For three decades, the Arnold Arboretum has shared remarkable plants with its members, to promote horticulture in New England and as a way of saying thanks. The Arboretum’s majestic trees provide a beautiful and inspiring backdrop for a special event each fall focused on bringing people and plants together—the Members’ Plant Giveaway. An annual horticultural tradition, the 2013 Giveaway will be held in the Arboretum’s hickory collection on Saturday, September 21 from 10:00am to noon.
The Giveaway is not a sale, but an opportunity for Arboretum members to choose a number of free plants determined by giving level from a choice selection of trees, shrubs, and vines. This year, for the first time, most of the offerings in the Giveaway were propagated from seed or cuttings sourced directly from the Arboretum’s renowned living collections, or wild-collected on expedition. By routinely gathering propagation material from Arboretum plants, staff ensure that important lineages—many stemming from the Arboretum’s historical and continuing efforts to explore temperate woody plants—are preserved and regenerated in the collection. This year, the Arboretum is pleased to share this critical aspect of its work and legacy with members.
Giveaway plants grown from cuttings represent clones—genetic copies of the plants they were cut from. By selecting one of these plants, members can cultivate new individuals of historical accessions, essentially taking home plants identical to their storied parents in the Arboretum landscape. In general, plants grown from seed also reflect the nature and characteristics of the original plant from which the seeds were collected. However, because the Arboretum grows related species of plants side by side, some seedlings may exhibit hybrid qualities due to open pollination. Whether grown by cuttings or seed, plants selected at the Plant Giveaway offer members the opportunity to explore horticulture and grow a part of the Arboretum—and a slice of botanical history—in their own backyards.
After choosing plants in the Giveaway Tent, members are welcome to join the Arboretum’s horticultural experts for a free drawing of additional living treasures from the Dana Greenhouses and nurseries. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about woody plants and share their advice for planting and maintaining healthy plants and landscapes. If you are not a member, you may join on the day of the event, or in advance by contacting membership coordinator Wendy Krauss at 617.384.5766 or by email.