Giant resin bees, finding old friends in a New World

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
August 14, 2019

Giant resin bees, finding old friends in a New World

Female giant resin bee (Megachile sculptura)

Although most of our trees have long since bloomed, Tetradium danielli is currently exploding in color. Its multitude of beautiful white flowers in turn attract thousands of bees, explaining its common name, the “bee-bee tree.” Since Tetradium danielli is native to east Asia, the majority of the North American bees discovered its sweet nectar relatively […]

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NestWatch program connects science and birdwatching

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
June 17, 2019

NestWatch program connects science and birdwatching

bluebird

This spring, the Arboretum’s Visitor Engagement department launched our inaugural “Arboretum NestWatch” volunteer program. Since then, our small group of trained volunteers have been diligently monitoring the 30 nest boxes located on our grounds and submitting their observations to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch project, a citizen science initiative that uses data gathered from […]

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Kalmia latifolia

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
June 14, 2019

Kalmia latifolia

Kalmia latifolia flowers

The small, fast Telico River is a jewel of east Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest. Its clear waters tumble past moss-covered riverbanks while mountain laurels (Kalmia latifolia) abound on the steep, rocky hillsides. My father often fly-fishes there, casting for the brook trout that sway beneath the rapids. When the Arboretum’s mountain laurels explode with flowers […]

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Swallows, springtime, and “Carol of the Bells”

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
April 12, 2019

Swallows, springtime, and “Carol of the Bells”

Visitors on the grounds may have noticed small numbers of migrant male tree swallows, recently returned from Central America, circling above the Arboretum landscape. Watching them gracefully swoop above the meadows, it is easy to understand why swallow species as a whole are beloved signs of the spring around the world. Ukrainians, for example, celebrate […]

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Spring life for great horned owls

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
March 26, 2019

Fruits, feathers, and the colors that connect them

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
August 16, 2018

Fruits, feathers, and the colors that connect them

This post is one of several on birds at the Arboretum. We’re highlighting birds in our landscape as part of the 2018 “Year of the Bird”, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Although the showy spring flowers are long gone, brightly colored fruits, and the colorful birds that consume them, have […]

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Chickadees, from egg to airborne

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
June 20, 2018

Housework for nesting birds

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
May 24, 2018

The early bird meets its match

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
April 27, 2018

A year for the birds

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
March 7, 2018