Harvard University began its involvement with topical botany in Cuba in 1899 in the wake of a meeting between Edwin Atkins (1850–1926), owner of the Soledad Plantation in Cuba and Harvard Professors Oakes Ames and George Goodale, which established The Harvard Botanic Station for Tropical Research and Sugar Cane Investigation.
Have you seen this? Archive
October 17, 2016
Champion trees are the superstars of their species — and there are more than 700 of them in our annual register. Each champion is the result of a lucky combination: growing in a spot protected by the landscape or by people who have cared about and for it, good soil, the right amount of water, and resilience to the elements, surviving storms, disease and pests.
American Forests National Big Tree Program was founded to honor these trees. Since 1940, we have kept the only national register of champion trees, an annual record of the biggest known tree of hundreds of species.
Champion trees are found by people just like you — school teachers, kids fascinated by science, tree lovers of all ages and even arborists for whom a fun day off is measuring the biggest tree they can find. You, too, can become a big tree hunter and compete to find new champions.
The 2016 American Forests Champion Trees national register has 705 national champions, including 64 newly crowned champions and co-champions. The national register has basic and advanced search features that allow you to search by species, measurements, location and total points.
September 30, 2016
The “Rare Book Room” has been constructed as an educational website intended to allow the visitor to examine and read some of the great books of the world.
Over the last decade, a company called “Octavo” digitally photographed some of the world ’s great books from some of the greatest libraries. These books were photographed at very high resolution (in some cases at over 200 megabytes per page).
This site contains all of the books (about 400) that have been digitized to date. These range over a wide variety of topics and rarity. The books are presented so that the viewer can examine all the pages in medium to medium-high resolution.
You can search digitized materials by category, such as Botany and Gardening. Materials available so far include Sylva Britannica (1826) by Jacob George Strutt, Pomona Londinensis (1818) by William Hooker, and Choix des Plus Belles Fleurs (1827, pictured at right) by Pierre-Joseph Redouté.
August 29, 2016
National Geographic has digitized every US Geological Survey (USGS) topographical map from across the United States on one easy-to-navigate site and made them easy to print out at home.
If you’ve ever gone hunting topographical maps via the USGS, you know that it can be a bit of a pain because, not only is finding the quad you’re looking for more difficult, the PDFs they have available aren’t formatted for standard printer paper.
The National Geographic website solves both of these issues. First, the homepage greets you with a searchable, interactive map: all you have to do is search for or zoom in on the area you’re looking for. Then, once you find your quad, just click on it and a printable PDF loads right up.
July 20, 2016
Formerly the Garden Writers Association, GWA is an organization of professional communicators in the green industry including book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, freelance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the green industry has as much contact with the buying public as GWA members.
From writing to photography, from landscape design to sales executive, GWA members represent all facets of the communications industry. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GWA members.
May 30, 2016
Darwin and his Colleagues at the Lloyd Library and Museum
Darwin By Post is an online exhibit brought to you by The Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati, which specializes and natural history, botany, and the history of medicine. This project began with the idea of transposing Charles Darwin’s correspondence, diaries (as “blogs”), images, maps, references, and publications into an equivalent social networking “feed.”
The question that inspired this exhibit was “what did the real Darwin’s social network look like? Who was in it? What did they talk about?”
According to the Lloyd, “The goal of this exhibit is to show what resources we have at the Lloyd Library that are related to Darwin – it’s materials by him, of course. It is also, though, materials by his friends and correspondents. He and Alfred Russel Wallace, for instance, weren’t enemies. They were friends who corresponded regularly and talked about their similar theories of evolution and change over time among species. They agreed to present their similar findings jointly to the Linnean Society. The list of Darwin’s correspondents, by the way, seems endless.”
Profiles of Darwin correspondents include Louis Agassiz, Asa Gray, Joseph Dalton Hooker, Charles Lyell, Alfred Russel Wallace, and many others.
April 27, 2016
feature by Cara Giaimo, Atlas Obscura
In the fall of 1879, Dr. William James Beal (1833-1924) walked to a secret spot on Michigan State University’s campus and planted a strange crop: 20 narrow-necked glass bottles, each filled with a mixture of moist sand and seeds. Each vessel was “left uncorked and placed with the mouth slanting downward so that water could not accumulate about the seeds,” Beal wrote. “These bottles were buried on a sandy knoll in a row running east and west.”
In the spring of 2000, under cover of night, current W.J. Beal Botanical Garden curator Dr. Frank Telewski and his colleague Dr. Jan Zeevaart crept out to the same secret knoll and dug up the sixth-to-last seed bottle—completing the latest act in what has become the world’s longest continually monitored scientific study.
Arnold Arboretum director Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927) corresponded with Dr. Beal from 1906 to 1909.
Read more about this germination experiment at Atlas Obscura.
March 21, 2016
Mr. President, The First Lady, and their twin hatchlings at The National Arboretum
In 2014, a pair of mated bald eagles chose the most idyllic of nest sites within our nation’s Capital, Washington, DC, nestled high in a tulip poplar amid the Azalea Collection at the United States National Arboretum. This was the first time bald eagles nested in this location since 1947. The two have been iconically named “Mr. President” and “The First Lady.” This pair raised one eaglet successfully in 2015.
Now another pair of eaglets have joined the family—the first chick hatched on Wednesday, March 16, the second on Sunday, March 20.
Tune in live to Eagle Cam!
The American Eagle Foundation partnered with the National Arboretum to install and stream two high definition video cameras from the top of the nest tree. The cameras are powered completely by a large mobile solar array that was designed and built by Alfred State College, SUNY College of Technology and was partially funded by the Department of Energy and Environment.
February 29, 2016
Acorn Bread in Iron Age of North-western Iberia, from Gathering to Baking
Strabo’s Geography is one of the main sources that archaeologists use for the study of the Castro Culture’s (Iron Age in north-western Iberia) customs on food and consumption. In his description, [Strabo] affirms that during two thirds of the year, those mountaineers fed on the acorn.
The archaeological evidence shows that these people were mainly farmers; therefore Strabo presents this idea of gathering and poor agriculture in an attempt to contrast Castro Culture with a civilized image of Rome. However, the gathered products would constitute an important part of their diet, as the common finding of acorns in a substantial number of settlements seems to indicate.
Read the full article by Estevo Amado Rodríguez at EXARC Journal, which features the latest developments in fieldwork, academic research, museum studies, living history interpretation and ancient technology. EXARC is the international organization of Archaeological Open-Air Museums (AOAM) and Experimental Archaeology.
January 25, 2016
‘The Highgrove Florilegium will not only provide an historical record of the plants in my garden, but will also be enjoyed by many of those who have an abiding love for plants and gardens’
HRH The Prince of Wales, Taken from the Preface of The Highgrove Florilegium
At the invitation of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Addison Publications have published England’s First Royal Florilegium – a fine art facsimile of original watercolors painted of plants, fruit and vegetables in The Prince’s garden at Highgrove in Gloucestershire. The edition, dedicated by the Artists to His Royal Highness, is limited to just 175 numbered sets of two volumes. All royalties from the publication will be donated to The Prince’s Charities Foundation.
Read more about the botanical artists and production team at The Highgrove Florilegium website.
Selected watercolors from this work were featured in a November 2015 exhibit at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, Boylston, Massachusetts.
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library also collects numerous richly-colored books on botanical illustration, along with current and past issues of The Botanical Artist, the Journal of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA). Feel free to contact us if you would be interested in visiting our collections.
December 16, 2015
Founded on Earth Day in 2015, Project ARCC is a task force of archivists striving to motivate the archival community to affect climate change.
The collective believes that archivists, those responsible for the preservation of history for future generations, should be as passionate and concerned about preserving a habitable and safe planet. Their four-fold mission is:
- Protect archival collections from the impact of climate change
- Reduce our professional carbon and ecological footprint
- Elevate climate change related archival collections to improve public awareness and understanding of climate change
- Preserve this epochal moment in history for future research and understanding
Read more about Project ARCC, its activities, and its continuing efforts to apply archival science towards ensuring the preservation of our habitable planet for future generations.
November 30, 2015
Massachusetts Horticultural Society shares its collection of
Botanical Prints through the Digital Commonwealth
The Botanical Print Collection of The Massachusetts Horticultural Society Library, comprising of over 1,000 botanical illustrations, has been digitized and can now be viewed online at Digital Commonwealth.
With prints dating from 1620 to 1969, this project captures more than three centuries in the evolution of botanical illustration, offering an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and authors. These images are available for the purposes of viewing and studying and not for commercial use.
Massachusetts Horticultural Society Library includes over 20,000 volumes and maintains 5,000 rare books, manuscripts, prints, seed catalogs, glass slides, and early transactions of horticultural institutions.
Digital Commonwealth is a non-profit collaborative organization that provides resources and services to support the creation, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage materials held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives.
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library is also a member of Digital Commonwealth, who have so far facilitated two digitization projects from our collections: Ernest Henry Wilson’s New England Trees (550 glass plate negatives), and our historical Arnold Arboretum Maps and Plans (150 maps, blueprints, plans).
October 28, 2015
Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
We are pleased to announce that our collection of Metasequoia glyptostroboides, 1940-2010 material has been revised to facilitate optimal access for researchers and Arnold Arboretum staff. Along with our Visual Archives, our Metasequoia collection is an excellent resource that tells the story of 20th century plant exploration in Eastern Asia, palaeobotany, and redistribution of the germplasm to the west via the Arnold Arboretum. This collection also reiterates the strong current and historic institutional ties between China and the Arnold Arboretum.
Metasequoia glyptostroboides, popularly known in the west as the “dawn redwood” and in Chinese as shui-sha (water fir), was discovered in the Hupeh (Hubei) Province on the border of Szechuan (Sichuan) Province in west central China in the 1940s. The tree had been believed to have become extinct millions of years ago but that was found not to be the case. In 1944, Metasequoia glyptostroboides was identified as a “living fossil” by Hsen-Hsu Hu (1894-1968) of Fan Memorial Institute of Biology, Beijing.
The Metasequoia glyptostroboides collection consists of four series, 1. Correspondence; 2. Questionnaires, Manuscripts, Miscellaneous Papers; 3. Photographic Collection; 4. Journal and Newspaper Articles. All materials pertain to the discovery and subsequent worldwide cultivation of the “fossil relic” Metasequoia glyptostroboides.
September 16, 2015
The Boston Public Market opened on July 30, 2015. Its mission is to provide fresh, healthy food to consumers of all income levels, nourish our community, and educate the public about food sources, nutrition, and preparation.
At the Boston Public Market, farmers, fishermen, and food producers from Massachusetts and throughout New England offer the public a year-round source of fresh, local food and an opportunity to taste, buy, and understand what our region has to offer. The market houses over 35 vendors selling locally produced items such as farm-fresh produce, meat and poultry, eggs, milk and cheese, fish and shellfish, bread and baked goods, flowers, and an assortment of specialty and prepared foods.
The Boston Public Market is the only locally sourced market of its kind in the United States. Everything sold at the Market is produced or originates in New England. The Market is a civic resource, educating the public about food sources, nutrition, and preparation.
The Boston Public Market is a partnership between the Boston Public Market Association, individual and corporate donors, foundations, the City of Boston, and the project’s seed funder, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Boston Public Market Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3).
August 31, 2015
The International Dunhuang Project (IDP) is a ground-breaking international collaboration to make information and images of all manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artifacts from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road freely available on the Internet and to encourage their use through educational and research programs.
Little was known of the remarkable heritage of the Silk Road until explorers and archaeologists of the early twentieth century uncovered the ruins of ancient cities in the desert sands, revealing astonishing sculptures, murals and manuscripts. One of the most notable discoveries was the Buddhist cave library near the oasis town of Dunhuang on the edge of the Gobi desert in western China. The cave had been sealed and hidden at the end of the first millennium AD and only re-discovered in 1900. Forty thousand manuscripts, paintings and printed documents on paper and silk were found in the cave itself. Tens of thousands more items were excavated from other Silk Road archaeological sites. These unique items have fascinating stories to tell of life on this great trade route from 100 BC to AD 1400. Yet most were dispersed to institutions worldwide in the early 1900s, making access difficult.
The turmoil of the twentieth century meant that conservation and cataloging were delayed, further hindering access. Following a conference in 1993 to discuss the problem of preservation and access, the IDP was formed in 1994 with external funds out of a desire by the holding institutions to work together to rectify this by reuniting all these artifacts through the highest quality digital photography, by coordinating international teams of conservators, catalogers and researchers to ensure the objects’ preservation and cataloging, and by pushing the limits of new web technologies to make this material accessible to all.
IDP’s directorate was established at the British Library and it has centers of operation in China, Russia, Japan, Germany, France and Korea.
July 20, 2015
For those who don’t know, Nantucket is a town and a county comprised of three islands. The smallest of these is Muskeget Island, registering these days at around 250 acres of sand, American beach grass, bayberry, Rosa rugosa, wild flowers, low Eastern red cedar, and seemingly endless snarls of poison ivy.
Owned by the Town of Nantucket and Crocker Snow, Jr., Muskeget Island is a low, barren scab of post-glacial deposits perched on terminal moraine sediments steadily wearing away into eroding waves. Shorebirds and scant land birds find respite here from the huggermugger of the bigger two islands in this mini archipelago, Nantucket and Tuckernuck Islands. Gray seals have found its isolation from humans, and hungry white sharks, to be such a perfect sanctuary that they’ve turned it into the second largest of their breeding colonies on the East Coast.
Read more about Muskeget Island, its ecology, and its historic importance at The Nantucket Chronicle.
June 22, 2015
Linnaeus (also known as Carl von Linné) was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist whose work laid the foundations of modern biological systematics and nomenclature. Long before Linnaeus, classical science was important in the shaping of subsequent science in the West. Transmitted through the cultures of the Mediterranean area, classical science was recovered during the Renaissance and ensuing Scientific Revolution, and undergirded the search for a new botanical system. Drawing on the work of his predecessors and contemporaries, Linnaeus developed a coherent system for describing, classifying and naming organisms. Linnaeus’ students traveled the globe to explore and collect information and specimens. Aspects of the Linnaean system have enabled amateurs and professionals worldwide to identify, name and describe plants for more than two centuries.
The Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation specializes in the history of botany and all aspects of plant science and serves the international scientific community through research and documentation.
This exhibition hung in the Hunt Institute gallery from April 28 to July 31, 2002.
May 18, 2015
Cambridge University Botanic Garden was developed by John Stevens Henslow, mentor of Charles Darwin, and it was opened to the public in 1846. Many of the garden’s plants have traditional uses as medicines, foods, dyes, building materials, writing tools and textiles. Today, plants remain an important source of materia medica. In the 30 years prior to 2010, nearly 50% of new drugs originated in the natural world, many from plants, and of the 252 drugs which the World Health Organization has designated as essential, 11% come directly from flowering plants. Close to 80% of these plant-based drugs are used to treat similar conditions to those treated by the same plants in traditional medicine.
Read more about the in-depth history and application of plant and horticultural sciences to medical research at Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
April 22, 2015
The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating with the Global Soil Partnership and other organizations around the world to celebrate the 2015 International Year of Soils (IYS) and raise awareness and promote the sustainability of our limited soil resources.
Soils are a finite natural resource and are nonrenewable on a human time scale. Soils are the foundation for food, animal feed, fuel and natural fiber production, the supply of clean water, nutrient cycling and a range of ecosystem functions. The area of fertile soils covering the world’s surface is limited and increasingly subject to degradation, poor management and loss to urbanization. ncreased awareness of the life-supporting functions of soil is called for if this trend is to be reversed and so enable the levels of food production necessary to meet the demands of population levels predicted for 2050.
Additionally, as part of their IYS celebration, SSSA is encouraging all colleges and universities to encourage students to plan and practice good communications by holding a PEDology Talks contest. Learn more!
March 30, 2015
Researchers of plant and life sciences, historical landscape studies, and New England history can now access decades of Arnoldia through the Ecology & Botany II Collection of JSTOR, an online repository with access to thousands of academic journals.
Arnoldia is the quarterly magazine published by the Arnold Arboretum since 1941. From 1912 to 1940, it was published as the Bulletin of Popular Information, in order to keep the public informed of horticultural developments and highlights at The Arnold Arboretum. The Bulletin is also available through JSTOR. This additional point of access to our institutional history is an exciting development!
JSTOR may require a subscription through your academic institution. The staff at the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library can gladly assist your research needs.
March 23, 2015
March 23-27, 2015
Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is an open access digital library for natural history literature and archives. Operating as a consortium of natural history, botanical, and research institutions around the world, BHL collections include 45+ million pages of biodiversity literature spanning the past five centuries.
“Garden Stories” is a week long social media event for garden lovers. The campaign will explore the fascinating world of gardening, from the rise of agriculture to the home garden and the mail order gardening phenomenon. Content for the campaign will include gardening tips, history, and plant factoids, using the over 13,000 seed and nursery catalogs in BHL to help tell these stories and provide this information. Content will be published via the BHL Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Pinterest, with additional posts through the Smithsonian Libraries’ Tumblr. All content will be tagged with #BHLinbloom.
Biodiversity Heritage Library also hosts a number of Historic Arnold Arboretum Publications, including works by Charles Sargent, Alfred Rehder, and Ernest Henry Wilson.
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library also holds a number of historic nursery catalogs in our Reading Room [Call number: Rg], including Conrad Loddiges & Sons, Veitch Nurseries, and Yokohama Nursery Company.
February 25, 2015
Lecture by Valerie Sallis
Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 2pm-4pm
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
15 Newton Street
Brookline, MA 02445
Although she is perhaps known most widely today as a children’s author, former Brookline resident Isabel Anderson published ten travelogues between 1914 and 1936. Isabel, and her husband Larz, were among many wealthy world travelers of their time, but the Andersons position in diplomatic circles gave them access to people and places unavailable to many other travel writers. Isabel Anderson’s travelogues still make interesting reading today and remain available in a number of libraries. Her books provide valuable details on travel in the Anderson’s era and cultural perceptions of Americans of the time, as well vivid interpretations of the history, folklore, and geography of the many countries they visited over the course of their lives.
This event was co-sponsored by the Brookline and Jamaica Plain Historical Societies, and was held at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum which houses the Andersons’ magnificent automobile collection (the oldest in the country).
The Archive Collection at Arnold Arboretum holds the Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection records, 1904- , and The Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection can be viewed at the Arboretum from mid-April to mid-November.
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
The Mary May Binney Wakefield Charitable Trust
An educational initiative dedicated to preserving the historic Wakefield Estate and Arboretum.
Wakefield Charitable Trust carries on the legacy of Mary May Binney “Polly” Wakefield and her vision for a citizenry engaged and knowledgeable about the surrounding environment.
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.
Read the full article, and be sure to view the project here.
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.
Restored by the National Trust in 1999, the abbey is now the Henry Fox Talbot Museum. Plant Network explains how Fox Talbot’s Botanic Garden was restored and its photographic legacy preserved.
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
Darwin & gender: a new initiative
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.