Libocedrus decurrens, Lake Tahoe, 1929
Photograph by Susan Delano McKelvey (1883-1964, American)
Lake Tahoe, California, United States
December 19, 1929
Susan Delano McKelvey was born in 1883 in Philadelphia. A graduate of Bryn Mawr, class of 1906, she married a young attorney, Charles Wylie McKelvey, in 1907. A socialite, cousin of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and mother of two sons, McKelvey left New York for Boston after her marriage ended.
She went on to study landscape gardening with Arnold Arboretum Director Charles Sprague Sargent, who initially tested her mettle by assigning her to cleaning clay pots and weeding plants. She went on to become one of the institution’s first and foremost plant researchers and explorers, primarily of the American southwest. McKelvey’s favorite plants were lilacs and yuccas, cacti, and especially agave. McKelvey’s books include The Botanical Exploration of the Trans-Mississippi West 1790-1850.
Calocedrus [Libocedrus] decurrens is our Tree of the Month for December, 2017.
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