.
Harvard Professor Sarah Richardson’s course Gender, Sex and Evolution also provides content to the site.
August 8, 2011
Images of Nature
Home to the largest natural history collection in the world, The Natural History Museum, London, has just opened a new exhibit of over 110 images of natural phenomena. Images of Nature spans 350 years, including modern images created by scientists, imagining specialists, photographers, and micro-CT scanners depicted alongside historic watercolors and paintings from artists such as bird illustrator John Gerrard Keulemans and botanical artist Georg Ehret.
To learn how techniques for visually recording the natural world have developed since the seventeenth century, check out the Museum’s Art, Nature, and Imaging exhibit.
July 25, 2011
Central Park Entire,
The Definitive Illustrated Map
Edward S. Barnard, author of New York City Trees, teamed up with artist and art director Ken Chaya to create Central Park Entire, The Definitive Illustrated Map, a wonderful tree and trail map of Central Park.
The project website includes six videos that document the two-year process of making the map. Each video focuses on specific aspects of the Park and the challenges faced in mapping them. The map shows precise locations for each of the Park’s 19,600 trees, with a special icon denoting all 172 species represented.
July 11, 2011
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management has created a great resource for tips, tricks, and information on coastal landscaping. The site is prepared to assist with any obstacles that arise in landscaping on the coast including, wind, salt spray, storm waves, and shifting, parched, and sandy soils. The site also includes a list of plants best suited for the coastal conditions in Massachusetts, as well as suggestions as to where to buy them.
June 27, 2011
What are the plants, animals, fungi, and microbes that make up a forest? How do they interact? How do forests respond to climate, introduced species, land development, and other environmental change? Harvard Museum of Natural History’s exhibit, New England Forests answers all of these questions and more. Visitors will be able to explore three distinct New England forest landscapes, complete with flora and fauna. The goals of the exhibition are to enhance public understanding of the dynamic and varied nature of our forests and initiate public conversation about their use, conservation, and management.
Additionally, in fall 2011, the museum will host a series of public lectures, workshops, and symposia featuring Harvard faculty and other experts.
June 13, 2011
Charles Darwin’s Twitter
Now you can follow Charles Darwin’s every move on the Beagle via Twitter! The account, which is now nearly 2000 tweets strong, posts one liners from Darwin’s diary kept on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle. The tweets are posted on the corresponding day that Darwin wrote the words in his diary, 176 years ago. Geotagging has been enabled for tweets that include a location, so you can see exactly where Darwin was at that particular moment.
The account is maintained by an avid Darwin fan with the intent of exposing a new audience to “the humour, insight and imagination of the young Darwin as he begins to think about the marvellous, curious, and unexplained world he is circumnavigating.”
Greenscapes Massachusetts is a multi-partner outreach effort that promotes water conservation and protection. Approximately half of the program is funded by the 40 municipalities that are served by the program. Every other spring, members of the Greenscapes Coalition produce a 20-page Resource Guide with information ranging from how to build rain gardens, to a beautiful way to clean and recycle stormwater, to pesticide alternatives that help prevent your lawn from becoming dependent on chemicals.
April 25, 2011
Friends of the Urban Forest
This year Friends of the Urban Forest, (FUF) celebrates 30 years of helping individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco. Each year FUF provides financial, technical, and practical assistance and works with community members to plant more than 1,000 trees. In San Francisco, in most cases, property owners are responsible, by law, for care of adjoining street trees. FUF’s Tree Care program helps these trees survive and thrive.
April 11, 2011
Richard Conniff, author of The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth is assembling a commemorative list of naturalists who have died while engaged in their scientific endeavors. This Wall of the Dead includes such recent tragedies as the murder of Leonardo Co (1953-2010) the Filipino botanist who, along with two assistants, was shot down while collecting seedlings of endangered trees in what the military claimed was a gun battle with rebel forces and California Academy of Sciences herpetologist Joseph Slowinski (1962–2001) who died by snakebite during the Academy’s biological expedition to northern Myanmar. Harvard’s David Boufford was one of the team members on this multidisciplinary expedition. The cause of some deaths, like John Lawson’s (1674-1711) Surveyor General of North Carolina and author of A New Voyage to Carolina who was executed on September 20, 1711 by the Tuskarora Indians are well documented, while other far more recent ones such as Frank Meyer’s (1875–1918) plant explorer for the USDA and Arnold Arboretum remain a mystery.
Corrections, additions, and comments to the list are welcome by the author on his blog and you can also link to the list on Twitter or elsewhere.
March 28, 2011
The People’s Garden Initiative, established in 2009 by the USDA challenges its employees to create gardens that are sustainable, benefit their communities, and are made through collaborative efforts. A partnership between USDA and Keep America Beautiful has resulted in over 1,230 People’s Gardens throughout the country teaching others how to nurture, maintain, and protect a healthy landscape.
Find a People’s Garden near you!
March 14, 2011
Working in collaboration with The University of Tennessee Libraries, the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library contributed to the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project by providing access to album of historic images held in the Archives. The images in Views in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park are by the Thompson Brothers. The album’s provenance maybe surmised by its dedication.
Thompson Photo Products, a fourth-generation family-owned business, founded in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1902 offers reproductions of the archival photographs of James E. Thompson (1880-1976) son of the founder, and one of the brothers, who used his photographs of the Smoky Mountains to advocate for the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
You can see the original album in the Arnold Arboretum’s Archives: Views in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
February 28, 2011
America’s Great Outdoors
In April 2010, President Obama established the America’s Great Outdoor Initiative to develop a conservation and recreation agenda worthy of the 21st century. The President directed the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead this effort. During 2010, “Listening Sessions” were held coast to coast to listen and learn from people all over the country. You too can Submit Your Ideas & Join the Conversation, Share Your Story, or discover a list of resources to inspire you to Get Outdoors.
February 15, 2011
The Chocolate Connection
For a very special treat we invite you to immerse yourself in an online delight where Anna Heran, curator of the exhibit at the Lloyd Library and Museum, has created a banquet for chocolate lovers by bringing together Sloane’s medicinal interest in Theobroma cacao after being introduced to it as a drink in Jamaica, and the cultural and economic history chocolate has played both in the Americas and Europe.
January 30, 2011
New York City Parks
New York City has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities and The Daily Plant, a newsletter produced each business day details parks events, programs, and accomplishments. You can Explore Your Park, or see its monuments before you go. Learn about and see park history . or you if you want to know about the city’s landscape architect visit to European parks you can read Samuel Parson’s ( 1844-1923) nine page 1906 Report to the New York City Park Board online or to just learn about New York City Trees check out this book.
January 15, 2011
Since its inception in 1983, the goal of The American Chestnut Foundation has been restore the American chestnut tree to its native range within the eastern United States. Ongoing research to breed blight resistance is based in Virginia. The Foundation has also partnered with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative to plant American chestnuts on reclaimed surface mines. Volunteers are needed to help locate, pollinate, and harvest nuts from native American chestnut trees. Learn more in their Field Guide, in the Journal of the American Chestnut Foundation, or in Mighty Giants: An American Chestnut Anthology, a history of The American Chestnut Foundation.
The Norman B. Leventhal Map Collection (NBLMC) at Boston Public Library was founded in 2004 as a public/private partnership to bring the BPL’s extensive map collection to the public through education, preservation of materials and digitization. The digitized maps available on their website include many maps of the Boston area and even some of the Arnold Arboretum, as well as maps old and new from around the world.
Mapping Boston, edited by Alex Krieger and David Cobb, is another great resource on Boston’s history, illustrated by many of its earliest maps.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault
1,300 kilometers from North Pole
Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which opened in 2007 and is located in the northernmost part of Norway, stores duplicates of seeds from gene banks around the world. If seeds are ever lost, they may be reestablished from the collection at Svalbard. The vault is an almost entirely underground facility, blasted out of the permafrost, and designed to store up to 2.25 billion seeds. The facility is designed to have an almost “endless” lifetime.
A Horticultural History Tour
Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Saturday, November 13 2010, 9:00am–4:00pm
MassHort is proud to announce a day-long series of lectures focused on the history of horticulture and landscape design in New England and beyond. The symposium will be hosted by John Furlong, FALA; emeritus director, Landscape Institute, Arnold Arboretum; faculty member, Boston Architectural College; distinguished instructor, Radcliffe Institute; and Gold Medal recipient and emeritus trustee, Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
Gerry Wright (as Frederick Law Olmsted), Allyson Hayward, David Barnett, PhD., Elizabeth S. Eustis, and Meg Muckenhoupt.
i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree Tools help communities of all sizes to strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the structure of community trees and the environmental services that trees provide. Numerous communities, non-profit organizations, consultants, volunteers and students have used i-Tree to report on individual trees, parcels, neighborhoods, cities, and even entire states. By understanding the local, tangible ecosystem services that trees provide, i-Tree users can link urban forest management activities with environmental quality and community livability.
i-Tree Tools are in the public domain and are freely accessible. We invite you to explore this site to learn more about how i-Tree can make a difference in your community.