UD Botanic Gardens March Events

February 25, 2011 under CANR News, Events

Longing for Spring?  Join the UD Botanic Gardens for March events.

Wednesday, March 16 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.–Plant Sale Highlights
The Commons, Townsend Hall
UDBG Friends: Free; Nonmembers: $10
UDBG Director John Frett presents the fabulous winterhazels (Corylopsis) and many of the other plants offered at the 19th Annual Benefit Plant Sale. Refreshments served.

Thursday, March 31 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.–Guided Walk
Meet @ Fischer Greenhouse
UDBG Friends: Free; Nonmembers: $5
Dr. Frett will lead a guided walk around the gardens focusing on landscape-size plants that will be offered at the Sale.

REGISTRATION: Contact Donna Kelsch at kelsch@udel.edu or 302-831-2531.

Don’t forget to check out the Plant Sale Catalog on the UDBG website, http://ag.udel.edu/udbg. Hardcopy will be bulk mailed soon.

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Sept. 17-19: UD Botanic Gardens Fall Plant Sale

September 7, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens will hold a fall plant sale from Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 19, in the plant production area behind Townsend Hall on South College Avenue.

Hours are 4:30-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept.17, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, and 11 a.m.-2 p.m., on Sunday, Sept. 19.

The plant sale is open to the public.

A complete plant list is available on the UD Botanic Gardens website.

Foliage takes center stage at this year’s fall plant sale. Great gardens don’t have to always be about flowers, and foliage carries a garden through the seasons long after flowers have faded away. Even when nothing is blooming, the variety of color, texture and form provide depth to a garden and furnish a sense of intrigue and character that goes beyond bloom.

A lecture by Jules Bruck, assistant professor of landscape design in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will highlight the plants that are included in the fall sale.

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7, in the Townsend Hall Commons. Bruck will show ways to design a garden using native perennial plants. Learn about color, texture and form in design while seeing stunning combinations of plants.

Cost for the lecture is $5 for members of the UD Botanic Gardens Friends and $10 for nonmembers. Registration is required for the lecture by calling (302) 831-0153 or sending email to [mzoehrer@udel.edu].

The full story and photos can be seen on UDaily by clicking here.

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College converts cow pasture into thriving wetland

May 19, 2010 under CANR News

Several times a week, Chad Nelson begins his workday with a trek through a wetland near his Townsend Hall office on the University of Delaware’s Newark campus. With spring in full swing, he enjoys the sight of the butterflies, migratory songbirds, mallard ducks and their ducklings, frogs and tadpoles that make the wetland their warm-weather home.

Later this summer Nelson, an assistant professor of landscape design in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will be on the look out for dragonflies. And even in winter, he says the wetland teems with life, with such species as glossy ibis and over-wintering songbirds.

Two years ago, about the only animal life this two-acre site supported were dairy cows and migrating Canada geese.

Jenny McDermott, facilities manager for the college, spearheaded the effort to convert a poorly draining cow pasture into a wetland.

Her go-to man on the project was Tom Barthelmeh, who is a wetlands restoration expert with the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

“This project had a lot of challenges and Tom’s help was integral,” says McDermott. “Our goal in creating this wetland was not only to provide wildlife habitat but to improve water quality in the White Clay watershed.”

Once it is fully operational, the wetland will reduce runoff to Cool Run, which is a tributary of White Clay Creek. And that’s just one of the ways it will help the watershed.

The University’s farm and main campus are where Cool Run starts, the headwaters of the stream, and thus are a critical area for influencing environmental quality.

“Wetlands, especially in this area, do a lot of good things for a watershed,” explains McDermott. “By taking the pressure off the rate and volume of water that flows into a stream, wetlands reduce problems caused by stormwater runoff downstream.”

From a wildlife habitat perspective, the wetland gets high marks from Doug Tallamy, chairperson of UD’s Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology.

“The new wetlands will raise the carrying capacity of the UD Farm for decades,” says Tallamy. “The wet areas churn out insects that develop on detritus. These support swifts, martins, swallows and bats. Wading birds eat the aquatic insects and frogs in the wet areas. The wetland also provides habitats for breeding birds. It’s very productive. And none of this was happening when it was a cow pasture.”

Barthelmeh says he enjoyed the project, especially because it gave him the opportunity to mentor students. UD undergraduate and graduate students were involved in every aspect of the project, from site design and installation to the two rounds of planting that occurred, most recently last October.

Nelson spearheaded plant design with plenty of assistance from his students. Almost 2,000 trees, shrubs and perennial seed plugs have been planted at the site, ranging from blue flag iris, which provides purple-blue spring blooms; buttonbush, which blooms in summer; bald cypress, with its brilliant rusty orange fall foliage; and winterberry holly, known for its red berries in winter.

A whopping 90 percent of the first year’s planting survived despite dry planting conditions and some damage by waterfowl.

“I was concerned last year because a lot of Canada geese were browsing the wetland but most of the damage wasn’t significant since it was confined to the stalks and not the roots,” says Nelson.

The wetland is one component of a comprehensive plan to make the UD Farm a model of sustainable, environmentally friendly agriculture.

McDermott is now busy overseeing other conservation projects. Additional channel and wetland restoration will take place along the entire length of the Cool Run tributary running through the farm. A stormwater retrofit will address building and parking lot runoff that flows into Cool Run.

“These restoration efforts wouldn’t be possible without a lot of partners within the university, from DNREC and from the New Castle Conservation District,” says McDermott. “Grant funding from several DNREC departments and from the University’s alumni-supported Sustainability Fund have been matched by funding from our college to not only implement environmental protection but to provide a teaching opportunity for students and a demonstration of watershed protection.”

The UD wetland has been utilized as an outdoor classroom by landscape design, landscape construction, ornithology, wildlife management and wildlife ecology students. And it serves a public education function, as well, especially now that it has become a part of the UD Botanic Gardens.

“We offered wetland tours on Earth Day and Ag Day and the public is welcome to take self-guided tours any day from dawn to dusk,” says McDermott. “Wetlands are sometimes seen as a ‘no man’s land.’ We want people to appreciate the positive impact they can have on water quality and the diversity of wildlife they support. Wetlands are incredibly important.”

To learn more, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the UD Botanic Gardens wetland from dawn to dusk daily. The wetland is located on UD’s Farm off Route 896 in Newark, near the Girl Scouts building.

Click here to see the article with photos online on UDaily.

Article by Margo McDonough
Photos by Danielle Quigley

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May 11: Bitner to discuss conifers in UD Botanic Gardens lecture

May 10, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Gardeners delight in the first blooms of a flowering shrub, the vibrant color of a summer wildflower, a deciduous tree aflame with fall foliage. But no one stops to admire the conifer, which is often reduced to hiding home foundations or grown as a solitary sentry in the middle of an expanse of lawn.

Well, a few people do stop to admire conifers, such as Richard Bitner, a Longwood Gardens teacher, board-certified anesthesiologist, and author of Conifers for Gardens: An Illustrated Encyclopedia.

Bitner will speak about conifers at a UD Botanic Gardens lecture at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 11, in the University of Delaware’s Townsend Hall on South College Avenue in Newark. Cost is $10. To register or for more information, send email to [susanell@udel.edu] or call (302) 831-0153.

Bitner will focus on the great diversity of shapes, textures and color in this plant group and how to integrate conifers into a landscape with other woody and herbaceous plants.

Conifers are cone-bearing trees (and a few shrubs) that include such species as pines, firs, junipers, cedars, redwoods, yews and spruces. Conifers grow naturally almost everywhere in the world, including this region, which has 12 native species.

“Since they are green in the winter, conifers are often used as screens and windbreaks but they offer much on their own,” says John Frett, director of the UD Botanic Gardens. “You’ll find distinct textures in the conifers as well as varied plant form, including rounded, weeping, conical and fastigiated [narrowing toward the top].”

Like Frett and Bitner, Sue Barton is a fan of conifers. “Most home gardeners aren’t too enthused by conifers,” says Barton, the ornamental horticulture specialist for UD Cooperative Extension. “They want plants that stay green all year and flower all summer — and such a plant, of course, doesn’t exist.”

So gardeners turn to what they view as the next best thing — broadleaf evergreens, which unlike conifers, often have a spring or summer bloom period. Although Barton likes broadleaf evergreens and uses them widely, she says they can’t deliver the textural impact that conifers do.

Conifers also offer a wide range of colors, notes Barton. She uses unusually colored or variegated conifers as accent or specimen plants in her garden.

“The native Eastern red cedar has several cultivars. The most popular, Emerald Sentinel, has a blue-green color that turns purplish in the winter,” says Barton. “There are lots of blue conifers but none are native to Delaware except Emerald Sentinel.”

White pine has a silverly stripe on the needles that can give the tree an attractive grayish cast, says Barton. Although the white pine isn’t native to Delaware it is native to the East Coast. “There also are pines with yellow bands on their needles that make an interesting effect in the garden,” says Barton.

The region’s native conifers include seven pines, two cedars, a hemlock, a juniper and one deciduous conifer, a bald cypress. The pines include shortleaf, pitch, pond, table mountain, Virginia and loblolly. Delaware’s native cedars are Atlantic white cedar and Eastern red cedar.

“I have Eastern red cedar planted in my home meadow,” says Barton. “In winter, I love the look of the dark green needles next to brown winter grass. It looks even better planted near winterberry holly, which has bright red berries in winter. UD landscape engineer Tom Taylor has used the combination of Eastern red cedar and winterberry in a number of places on UD’s Newark campus.”

UD’s Botanic Gardens also has its share of Eastern red cedars and other conifers. The Clark Garden, directly in front of Townsend Hall, features an area of dwarf conifers.

Another good place to check out conifers is Winterthur’s Pinetum, which was started by Henry Algernon du Pont in 1914. This diverse collection of conifers includes pines, firs, spruces, cedars, and their relatives.

Downstate, look for mature and old-growth loblolly pine in the Inland Bays region and around the Nanticoke River, at such sites as Barnes Woods and Assawoman State Wildlife Area. In Kent County, you can find mature loblollies at the Milford Neck Conservation Area.

If you plan to add conifers to your yard, choose your site carefully. Most do best with full sun and well-drained soil. And be sure to get them into the ground at the right time.

“For most plants, spring or fall work equally well for planting. But it’s best to avoid planting evergreens in the fall,” says Barton. “So plant now.”

Article by Margo McDonough

View the full article and photos on UDaily by clicking here.

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April 24: Ag Day to celebrate 35 years with ground breaking of the UDairy Creamery, music, festivities

April 19, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

The 35th annual Ag Day, sponsored by the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 24.

Every year, Ag Day draws more than 3,000 guests who come to experience the wonders of agriculture and the natural world.

This year, those who attend will be able to see the college break ground on its new ice cream store front and processing facility, the UDairy Creamery, at 11:45 a.m.

Ag Day will be held, rain or shine, on the grounds of Townsend Hall at 531 South College Avenue on UD’s main campus in Newark. The event is organized by staff and students with the support of more than 80 organizations.
The money raised at Ag Day benefits student and community organizations.

Following the Ag Day tradition, there will be a variety of educational workshops and live entertainment at this year’s event.

On the entertainment stage will be acts including:
• The Deltones, one of the premier a capella groups at UD;
• Five Points, a student band with a unique blend of rock music;
• Dodging Cupid, a classic rock and roll band from the Delaware Valley featuring Thomas Ilvento, chairperson of the Department of Food and Resource Economics;
• Tater Patch, lively folk music featuring Judith Hough-Goldstein, professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology; and
• The Common Room, a student band with reggae, rock, and acoustic styles.

In the education presentation area, guests will be able to:
• See live animals from the Brandywine Zoo;
• See innovative vegetable gardening with representatives of the Tyler Arboretum;
• Learn about money management with Patricia Barber, associate professor in the Department of Food and Resource Economics;
• Hear and sing along with Zach Ladin and his nature songs;
• Participate in a wool workshop wool workshop with Lesa Griffiths, associate provost and professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences; and
• Learn how to keep those pesky pests out of your garden in an eco-friendly way with UD’s Cooperative Extension.

Additionally, annual attractions include 3 tents of educational exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, YoUDee, face painting and UDairy Ice Cream.

Those with an interest in gardening will want to visit the 18th annual UD Botanic Gardens Plant Sale from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., located in the Fischer Greenhouse behind Townsend Hall. The sale offers a variety of perennial flowers, shrubs and trees that are sure to add flare to any lawn or garden.

Admission and parking for Ag Day are free and open to the public, with minimal charges for food. If you are interested in becoming an exhibitor or for additional information, visit the Ag Day Web site or call (302) 831-2508.

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18th Annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Benefit Plant Sale Features Witchhazels

April 5, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The 18th Annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Benefit Plant Sale will be held on Friday, April 23, 2010 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. behind Townsend Hall, across from the Fischer Greenhouse on the University of Delaware campus (north of the University of Delaware football stadium and adjacent to the Blue Ice Arena.) Saturday is also UD’s Ag Day, where the whole family can enjoy educational exhibits, live music, animals, tours and much more. The plant sale, featuring witchhazels (Hamamelis), presents an opportunity to purchase unusual and difficult-to-find plants, and to learn about the wide variety of exciting and useful plants available beyond the usual palate found at discount garden centers or nurseries. Witchhazels are the bookends of winter, some flowering in October, while others erupt into color late January through early April. The fragrance of their flowers compliments the variety of colors – bright yellow, gold, copper and red.  Check out the 2010 Plant Sale Catalog on the UDBG website, http://ag.udel.edu/udbg.

The Gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens contribute to an understanding of the changing relationships between plants and people through education, research, extension and community support so as to instill an appreciation of plants in the landscape and the natural environment.

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UD Botanic Gardens Plant Sale Highlights Lecture and Plant Auction

February 24, 2010 under CANR News

Get a whiff of spring as University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Director John Frett presents the wonderfully fragrant witchhazels and many of the other plants offered in the Annual Benefit Plant Sale catalog and sale, on Tuesday, March 16 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in The Commons, Townsend Hall on the UD campus. The evening will also feature a silent auction offering a few plant items not found in the catalog or at the sale. Cash or checks only, no credit cards. Refreshments will be served. The presentation is free for UDBG Friends members and $10 for nonmembers. Check out the Plant Sale Catalog on the UDBG website, http://ag.udel.edu/udbg. UDBG Friends can pre-order plants through Wednesday, April 7, 2010. To enjoy this and other exclusive benefits, join the Friends online, or contact Melinda Zoehrer at (302) 831-0153 or mzoehrer@udel.edu.

The Gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens contribute to an understanding of the changing relationships between plants and people through education, research, extension and community support so as to instill an appreciation of plants in the landscape and the natural environment.

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18th Annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Benefit Plant Sale Catalog Now Online

February 24, 2010 under CANR News, Events

Tired of snow? Get a dose of spring by checking out the 2010 University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Plant Sale Catalog now on the UDBG website, http://ag.udel.edu/udbg. UDBG Friends can pre-order plants through Wednesday, April 7, 2010. To enjoy this and other exclusive benefits, join the Friends online, or contact Melinda Zoehrer at (302) 831-0153 or mzoehrer@udel.edu. You can browse at the 18th Annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Benefit Plant Sale on Friday, April 23, 2010 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. behind Townsend Hall, across from the Fischer Greenhouse on the University of Delaware campus (north of the University of Delaware football stadium and adjacent to the Blue Ice Arena.) This year’s featured plants, witchhazels (Hamamelis), are the bookends of winter, some flowering in October, while others erupt into color late January through early April. The fragrance of their flowers compliments the variety of colors – bright yellow, gold, copper and red.  In addition to the witchhazels, the sale presents an opportunity to purchase unusual and difficult-to-find plants, and to learn about the wide variety of exciting and useful plants available beyond the usual palate found at discount garden centers or nurseries.

The Gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens contribute to an understanding of the changing relationships between plants and people through education, research, extension and community support so as to instill an appreciation of plants in the landscape and the natural environment.

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Smithsonian Entomologist to Speak at April 8 UDBG Meeting

February 22, 2010 under CANR News, Events

“A Bug Guy’s Window into the Natural World” lecture open to the public

Join University of Delaware graduate Nathan Erwin (AG ‘81) for a glimpse into the intriguing world he inhabits at his job as manager of the Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion at The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Erwin is the featured speaker at the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens meeting on Thursday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m. in the Commons of Townsend Hall on the UD Campus.

Since his graduation in 1981, Erwin’s been a life-long learner using his camera as a tool. He’s watched and photographed cicadas emerging from 17 years underground, photographed endangered tiger beetles on remote beaches, learned how insect photography and the composer Wagner don’t always mix, and worked with Costa Rican butterfly farmers to help them raise beautiful non-butterfly insects, among other things.

Erwin will share images and humorous stories from his adventures that have helped him to develop educational exhibits and design projects for the Smithsonian’s Museum.

In addition to his appearances on the Late Night Show with David Letterman, Erwin has also collaborated with National Public Radio, Discovery, National Geographic, and the BBC.

To register for this event, please email susanell@udel.edu or call (302) 831-0153. The cost of the lecture is $5 for UDBG members and $10 for nonmembers. Payment (check) can be mailed to UDBG Friends, 152 Townsend Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, 19716. Payment (cash or check) is also accepted at the door; however, registration must be made in advance.

For more information about the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens visit www.ag.udel.edu/udbg.

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Witchhazels Featured at the 18th Annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Plant Sale

January 12, 2010 under CANR News, Events

Discover the allure of witchhazels at the 18th Annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Benefit Plant Sale on Friday, April 23, 2010 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. behind Townsend Hall, across from the Fischer Greenhouse on the University of Delaware campus (north of the University of Delaware football stadium and adjacent to the Blue Ice Arena.) Witchhazels (Hamamelis) are the bookends of winter, some flowering in October, while others erupt into color late January through early April. The fragrance of their flowers compliments the variety of colors – bright yellow, gold, copper and red. In addition to the witchhazels, the sale presents an opportunity to purchase unusual and difficult-to-find plants, and to learn about the wide variety of exciting and useful plants available beyond the usual palate found at discount garden centers or nurseries. Check out the 2010 Plant Sale Catalog on the UDBG website, in mid March, or in print by request at the end of March. UDBG Friends can pre-order through Wednesday, April 7, 2010. To enjoy this and other exclusive benefits, join the Friends online or contact Melinda Zoehrer at (302) 831-0153, or mzoehrer@udel.edu

The Gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens contribute to an understanding of the changing relationships between plants and people through education, research, extension and community support so as to instill an appreciation of plants in the landscape and the natural environment.

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