A Botanic Garden for Delmarva

Exciting things are happening in the small town of Dagsboro, Delaware! Fellows and students in the University of Delaware’s Plant and Soil Science Department enjoyed the beautiful spring weather earlier this month while visiting the site of Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek, a new garden on the cusp of opening to the public. Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek will be situated on a unique 37 acres in Southern Delaware. The site is unique due to its dramatic range of topography, uncommon in Sussex County, Delaware, which includes former farmland to early-succession hardwood forest to wetland marsh, complete with 1,000 feet of waterfront along tidal Pepper Creek.

Fellows and students in the Plant and Soil Science Department are eager to check out the site of Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek!

Fellows and students in the Plant and Soil Science Department are eager to check out the site of Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek!

Fellows learned about the vision for the garden, currently in the beginning phases of development, from Board President Susan Ryan, Executive Director Sheryl Swed, and Board Vice President Raymond Sander. Rodney Robinson, FASLA and principal at Robinson Anderson Summers, a landscape design firm in Wilmington, Delaware, has been instrumental in working with Garden leadership to shape the future garden experience.

Rodney Robinson illustrates the garden design in the sandy loam soil.

Rodney Robinson illustrates the garden design in the sandy loam soil.

Robinson described the importance of creating a garden that responds to its location as an Atlantic coastal plain and leveraging the natural landscape. The focus of current planning is choreographing the entrance experience and the Garden is working with Lake|Flato Architects to design a visitor center that complements the landscape around it. That landscape will feature a meadow designed by noted Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf. Known for his designs featuring swaths and drifts of perennials and grasses, such as those seen at The High Line in New York City and Lurie Garden in Chicago, he has been given carte blanche with regard to the meadow at Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek.

Future site of the meadow, which will be designed by Piet Oudolf.

Future site of the meadow, which will be designed by Piet Oudolf.

Director of Horticulture Greg Tepper, gardener Sam Cashdollar, and volunteers have been hard at work creating paths throughout the hardwood forest. Thoughtfully planned and executed, these paths offer the visitor a way to wander and explore until they reach the banks of Pepper Creek. The Fellows’ favorite garden accent were the large nests made from brush cleared out of the understory!

The biggest nest at Delware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek!

The biggest nest at Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek! Photo courtesy of Dana Kester-McCabe

Winding paths lead visitors to the banks of Pepper Creek

Winding paths lead visitors to the banks of Pepper Creek

Many thanks to Jules Bruck, Associate Professor at the University of Delaware, for coordinating this trip, the board members and staff at Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek, and Rodney Robinson for taking time to share this fantastic new garden space with us! We can’t wait to visit again!

It turned into a bright, sunny day in southern Delaware!

It turned into a bright, sunny day in southern Delaware!

Announcing the 2016 Emerging Professional Travel Awardees

The Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture is pleased to announce the Emerging Professional Travel Awardees for the 2016 Longwood Graduate Program Symposium. We are excited to have this group of talented individuals represent their institutions and contribute to the dialogue throughout the day!

Emma Erler, Heritage Museums & Gardens
Anna Fialkoff, New England Wildflower Society
TJ Graveline, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Jessie Loftus, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Shawn Overstreet, University of California-Davis
Bryce Patz, The Purdue Arboretum
Maddison Paule, Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens
David Michael Pease, University of Tennessee
Mark Stewart, Toronto Botanical Garden
Melissa Tinling, North Carolina State University
Kerrie Van Gaalen, University of British Columbia Botanical Garden & Center for Plant Research
Benjamin Whitacre, The American Horticultural Society
Alexa Wright, North Carolina State University

This award, in its second year, is given to students, interns, and garden or museum professionals in the beginning stages of their career. Congratulations to our 2016 Awardees!

Special thanks to our Emerging Professional Travel Award sponsors for their support: American Public Gardens Association, Mt. Cuba Center, The Chanticleer Foundation, Adkins Arboretum, and Longwood Graduate Program Alumni

Registration for the live-streaming symposium webinar is still available via our website! Online participants will interact with a facilitator throughout the day, including during the Dessert and Dialogue session. Please see our website for speakers, talk descriptions, and schedule of the day. Join the conversation online: #LGPSymp2016 #DaringDialogue

Photo: Richard Donham

Photo: Richard Donham

Start working on your Travel Award Application!

The Fellows are busy finalizing details for the 2016 Symposium, Daring Dialogue, and are excited to host another group amazing of emerging professionals! Don’t delay–the deadline for applications is Friday, January 8, 2016.

The Travel Award will be given to eligible emerging professionals, including students, to engage a new generation in this important dialogue. Click here for further information, including the application.

Summer Summary: Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now

Beginning the 2015-2016 school year this week has us reflecting on our accomplishments this past summer and looking toward what is ahead:

The Class of 2016 traveled throughout Massachusetts to visit The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Mount Auburn Cemetery, and other locations owned by the Trustees of Reservations at the beginning of June. Fellows also presented their research and experiences at the American Public Gardens Association Annual Conference in Minneapolis in late June.

July brought the Class of 2017, who dove into learning about all the departments that comprise Longwood Gardens, meeting public horticulture professionals in July and August, and formulating their thesis research topics.

Several Fellows attended the American Society for Horticultural Science annual conference in New Orleans, LA at the beginning of August. They received the following awards and presented their research:

2015-07-14 00.02.57 (1)Elizabeth Barton, Class of 2017
Award: Industry Division Student Travel Grant

Research: Moderated an oral session and presented her research, “A Comparison of Organic Matter Amendments for Use in Extensive Green Roof Substrates”

 

Andrea ASHS Poster

Andrea worked hard this spring to complete experiments central to her thesis research on oak trees


Andrea Brennan, Class of 2016
Awards: 3rd Place in Scholars Ignite Competition for her speech Tissue Culture for Oak Conservation: Graduate students share their research discoveries and creations to a non-specialist audience in under 3 minutes; ASHS Travel Grant

Research: Presented posters on her research, “The Effect of 6-Benzylaminopurine (BAP) on Bud-forcing of Twelve Quercus L. Species” during two sessions: Propagation I and the Graduate Student Poster Competition

2015-07-14 00.06.12Erin Kinley, Class of 2017
Award: American Society for Horticultural Science Scholar Award

 

 

 

 

Most recently, the Class of 2016 have been guiding the Class of 2017 throughout this year’s Professional Outreach Project, which is focused on Bright Spot Farms and creating an updated program and business plan. Lead Fellow Stephanie Kuniholm will share our experience at the beginning of October.

Fellows are also gearing up for the 2016 Symposium, the annual International Experience (for the Class of 2017), attending conferences and looking forward to classes this semester. Check back for updates every two weeks this fall!

Watering Our Roots to Grow Our Communities

Minneapolis Scuplture Garden on a lovely June day

Minneapolis Scuplture Garden on a lovely June day

Beautiful Minneapolis-St. Paul was the location of this year’s American Public Gardens Association Annual Conference. The Fellows enjoyed every aspect of the week, especially the hospitality of the co-hosting institutions, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.

Minnesota Lanscape Arboretum is currently hosting Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks as a temporary exhibition; the colors of this dragonfly perfectly accent the astilbe

Minnesota Lanscape Arboretum is currently hosting Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks as a temporary exhibition; the colors of this dragonfly perfectly accent the astilbe

Public garden leaders presented on wide variety of topics during sessions throughout the week, such as leading organizational change, interpreting science for the public, mapping plant collections, and tackling challenges of growing membership at “gateless” gardens.

Not only did the Fellows attend sessions, but several Fellows had the opportunity to share their research and experience with conference attendees as well:

Andrea Brennan (Class of 2016)- Exploring Horticulture and Chrysanthemum Culture in Japan: A presentation on the Class of 2016’s International Experience in January 2015 in Japan.

Frances Jackson (Class of 2016)- The Maddening Crowd? Collections Protection Strategies to Welcome More Visitors to Your Garden (presented with Rebecca McMackin, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Melanie Sifton, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Thomas Smarr, Friends of the High Line)

Sarah Leach Smith (Class of 2015)- Evaluation of Trial Garden Practices at Public Gardens and Arboreta

Bryan Thompsonowak (Class of 2015)- Pressures, Priorities and Strategies for Managing Tree Collections Across Budget Restraints

Sarah Leach Smith presents about her thesis research

Sarah Leach Smith presents about her thesis research

In addition to presenting and learning from the engaging sessions, Fellows explored the Twin City metro area on tours and took in the beauty of both the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in the evening.

The stunning Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is celebrating 100 years in 2015. She's looking pretty good!

The stunning Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is celebrating 100 years in 2015. She’s looking pretty good!

Ford W. Bell, former president of the American Alliance of Museums, energized attendees with his opening speech about the importance of advocacy work. Later in the week, Andrew Zimmern, TV personality, chef, and food writer, showed his appreciation for the work of gardens and arboreta in educating the public on key environmental issues. The acclaimed Dr. Peter H. Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis, concluded the conference with an inspiring conservation message, leaving each of the conference participants energized to return to their home institutions.

Dr. Raven discusses conservation and biodiversity at public gardens

Dr. Raven discusses conservation and biodiversity at public gardens

Thank you to our hosts and to the planning committee for putting together another fantastic conference!

The Classes of 2015 and 2016 were together for a final time before welcoming the Class of 2017!

The Classes of 2015 and 2016 were together for a final time before welcoming the Class of 2017!

A Beautiful Ending in Western Massachusetts

Landscape architect Fletcher Steele’s designs at the Mission House and Naumkeag were the focus of the final morning of the Fellows’ North American Experience in Massachusetts. Fellows met Mark Wilson, Curator of Collections & West Region Cultural Resources Specialist, and Eric Ruquist, Horticulturist, at the Mission House in Stockbridge. This historic house dates to 1742 and was originally the home of the first missionary to the Mohican Indians.

The Mission House with summer blooming perennials

The Mission House with summer blooming perennials

Mabel Choate, the daughter of Joseph Choate, a leading 19th century attorney, was a preservationist in the 1920s and acquired the Mission House in order to preserve it and its historical significance. The Colonial Revival gardens surrounding the house were among the first projects she and Steele collaborated on and provided a way for Steele to demonstrate his prowess at landscape design.

After this brief introduction to Choate and Steele, the Fellows went up the hill to Naumkeag, the former country estate of Mabel Choate and her family.

The setting could not have been more idyllic: morning at a Gilded Age estate surrounded by the rolling Berkshires and imaginatively designed gardens. Choate and Steele redesigned the gardens at Naumkeag over the course of 30 years and they are in the final stages of being restored to their original glory.

Looking up at Naumkeag from the Tree Peony Terrace

Looking up at Naumkeag from the Tree Peony Terrace

The Blue Steps flanked by birch trees

The Blue Steps flanked by birch trees

Wilson began our tour at the famous Blue Steps, which were in the first of the five restoration phases. The original brilliant blue paint color of the alcoves was discovered on a piece of concrete tucked away in the recesses of one of Mabel’s desks and has now been restored. Walking up the Blue Steps, we arrived at the reason the Choates purchased the property in 1884: a regal swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) gracing the hillside and providing a perfect picnicking location.

Fellows all in a row under the amazing swamp white oak

Fellows all in a row under the amazing swamp white oak

The favorite picnicking spot of the Choates

The favorite picnicking spot of the Choates

From the Afternoon Garden and its gondola poles to the intricacies of the house itself, the views and artistry involved were spectacular and made it difficult for the Fellows to pull themselves away for their final stop.

Floodplain forest restoration: silver maple saplings stand above grasses

Floodplain forest restoration: silver maple saplings stand above grasses

Bartholomew’s Cobble, a National Natural Landmark in Sheffield, was the perfect ending for the trip. Julie Richburg, West Region Ecologist, met the Fellows and guided them on a relaxing hike through the cobbles and to the floodplain forest. Ten acres were recently restored from fields to floodplain forest, utilizing saplings from similar areas on site to retain genetic diversity. Julie discussed the challenges of managing non-native invasive plant species and erosion, and pointed out several significant species, including a large American elm (Ulmus americana), a massive cottonwood tree (Populus deltoides), and Gray’s sedge (Carex grayi), a threatened plant species.

Exploring Bartholomew's Cobble, bedrock outcroppings formed as a result of the Taconic and Berkshire mountains

Exploring Bartholomew’s Cobble; bedrock outcroppings formed as a result of the Taconic and Berkshire mountains forming

How many Fellows can fit around a cottonwood tree?

How many Fellows can fit around a cottonwood tree?

The Fellows would like to thank all of our wonderful hosts at the various Reservations, The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cindy Brockway, Program Director, Cultural Resources, for helping coordinate the trip, and our chaperones, Longwood Graduate Program Interim Director Dr. Brian Trader and Longwood Gardens Archivist, Judy Stevenson.

Congratulations, Class of 2015!

 

Graduates in full regalia with Interim Director Dr. Brian Trader

Graduates in full regalia with Interim Director Dr. Brian Trader                                                photo credit: Felicia Chua

by Sarah Leach Smith

It’s all still so clear in my mind: getting the invitation to interview period, practicing my 5-minute presentation every day for a month, and the excitement and fear when coming face-to-face with the other candidates. I remember Kevin’s cool plant website, Sara’s compelling herbarium presentation, Felicia’s beautiful photos from Gardens by the Bay, Gary’s charming accent and enthusiasm for conservation, and Bryan’s passion for education. When my parents asked how it went as they picked me up from the airport, the only thing that popped into my head was, “The other candidates were really really good…”

I still have the voicemail saved on my phone. Yes, it went to voicemail… I sat by the phone all day and chided my husband whenever he called to check in. “I thought you would be Dr. Lyons! Stop calling!” Of course, when Dr. Lyons actually did call, I missed it. I actually think it was a blessing though; I was such a mess of excitement and happiness, I think I needed a little time to get myself together. I called Dr. Lyons back, accepted the Fellowship, and the rest is history.

I could never have imagined that I would learn as much as I have, have the experiences that I had, travel to the places I went, or make such fulfilling and quality relationships with my classmates. Together, we helped Tyler Arboretum move forward with the preservation and interpretation of their Painter Plant Collection, worked with Wyck Historic House, Garden, and Farm to redesign their garden borders, interpret their historic rose garden, and implement a plant database. We traveled all over New Zealand, visiting gardens, learning Kiwi slang, and tasting lamb, L&P, Speight’s beer, and hokey pokey ice cream. We experienced Northern California and all that it had to offer, including Mendocino Coast Botanic Garden, Muir Woods, Filoli, and Monterey Bay Aquarium, stopping briefly for an olive oil and vinegar taste test in a local shop. We took Museum Studies classes with the lovable Kasey Grier and learned about Plant Collections with Dr. Frett. We were embraced by Longwood Gardens and invited to board meetings and visiting committee presentations to learn and experience as much as possible.

Class of 2015 in New Zealand on their International Experience

Class of 2015 in New Zealand on their International Experience

With graduation officially behind us, it’s hard to believe that it’s all over. I know that the our time in the Longwood Graduate Program is something that we will all carry with us, no matter where we go. I am so proud to be associated with my classmates and look forward to what the future has in store for each one of us. Congratulations, class of 2015! We did it!

Class of 2015 with the scenic Meadow Garden in the background

Class of 2015 with the scenic Meadow Garden in the background

Membership and Development in Sunny California

Professional development is a key aspect of the Longwood Graduate Program, and four Fellows, Mackenzie Fochs, Stephanie Kuniholm, Sarah Leach Smith, and Kevin Philip Williams, attended the American Public Gardens Association’s inaugural Membership and Development Symposium at the end of February.

The Fellows at Sherman Library & Gardens

The Fellows at Sherman Library & Gardens

Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona Del Mar, California hosted the beginning of the Symposium in their Central Patio room, a beautiful space with cathedral ceilings, exposed wood beams, and a cozy fireplace for the evening. The Symposium opened with a presentation on results from a benchmarking survey for philanthropy at public gardens, and the event continued to provide relevant information about how gardens of different sizes tackle recruiting members, soliciting donations, and cultivating relationships with garden supporters.

The gardens at Sherman made the Fellows completely forget the weather they had left behind in Delaware: the succulent garden called to mind the ocean with its use of pattern and strategically placed shells, and the variety of thriving palms, begonias, bromeliads, orchids, and ferns made it feel like paradise.

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San Diego Botanic Garden hosted participants on Thursday afternoon and evening, providing time to explore their 37 acres. A favorite of the Fellows’ was the Subtropical Fruit Garden, where a gardener shared his wealth of knowledge about the citrus fruits and the bounty the trees had produced.

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Stephanie shows off the bounty of lemons and kumquats at San Diego Botanic Garden

The final morning of the Symposium, the Fellows had an early start for a tour of Disneyland before the gates opened to visitors. Adam Schwerner, Director of Horticulture & Resort Enhancement, and his team guided groups through the park and discussed the differences and challenges of horticulture at a place like Disneyland versus a typical botanical garden.

Early morning at Disneyland

Early morning at Disneyland

To conclude the Symposium, participants came together for a final session about putting personal touches on donor relations, brainstorming what was learned over the past few days, and topics for future events.

On the last full day of their trip, the Fellows rented a car and headed to two highly anticipated gardens: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens and Descanso Gardens. The Desert Garden at The Huntington was absolutely stunning and it was hard for the Fellows to pull themselves away for lunch. The promise of In ‘N Out Burger proved to be motivation enough and after refueling, they headed to Descanso Gardens. Lucky for the Fellows, the Camellia Festival was happening!  To wander the garden paths and see large camellia bushes blooming beneath the canopy of oak trees in Februrary was a delight.

Kevin, perfectly at home in The Huntington's gardens

Kevin, perfectly at home in The Huntington’s gardens

The spectacular Desert Garden at The Huntington

The spectacular Desert Garden at The Huntington

Camellias as far as the eye can see at Descanso Gardens

Camellias as far as the eye can see at Descanso Gardens

Special thanks to Sherman Library and Gardens and San Diego Botanic Gardens for hosting and the American Public Gardens Association for helping coordinate the Symposium as well as Cristeen Martinez and Somer Sherwood-White at Descanso Gardens.

 

To Preserve or Change: Redefining Heritage to Guide the Future– This Week!

lgp symp web banner high resMarch is here, which means the LGP Symposium is right around the corner! While we make our final preparations and cross our fingers for good weather, we wanted to share a few updates from the Symposium team:

Symposium Webcast

We hope you will be able to join us in person for the Symposium, but if you can’t make the trip to Kennett Square, be sure to attend the Symposium webcast. We will be live-streaming the Symposium online at no cost. The webcast chat feature will allow you to type in questions for a Grad Fellow to ask during Q and A sessions. Visit our online registration page more information or to register. We hope to (virtually) see you there!

Emerging Professionals Travel Award

This year, for the first time ever, we offered a Travel Award to emerging professionals in the field of horticulture. We were blown away by the enthusiastic response we received from applicants as well as sponsors. A huge ‘thank-you’ to our sponsors:

 Adkins Arboretum
The Chanticleer Foundation
Lark Label
Mt. Cuba Center
Former and Current Longwood Graduate Fellows 

Also, a huge ‘congratulations’ to our Travel Award winners:

Adi Bar-Yoseph, Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
Amanda Plante, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Andrew Sell, University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
Ben Stormes, Cornell University and Cornell Plantations
Chantal Ludder, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Doug Schuster, Kingwood Center
Emily Detrick, Cornell University
Jordan Wood, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Kate Nowell, University of Washington
Maddie Paule, Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens
Tracy Qiu, Niagara Parks School of Horticulture  

If you’re planning to attend the Symposium, make sure you introduce yourself to these talented young professionals. Hope to see you on Friday for the Symposium!

Counting Down to the 2015 LGP Symposium

by Bryan Thompsonowak

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In 25 days, Longwood Gardens will be hosting the Longwood Graduate Program Symposium, To Preserve or Change: Redefining Heritage to Guide the Future. Inspired by the New Heights: Fountain Revitalization Project and the legacy of Pierre S. duPont, the Fellows have organized an exciting day of speakers, a redesigned format, and a new exhibit featuring objects of historical significance from local institutions. Additionally, we will support emerging professionals from around the world by providing competitive travel grants funded by former LGP Fellows.

This year, a wide variety of speakers will represent some of America’s most prestigious and oldest institutions with a wealth of talent and experience. To maximize our time with them, we have introduced a few new presentation opportunities. There will be in-depth presentations, engaging short talks, an interactive panel discussion, and generous break times to allow attendees to mingle with speakers and colleagues.

Please join us March 6th in the Longwood Gardens Ballroom. For more information or to register, please visit the 2015 Longwood Graduate Program Symposium site.