October eNewsletter

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October 2015


In this issue

  • China Expedition Focuses on Paperbark Maple
  • Educators Explore Landscape as Outdoor Classroom
  • Fall/Winter Issue of Silva Online Now
  • Grow Plants and Explore their History in October
  • Experience the Unique Art Form of Woodturning
  • Gain a Closer Look at the Art of Dwarfed Plants
  • Posts from the Collections Offer Director’s Insight
  • Visitor Highlights: What Not to Miss in October
  • Plant Spotlight: Katsura Tree
  • Educators Explore Landscape as Outdoor Classroom

    Arboretum for Educators Monthly Explorations introduce our landscape as an outdoor classroom for elementary and middle school teachers in the life sciences. Supported by the Henry Meyer Boston School Initiative, these monthly professional development opportunities share specific hands-on topics that can be used in the classroom, and enable teachers to meet and network with like-minded educators. This month, join us for Seed Dispersal: Mechanisms of Flight and Fall Color: How Do Leaves Do That? As part of the seed dispersal program, the public is invited to attend a Tree Mob with our educators to see how far winged seeds can travel.

    Fall/Winter Issue of Silva Online Now

    Get in touch with the plants, people, and programs that make the Arnold Arboretum a hub for botanical science, horticulture, and education. Read the fall/winter issue of Silva, the news magazine of the Arnold Arboretum, available now on our website. Members of the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum receive the print edition of Silva twice a year, offering an advance look at exciting news and programming each spring and fall. Members enjoy many other benefits while supporting our mission and programming.

    Grow Plants and Explore their History in October

    This month, expand your understanding of plants and enhance your practical gardening skills at the Arboretum. Join Jack Alexander for a propagation workshop focused on seeds and cuttings, and get tips on how to save seeds with Lee Buttala. Learn some fascinating botanical history during the age of plant exploration with author Andrea Wulf, who offers two compelling talks this month. On October 5, Andrea speaks at the Massachusetts Historical Society about the life of visionary German naturalist and explorer Alexander Von Humboldt and his influence on evolution, ecology, conservation, and literature. On October 6, Andrea comes to the Arboretum to share the story of the birth of the botany movement in the eighteenth century and the resulting garden revolution.

    Experience the Unique Art Form of Woodturning

    Woodturning is the art of fashioning wood into various forms and shapes using a lathe, a tool which differentiates this art form from other kinds of woodworking. A special exhibition at the Arboretum combines the creativity and expertise of three woodturning associations: the Association of Revolutionary Turners (ART), Central New England Woodturners, and Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners. Some works employ wood from felled Arboretum trees, continuing these plants’ use and enjoyment by the community. Join us for turning demonstrations over the October 24 weekend and see select works on display beginning October 9.

    Gain a Closer Look at the Art of Dwarfed Plants

    The pavilion housing our Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection and other dwarfed, potted tree specimens will be open to visitors from 11am to 1pm every Thursday in October, and from 12:30-2:30pm on Sunday, October 18. These open house events [pdf] offer a rare chance to view these amazing treasures up close, and hear about their history, care, and culture. The collection comprises thirty-five curated specimens of bonsai (Japanese) and penjing (Chinese) trees trained in shallow pots, some started more than 250 years ago! A great opportunity to experience these beloved plants before they go indoors for the winter.

    Posts from the Collections Offer Director’s Insight

    Get better acquainted with plants collected from around the world by reading Director William (Ned) Friedman’s Posts from the Collections. Taking a page from the weekly plant bulletins disseminated a century ago by Charles Sprague Sargent, Ned is sharing his own interactions with Arboretum plants for enthusiasts in the digital age. Explore the natural history of some of our 15,000 accessioned plants, and gain timely information on the beautiful, fascinating, and ephemeral moments in their lives by following Ned’s posts on Facebook (William Friedman) or sign up to receive his updates and plant photos by email.

    Visitor Highlights: What Not to Miss in October

    Take advantage of the season to enjoy our world-class collection of maples. Enjoy a guided tour with Arnoldia editor Nancy Rose on October 18 and see highlights of the collection, learn about its use for research and conservation, and delight in the display of vibrant fall color. Later this month, Fall Into Health offers a chance to explore less-traveled Arboretum paths on a brisk walk designed for fitness.
    Other tours include a behind-the-scenes look at our greenhouses, walks designed for birders, a Family Walk for all ages, and our landscape tours on weekends, Thursdays, and select Mondays.

    Plant Spotlight: Katsura Tree

    The katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) bears heart-shaped leaves that are
    reddish-purple in spring, blue-green in summer, and golden yellow in autumn. In addition to its visual appeal, autumn foliage may emit a sweet fragrance often compared to brown sugar or cotton candy. Most of the Arboretum’s katsura trees can be found along Meadow Road near its intersection with Linden Path. Print our Tree-of-the-Month activity [pdf] or stop by the Visitor Center for more information.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except book image courtesy of Andrea Wulf and exhibition image courtesy of John Flynn.

    China Expedition Focuses on Paperbark Maple

    The first international expedition in the Arnold Arboretum’s newly-launched, 10-year Campaign for the Living Collections sent our Curator, Michael Dosmann, to western China in search of an old friend: Acer griseum, or paperbark maple. The tree known for its beautiful red, exfoliating bark was first collected in its native China by Arboretum explorer E. H. Wilson in 1901 and 1907. Most paperbark maples in Western gardens today derive from these original collections and those made on a NACPEC expedition (North America-China Plant Exploration Consortium) the Arboretum participated in two decades ago. On this trip, Michael and other members of NACPEC traveled between six of China’s provinces to collect samples and inventory ten populations of the tree, representing most of the native stands of A. griseum known to science. Read more about the the expedition and why genetic diversity is important for research and conservation in Michael’s latest post on ARBlog, the blog of the Arnold Arboretum.

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