Category Archives: General

Native Plant Conservation and Design in the Lone Star State

by Keith Nevison

Deep in the heart of Texas I ventured for the American Public Gardens Association’s inaugural native plant symposium, which was held at the stunning Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (LBJWC) in Austin, Texas. The Center was founded by former First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson and her long-time friend Helen Hayes, the “First Lady of the American Theatre.” The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a must-see public garden featuring amazing stone buildings and walkways, spectacular native Texan floral displays, and innovative design features such an observation tower with a green roof and artwork featured throughout the garden.

The Luci and Ian Family Garden. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s newest garden addition opened last year.

The Luci and Ian Family Garden. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s newest garden addition opened last year.

On the first day of the conference, registrants were treated to a magnificent tour of the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve which features waterfalls, blooming Texas redbud and other drought-resistant trees, abundant songbirds, and fabulous fossil hunting across the underlying strata.

APGA Native Plant Symposium attendees receiving a comprehensive overview of the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve from local plant legend David Mahler of Environmental Survey Consulting

Local plant legend David Mahler of Environmental Survey Consulting provided a comprehensive overview of the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

The Texas Hill Country!

The Texas Hill Country

Participants also explored a private residential landscape exclusively featuring central Texas native species from the Edwards Plateau and Texas Hill Country. These areas are biodiversity hotspots with numerous endemic plant and animal species. The garden was exquisite with impressive design features such as a grotto, a creek wetland, and restored native wildflower meadows.

The theme of the 2015 symposium was Cultivating the Future of Native Plants: Conservation and Design. This was an apt theme as the conference roster was comprised of equal parts horticulturists and ecological restoration practitioners. Very interesting conversations were had on subjects such as native plants in design, the role of botanic gardens in plant conservation, creating the native plant market, and landscape design as ecological art. LBJWC has been a leader for years in these areas with their Native Plant Information Network and Sustainable SITES® Initiative partnership with the American Society of Landscape Architects and the United States Botanic Garden. In addition, they maintain partnerships with the Center for Plant Conservation and the Bureau of Land Management’s Seeds of Success Program which aims to collect wildland seeds for research, development, germplasm conservation, and ecosystem restoration. Clearly an active place with lots going on!

Homeowner’s Inspiration Gardens near the entrance to LDJWC.

Homeowner’s Inspiration Gardens near the entrance to LBJWC

Spring was in effect down in Austin and many species were blooming, including the iconic state flower, the Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis).

Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)- state flower and endemic to the Lone Star state.

Texas bluebonnet: state flower and endemic to the Lone Star state

The garden features many oak meadows with both live oaks and deciduous oaks as well as a rich understory of shrubs, forbs, and grasses.

Inviting meadows abound at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Inviting meadows abound at the LBJWC

Well-known landscape designer Darrel Morrison concluded the Symposium by speaking about his designs and inspiration, from the layout for LBJWC to his most recent design for Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Native Flora Garden. Perhaps the most enlightening thing I learned from him is that one should always camp out on the land prior to working on a project in order to get a feel for the land and to observe its features over the course of the day. Through this experience, one can determine the ideal placement for soft and hard garden elements.

The stonework and hardscape features of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are striking and plentiful. The gardens features many xeric species such as Opuntia, Nolina, Muhlenbergia, Cercis, Agave, etc. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a must-see if you ever find yourself in Central Texas!

Stonework and hardscape features are striking and plentiful at LBJWC

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!

The Longwood Graduate Program Class of 2017

Please join us in welcoming the future Fellows of The Longwood Graduate Program Class of 2017:

Alice EdgertonAlice Edgerton
Alice Edgerton considers her love for the outdoors and desire to help others connect to nature a family trait because she grew up in the family business: a summer camp on the edge of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Alice graduated from Earlham College with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology and completed a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems in 2011. She worked as a Project Coordinator at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for three years, as a Foreman for Philadelphia-based Graceful Gardens, and as a consultant for Bartram’s Garden. By bringing horticulture to new audiences, she believes we can grow
broad stewardship and advocacy for the environment.

Elizabeth BartonElizabeth Barton
Elizabeth Barton has a B.S. from the University of Delaware in Landscape Horticulture and Design with a minor in Wildlife Conservation and an M.S. in Plant Science from the University of Maryland. Her thesis, “A comparison of organic matter types for use on green roofs,” explores methods for improving green roof performance. While working at the Adkins Arboretum on the Eastern Shore in Maryland, she designed new plant sale signs. At the University of Maryland Arboretum, she designed and installed two native-focused garden areas with assistance from high school volunteers.

Grace ByrneGrace Byrne
Raised in America’s Garden Capital, Grace Byrne was fortunate to experience many of the great gardens of Philadelphia throughout her youth. Her degree in Landscape Architecture from the Pennsylvania State University is complemented with minors in Sustainability Leadership and Environmental Inquiries. She has also studied in Germany and the Galápagos Islands. Grace has completed internships at Mt. Cuba Center, Longwood Gardens, Disney World, and the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. She hopes her ambitious spirit and dedication to public horticulture will ultimately prepare her for a position in programming at public gardens.

Erin KinleyErin Kinley
Erin Kinley grew up on a farm in Nebraska, where she spent many years immersed in her family’s row-crop operation. In high school, she actively participated in plant ID and floriculture contests before discovering her passion for plants and deciding to pursue a degree in Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At UNL, Erin experienced many facets of horticulture, including plant biology, entrepreneurship, pollinator education, and vegetable production. She believes educating people about the importance of plants—from food to aesthetics—will be critical to solving the challenges facing our rapidly changing world.

Tracy QiuTracy Qiu
As a graduate of the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture, Tracy Qiu has academic and practical knowledge of the daily operations of a one hundred acre botanical garden. Her interest in ethnobotany led to an internship at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawai’i, where she observed Hawai’ian cultural plant use. These experiences coalesced in her action project: an exploration of public gardens engaging diverse audiences through programming and outreach. She believes cultural diversity is equally as important as biological diversity and that promoting cultural diversity in gardens can answer many of the environmental and social challenges we face today.

Farewell, Japan!

On our last morning in Japan we enjoyed a few hours of free time perusing bustling shops and tasting new food in Osaka. A few of us ventured out to the ever popular Dōtonbori shopping district which was busy, crowded, and full of life, even on a run-of-the-mill Friday morning. Dōtonbori is known as a historic theater area turned eccentric shopping district, and certainly lived up to its bustling reputation. In addition to satisfying all of our Hello Kitty purchasing needs, we were able to sample some takoyaki: battered and fried octopus, a famous street food in Japan.

Delicious takoyaki!

Delicious takoyaki!

Busy Dōtonbori district on Friday morning.

Busy Dōtonbori district on Friday morning.

After returning to the hotel, packing our bags, and buying one last matcha-latte, we were ready to say goodbye to the sleek, fast-paced, and endlessly beautiful country of Japan. Many hours, three flights, and one lost bag later we were home in snowy Pennsylvania. We’re happy to be home, and are even happier to have spent the past two weeks getting to know such an incredible country with an incredible history of horticulture!

Lovely view from the road as the Fellows travel to the airport.

Lovely view from the road as the Fellows travel to the airport.

International Experience 2015: Japan

The First Year Fellows are gearing up for their January 2015 International Experience trip to Japan!  After extensive research, the Fellows have put together a full itinerary for exploring Japanese horticulture and traditions in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.  A central theme for their study abroad is the Chrysanthemum, or Kiku, which has historically been an important part of Japanese culture.  The flower first arrived in Japan around the 8th century A.D. and was quickly adopted as the official seal of the emperor.  The popularity of this flower and its continued prominence in Japanese culture can be easily seen today in the country’s National Chrysanthemum Day, also referred to as the Festival of Happiness.

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Longwood Gardens also takes part in the festivities honoring this beautiful flower with its annual Chrysanthemum Festival and their cultivation of the Thousand Bloom Mum (pictured above for 2014, with over 1500 blooms).  In order to enhance both programming and the Chrysanthemum core collection at Longwood Gardens, the First Years will be exploring and documenting Japanese horticultural traditions and techniques not yet practiced at Longwood.  The Fellows will be departing from the United States on January 9th to begin their exciting two-week research expedition through Japan and will be providing frequent narratives of their journey through this blog.

Fire and Ice: A memorable trip to Cornell

View down to the Cornell Plantations Visitor Centre

View down to the Cornell Plantations Visitor Center

This year the Longwood Graduate Fellow trip to Cornell was quite eventful! After departing from the University of Delaware post-class and driving by night, we had hardly put our belongings down at our Ithacan hotel when the fire alarms sounded. We, along with a hundred other patrons, had to evacuate smoke-filled corridors into the parking lot just as a fresh snow began to fall. A few hours passed before we managed to book rooms at another hotel, and after a fitful night’s sleep, we began orientation and tours on the grounds of the beautiful, distinguished Cornell University.

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Waiting for the Ithaca FD to extinguish the flames. No one was hurt in the fire!

We were greeted in the morning by Dr. Donald Rakow and Graduate Fellows in the Cornell Public Garden Leadership program. Dr. Rakow, previous Director of Cornell Plantations and current Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture, was an exceptionally courteous host during our trip and we appreciated all the fun, informative activities that the Fellows had scheduled for us. We started the day with an engaging lecture entitled “Board Interactions and Leadership in the Non-Profit Sector” delivered by Joseph Grasso, Associate Dean for Finance, Administration, and Corporate Relations in the Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University. Mid-morning we were shuttled to the impressive School of Integrative Plant Science to attend a seminar by Dr. William Powell of State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) where we learned about the Ten Thousand Chestnut Challenge, a campaign to grow thousands of blight-resistant, genetically-modified American chestnut trees to “jumpstart the effort to restore the tree to its native range in North America.” The lecture was stimulating and a great example of the important work being done to promote biodiversity through advanced plant breeding techniques.

On our way to lunch we stopped by Cornell’s Kenneth Post Laboratory Greenhouses to learn about “Wee Stinky”, a titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) that has bloomed twice in the last three years (a rare feat considering their typical re-bloom cycle in cultivation is 7-10 years!). James Keach, PhD Candidate in Plant Breeding along with Paul Cooper, Cornell University’s Experimental Station Greenhouse Grower, presented us with some facts on the physiology and morphology of the corpse flower along with some other riveting (and smelly!) details.

James Keach, PhD student in Plant Breeding explains the physiology of the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum)

James Keach, PhD student in Plant Breeding, explains the physiology of the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum)

After a wonderful lunch at the Cornell Dairy Bar, we had a tour of the Ithaca Children’s Garden (ICG) with Executive Director Erin Marteal. The Fellows were able to burn off some excess energy while playing in the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone, one of the newest additions to the ICG. Erin gave us a comprehensive presentation on the benefits of playing in nature, including the ways in which students improve in confidence, empathy and cognition through taking leadership over their own play. Go ICG and Erin!

The Cornell/Longwood Graduate Program gang with Erin Marteal, Executive Director of the Ithaca Children's Garden

The Cornell/Longwood Graduate Program gang with Erin Marteal, Executive Director of the Ithaca Children’s Garden

Our next adventure was a driving tour through the F.R. Newman Arboretum at Cornell Plantations. We passed wonderful collections of crabapples, oaks, maples, and other trees on our way to a brief stop at the overlook where we snapped photos and posed for a group shot.

Just in time for sunset over the Finger Lakes region!

Just in time for sunset over the Finger Lakes region!

Our final presentation of the day was held at the Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC), where David Corson, Curator of the History of Science Collections, gave us an overview of the unique properties of early horticulture illustrative texts housed in the library’s collections. Also assisted by Magaret Nichols, RMC’s Head of Collection Management and Rare Materials Cataloguing Coordinator, we were able to take in breathtaking plates showcasing the fine talents of botanical artists while learning about the time-intensive processes required to produce such amazing works through lithography, woodcuts, hand coloring and other laborious techniques.

Magaret Nichols, Rare Materials Cataloging Coordinator (LTS) & Head of Collection Management (RMC) at Cornell University's Library with a fine book of lily prints.

Magaret Nichols, Rare Materials Cataloging Coordinator (LTS) &
Head of Collection Management (RMC) at Cornell’s Library with a fine book of lily prints.

The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya by Sir Joseph Hooker circa 1851

The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya by Sir Joseph Hooker circa 1851

The next day, some of the Longwood Graduate Fellows stayed around for a great trip to the partially frozen waterfalls of the Cascadilla Gorge. Guided by Ben Stormes and Emily Detrick, we learned about the efforts to shore up trails and enhance habitat in the gorge after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee submerged the landscape and eroded trails back in the fall of 2011. The falls were stunning this morning and a few of us were simply enchanted by the beautiful natural areas around Cornell and the City of Ithaca.

Frosty wonderland- the Cascadilla Gorge trail recently opened after 3 years of reinforcement

Frosty wonderland- the Cascadilla Gorge trail recently opened after 3 years of reinforcement

The Longwood Graduate Fellows would like to sincerely thank the Cornell Public Garden Leadership Fellows and Dr. Rakow for their wonderful hospitality during our stay. We are looking forward to next year when they visit us at Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware!

Thanks Cornell!

Thanks Cornell Fellows and Plantations staff!

2015 Symposium Emerging Professionals Travel Award

symposium graphic-print full date

The Longwood Graduate Program is excited to announce a new Emerging Professionals Travel Award to attend the 2015 Longwood Graduate Symposium. This day-long event features speakers, panel discussions, and conversations on a topic geared towards public garden and museum professionals.

This year’s Symposium, “To Preserve or Change: Redefining Heritage to Guide the Future,” will explore how institutions evolve while honoring their past. Emerging museum or garden professionals in the Philadelphia region and beyond, including students and interns, are encouraged to apply and join in this important dialogue.

Please follow the link to Download the Travel Award Application.
Visit the Symposium online for more information.
Thank you in advance for spreading the word!

Professional Outreach Project 2014: Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm

The Fellows are hard at work and well on the way to completing a successful Professional Outreach Project (POP) for 2014! Our 2014 POP project is at Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm located in Germantown in Philadelphia PA. Wyck has a rich Quaker history and was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1971. For 250 years Wyck was a working farm and this still continues today, with seasonal produce being sold at a weekly farmers market and at the many festivals that Wyck holds during the summer.

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One of the highlights at Wyck is the historic rose garden, which dates back to the 1820s and contains more than 50 varieties of antique roses. Many of these cultivars were thought to be lost to horticulture until they were rediscovered growing happily at Wyck. Three sides of the property, eac with their own perimeter beds, border the rose garden.  It is the task of the Longwood Graduate Fellows to redesign these beds so that they represent the look and feel of the mid 1820s, and serve as a backdrop, accentuating the rose garden.

Our first task was to visit the American Philosophical Society (APS) in Philadelphia as it holds many of the historical records from Wyck. We discovered plant lists from the 1800s, including many articles detailing flowering bulbs, various fruit trees, and herbs. All of our research helped to inform the new plant palette and design for the perimeter beds, which will be installed at the end of September.

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We will also be providing two benches, which will fit the Quaker style of the garden and house. These will be installed directly in the beds, and will serve as a great resting spot on a hot summers day.

We have recently completed writing a grant to the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust that included a request for funds for the repair of several of the historic wooden structures at Wyck. The wooden structures are currently being used to house tools and equipment. The grant would also be used for the purchase of new tools and equipment for Wyck. The grant was submitted in mid-August, with an expected decision being made by early December. Until then, we are all keeping our fingers crossed!

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Another component of the project is the development of display labels for the historic rose collection, as well as interpretive signage for the historic rose garden and the perimeter beds. We are working closely with Wyck staff and designers at Longwood Gardens to develop copy and layout for the signs.

Stay tuned to see how our final month progresses, and if you’re in the area, why not pay a visit to Wyck, and come smell the roses.

Bartram’s Garden: Reconnecting People, Plants, and Place

John Bartam was a Quaker farmer, passionate botanist, and life-long plant collector of the 1700s.  He traveled extensively, particularly around the southeastern United States, and brought back many plants to his 102-acre Philadelphia garden.  From there, Bartram propagated and sold these species to other avid plant collectors, especially those in Europe.  The garden was able to stay in this family of plant enthusiasts through three generations and is now being cared for by the John Bartram Association.

Standing at the Bartram's Garden entrance, Longwood fellows listen to curator Joel Fry, as he describes the development of the city of Philadelphia around the garden. (Left to right: Joel Fry, Andrea Brennan, Mackenzie Fochs, Keith Nevison, and Fran Jackson.)

Standing at the Bartram’s Garden entrance, Longwood fellows listen to curator Joel Fry, as he describes the development of the city of Philadelphia around the garden. (Left to right: Joel Fry, Andrea Brennan, Mackenzie Fochs, Keith Nevison, and Fran Jackson.)

On August 15th, the Class of 2016 was able to explore the remaining 45 acres of the historic Bartram’s Garden.  They were welcomed by executive director, Ms. Maitreyi Roy, and curator, Mr. Joel Fry, clearly talented individuals, both devoted to the garden.  Bartram’s Garden is composed of a diversity of landscapes: tidal wetland, meadow, water front, and urban farm.  It was first conceived that the garden would be surrounded by city housing, but the area actually became quite industrial, making Bartram’s Garden an oasis.

Unfortunately, Bartram’s Garden went through a period of mild neglect, but this was followed by a major revitalization effort in 2007 that still continues today.  Ms. Roy and Mr. Fry were excited to tell the Fellows about three new capital projects currently in process at Bartram’s Garden:  the Schuylkill River Trail expansion, the Carr Garden Restoration, and the John Bartram House restoration.  Bartram’s Garden is also now offering after-school programs to channel and engage neighborhood children with environmental stewardship.

Curator Joey Fry chronicles the history of the John Bartram House and the surrounding garden. (Left to right: Joel Fry, Mackenzie Fochs, Stephanie Kuniholm, Fran Jackson, and Keith Nevison.)

Curator Joey Fry chronicles the history of the John Bartram House and the surrounding garden. (Left to right: Joel Fry, Mackenzie Fochs, Stephanie Kuniholm, Fran Jackson, and Keith Nevison.)

Another major effort at Bartram’s Garden involves the Schuylkill River, which, given the two acres of waterfront, plays an important role at the site.  In the past though, the community has had understandably negative views of the river due to a history of pollution and crime.  However, Bartram’s Garden is working to change these perceptions, even creating a new staff position to address the issue.  River pollution is down considerably, aided by Bartram’s very successful and thriving tidal wetland.  Now the garden is working to reconnect the community to the river with engagement initiatives like the trail expansion and River Festival.

This tree is believed to be North America's oldest specimen of Ginkgo biloba.

This tree is believed to be North America’s oldest specimen of Ginkgo biloba.

After hearing about the fascinating history and numerous exciting community engagement efforts of Bartram’s Garden, the Class of 2016 had the opportunity to explore the site.  Mr. Fry led the tour and provided a wealth of information.  The fellows were able to see a wide variety of historical plants, including the 21 medicinal species described by John Bartram in 1751 and what is thought to be North America’s oldest specimen of Ginkgo biloba.  Also encountered were various species and variants of Magnolia, Rhododendron, Dahlia, and Zinnia, discovered and made available by John Bartram.

The Class of 2016 completed their tour of Bartram’s Garden with one of the most significant species of the garden: a blooming specimen of Franklinia alatamaha.

Bloom of the Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha)

Bloom of the Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha)

This tree is descended from the seeds of the original specimens discovered by John Bartram and his son, William, in southern Georgia in 1765.  Franklinia alatamaha is now extinct in the wild, but is still able to exist in cultivation today, thanks to the botanical passion of the Bartram family.

For more information on this fascinating family and garden, please visit: http://www.bartramsgarden.org/.