North American Experience Trip – Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and Muir Woods

The first year Longwood Graduate Fellows commenced our garden adventures at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Fort Bragg, California. Mary Anne Payne, Executive Director and Jim Bailey, Head Gardener of the garden, greeted us at the entrance of the garden on a cool morning.

Mendocino Coastal Botanical Gardens entrance sign

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens entrance sign

Ernest and Betty Sohoefer, who had deep passions in gardening and a special interest in Rhododendron species, started Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (MCBG) in the 1960s. MCBG has a garden area of 47 acres, framed by the grand coastal ocean and currently has over 1,200 cultivars and species of Rhododendrons. The diversity of plant varieties in the garden attracts and supports the highest concentration of birds to its premises. MCBG held a strong community support, attracting about 350 volunteers, on top of its 11 full time and 11 part time staff. Due to the natural high water table present in the land, MCBG joined partnership with the Water Coastal Conservancy to preserve and better utilize the existing available water.

Mendocino Coastal Botanic Gardens heath and heather collection

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens heath and heather collection

MCBG attracts about 17,000 visitors annually, and generates its revenues through general admission, gift shop, retail nursery, café and fund-raising events such as ‘Art in the Gardens’. MCBG manages its own vegetable garden and orchard within its premises and 80% of its produces are given to the local food bank while the remaining 20% are given to its in-house ‘Rhody’s Garden Café’. The management utilized the vegetable garden and orchard to educate the public through educational tours and interpretative signage.

Mendocino Coastal Botanical Gardens coastline panorama

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens coastline panorama

Art and bench sculptures are displayed throughout the gardens. Mary Payne explained that each art and bench sculptures were for sale and that the profits will be spilt between the artist and MCBG. Jim led us towards their composting backyard and told us an interesting story about how they used the spare hops and grains by the brewery restaurant in their compost. He explained that the hops are able to heat up to about 140oF, sanitizing and killing all bacteria and insects within the compost.

Muir Woods entrance After lunch, we made our way down south towards Muir Woods National Monument, where it houses the world’s largest giant coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Local businessman William Kent and his wife Elizabeth Thacher Kent established Muir Woods in 1905 to protect the one of the last standing redwoods. We took a hike through the Muir Woods trails and one felt like we were in the ‘Twilight’ movie. The golden rays of the sun beamed and streamed through the majestic redwood forest like a flowing waterfall, reflecting and surrounding its warmth around us. Along the trail, we spotted a few of the legendary ‘banana slug’ – a greenish and slimy slug that survived in the undergrowth of the forest. Myth has it that one may make a wish after kissing the slug and a few brave female ‘warriors’ decided to make myth come true by bestowing their precious lips upon the innocent slugs.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

Banana slug wishes

Banana slug wishes

The trips to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and Muir Woods have opened our eyes to further appreciate nature and extend our networking in California. We look forward with great anticipation and excitement towards the rest of the trip!

Blog by Felicia Chua and photos by Kevin Williams

Electronics Recycling Day Spring 2014

As part of our Environmental Impact initiatives, The Longwood Graduate Program Fellows hold a biannual Electronics Recycling Day to assist our peers in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware in the proper disposal of their e-waste. photo 2-1

Thoughts of spring-cleaning must have been running through the collective campus-mind because over 200 unique items were brought in for recycling during the course of the three-hour event. Older model printers and obsolete computer towers continued to be the most donated items, while we saw a sharp decline in the number of CRT television sets.

photo 4

As an added incentive, The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens donated heirloom tomato seedlings to be distributed to all Electronics Recycling Day participants.

photo 1

All electronic equipment was brought to the UD recycling center, with the exception of cellular phones, which were donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Donate A Phone program.

Second year Fellow board experience

Every year, second year Fellows in the Longwood Graduate Program are appointed as non-voting members to local non-profit boards. This year, I am excited to serve on the board of Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids.

 

Shortl 1st harv-no faces-cropped

Child harvesting radishes

Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids (HFHK) is a non-profit organization based in Hockessin, DE. HFHK partners with Delaware schools to start vegetable gardening programs that are fully integrated into the science curriculum. HFHK helps to establish the school program over 2-3 semesters and then gradually transfers the responsibility of the program to the school. HFHK currently assists 21 schools in northern Delaware and works with approximately 8,000 students.

As part of the program, students experience all aspects of vegetable growing, from seed to harvest to table. Different grades take on different responsibilities in the gardens that support their studies or curriculum. The gardens are strategically planted so that they provide provide learning opportunities and food during the spring and fall seasons but require no care during the summer months when schools are not in session.

Serving on the board of HFHK is a wonderful learning experience. The organization is well established but still quite small. The board meets on a monthly basis.  It is actively working to recruit new board members as it looks to the future and to ensuring its longevity.

spinach

Spinach

Having worked at a fledgling non-profit in the past and then having seen the board of an older organization like Longwood Gardens, working with a board somewhere in the middle is invaluable to my development as a public horticulture professional. I am honored and delighted to have the opportunity to work with Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids.

 

Quick Trip to Ithaca

Blog by Joshua Darfler, photography by Sara Helm Wallace and Lindsey Kerr

Several months ago I was talking to my mom on the phone and mentioned the documentary “A Man Named Pearl“.

DSC_0036

Pearl Fryar- a great man.

For those who are not familiar with it, you should go watch it right now! It is a fantastic documentary produced in 2005 about Pearl Fryar – founder, creator, and artist behind the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden. This independent film explores the history and motivation of Pearl, the dire (but optimistic) economic conditions of Bishopville, SC – where the garden is located – and the truly moving message behind the garden. It is an award-winning film that can be enjoyed by all, even those who are not obsessed with Public Horticulture as we are here.

I tried to explain all of this to my mom, and eventually got her to hesitantly agree to watch it. After a few more prods, I got a text saying she had rented the DVD and her and my dad would watch it that night. I got another text and a phone call later that evening from both of them saying how the good the movie was, how motivational Pearl was, and how they now really wanted to show it at the local library as part of their movie series.

Lindsey Kerr and Pearl

Pearl and Lindsey at the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden

There then ensued many more emails, texts, and phone calls, and a program started to come together surrounding the showing of this movie at the Lansing Community Library in Lansing, NY (my hometown). The highlight of the program though, was to be a special speaker – the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden’s Communications Director, Lindsey Kerr. Yes that Lindsey Kerr, the Lindsey Kerr who is currently a second year fellow in the Longwood Graduate Program. Not only is she busy writing a thesis to help preserve historic cultivars of plants, serving on the University of Delaware’s Graduate Student Senate, Leader of the Speakers Team for the 2014 LGP Symposium, and volunteering at various gardens around the area, but she has also been continuing her job at the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden.

IMG_2652

Lindsey Kerr speaks about the Pearl Fryar garden in Bishopville, SC

So on Friday, February 21, Lindsey and her cheering squad (five other members of the LGP, including myself) all piled into a car and took a fun trip up to Lansing, NY (a few miles north of Ithaca, NY)! We arrived Friday evening and were able to meet up with some Fellows from the Cornell University Professional Garden Leadership Program, as well as other former Longwood interns who are now up at Cornell University continuing their studies, for dinner in downtown Ithaca.

IMG_2673

We were so happy to see Dr. Don Rakow, former Director of Cornell Plantations after Lindsey’s talk. Dr. Rakow is now a full-time Associate Professor at Cornell and oversees the Cornell’s Public Garden Leadership program.

The next morning we went to the Lansing Town Hall (the audience was too big to fit in the library) to help set up for the event. The afternoon started at 11:00 with a showing of the documentary, and was then followed by Lindsey’s presentation and a Q&A session. Lindsey did an incredible job providing more insight into what it is like to work with Pearl Fryar as well as in Bishopville, SC. Since it’s been almost eight years since the filming of the documentary, Lindsey also talked about how the garden has changed over the years, and what is being done to help ensure the continued existence of Pearl’s topiary art in the future.

A sizable turnout at the Lansing Town Hall

A sizable turnout at the Lansing Town Hall

Once the audience left, the chairs were stacked, and all the A/V equipment put away, we had the rest of the afternoon to explore Ithaca. We headed down to the commons, a pedestrian mall located in the heart of Ithaca, where we enjoyed both the outdoors, with its almost spring-like weather, and the numerous indoor shops the commons has to offer. The day ended with a fantastic dinner at Moosewood Restaurant, a famous vegetarian restaurant.

IMG_0719

Ithacopoly on a wall in Ithaca’s Commons

IMG_0717

The Salix were in full bud by Cayuga Lake, one of New York’s famous Finger Lakes

The next morning we packed up our gear, got back in the van and headed back down to Newark, DE. It was a great weekend, and wonderful weather…which seems to have quickly disappeared this week….

 

Meet our final two speakers!

We are only a few days away from our 2014 Annual Symposium From Tie-Dye to Wi-Fi: Envisioning the Next Generation of Leadership in Public Horticulture. To build on the excitement, here are the descriptions for two of our esteemed speakers, Dr. Judy Mohraz and Dr. Casey Sclar.

Dr. Judy Mohraz

Judy-Jolley-Mohraz-sm

Dr. Judy Mohraz

Dr. Judy Mohraz is a Trustee and the President/CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, a private foundation in Arizona. Focused on health, education, children, arts and culture, older adults and religious organizations, the Trust invested over $22 million in Greater Phoenix the past year. Previously Dr. Mohraz served as president of Goucher College in Baltimore. She was a presidential appointee to the Board of Visitors of the United States Naval Academy, co-chairing a special committee to review the Academy. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Masters in History from Baylor University and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the Symposium, Dr. Mohraz will talk about the process of becoming a leader in 21st century cultural organizations.

 

Dr. Casey Sclar

CSclar headshot 2

Dr. Casey Sclar

Appointed in 2012, Dr. Casey Sclar is the Executive Director of the American Public Gardens Association. He and his team support over 520 gardens and their 6000+ allied members located throughout America and in 14 other countries. Collectively these gardens reach over over 70 million people per year and help to realize APGA’s vision – “A world where public gardens are indispensable”. Just prior to APGA, he served 15 years at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA as the Plant Health Care Leader – directing the Soils and Compost, IPM, Land Stewardship, and other sustainability programs. Dr. Sclar holds a B.S. degree in horticulture from California Polytechnic State University, S.L.O., as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from Colorado State University. In 2011, he received the APGA’s Professional Citation Award for outstanding achievements in public horticulture. Dr. Sclar will address some of the questions and issues with regards to identifying the future leaders in public horticulture.

Once again, if you are unable to attend the Longwood Graduate Symposium in person, you can view the free webcast. We will also be taking the conversation online via Twitter, so be sure to follow us @Longwoodgrad and use #LGPSymp to join the conversation. We hope to see you all at the Symposium!

 

Meet Two More of the 2014 Symposium Speakers!

By this time next week, the Fellows will be preparing for the arrival of our six Symposium speakers. We can hardly wait! Don’t forget that the deadline for registration is Monday, March 3rd. In the meantime, several of our speakers have put together a list of suggested readings to help get you thinking about the topic of the day – leadership!

Today we are highlighting two more of our speakers, Teniqua Broughton and morning keynote Alpesh Bhatt.

 

Speaker Highlight: Teniqua Broughton

Teniqua-Broughton_final

Teniqua Broughton

Several current fellows had the pleasure of meeting Teniqua Broughton at the 2013 APGA Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. As a six-year Trustee of the Desert Botanical Garden, Ms. Broughton has played a vital role in developing young professionals for board positions through the founding of Desert Botanical Garden’s Monarch Society and Council. She is also the founder of VerveSimone Consulting Firm, which works with clients to provide leadership, governance and administrative advice for their respective organizations. At the Symposium, she will address her experience with the Monarch Society and Council and provide ways to attract and engage younger, emerging professionals as potential new board members.

 

Keynote Speaker Highlight: Alpesh Bhatt

al-bhatt-GS

Alpesh Bhatt

Alpesh Bhatt comes to us from the Center for Leadership Studies (CLS) in New Jersey where he is Principal and Managing Partner. His firm partners with a variety of clients to develop leaders within their organization, and he spends most of his time “on the ground,” supporting executives one-on-one in understanding and mastering the challenges of leading “business breakthroughs.” He is also on the faculty of the Graduate Psychology Department at the University of New Haven. Mr. Bhatt has published a short book, The Triple-Soy Decaf-Latte Era, which has been called a “mini MBA for the 21st Century.”  At the Symposium, he will speak about creating a lasting, positive change in an organization.

We hope you can make it! If you are unable to attend the Longwood Graduate Symposium in person, you can view the free webcast (more information to follow). We will also be taking the conversation online via Twitter, so be sure to follow us @Longwoodgrad and use #LGPSymp to join the conversation.  Stay tuned for our final speaker highlights, coming to the blog next week!

2014 Symposium Speakers Highlight

The winter of 2014 has been hard here in Delaware. We’ve had over a foot of snow at times. Classes at the University have been cancelled more than once. Nevertheless, the Longwood Graduate Program is hard at work preparing for our Annual Symposium! We are counting down the days and cannot be more excited about this year’s event.

On March 7, 2014, all of our months of planning and preparation will come together in a day of engaging lectures, discussions, and networking, focused on the theme of  creative leadership and succession planning within public horticulture institutions. Leadership and planning for the future are always in the minds of public horticulture professionals, but it is becoming a more pressing issue as the baby boomer generation prepares to retire from the workforce. We hope that this Symposium will inspire organizations to cultivate leadership within their own staff and, at the same time, create dialogue on how public gardens and other cultural institutions can continue to proactively think and plan for their futures.

In order to bring fresh ideas to our field of public horticulture, we chose six speakers with diverse experiences and a wide range of expertise. We are delighted to welcome Michael Hostetler (Cornell University), Dr. Judy Jolley Mohraz (Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust), Teniqua Broughton (VerveSimone Consulting Firm), Dr. Casey Sclar (American Public Gardens Association) and our two keynote speakers, Alpesh Bhatt (The Center for Leadership Studies) and Lynden Miller (Public Garden Design).

 

Speaker Highlight: Michael Hostetler

Mike Hostetler, Cornell University

Traveling from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Michael Hostetler will explore in his presentation the meaning of leadership in the context of public horticulture. Second year fellows met Mr. Hostetler in the fall of 2012 when we visited Cornell Plantations. We so enjoyed the workshop that he conducted for us that we are thrilled to welcome him to our Symposium.

Michael Hostetler is a faculty member of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Mr. Hostetler’s main research and teaching interests are in strategy, decision-making, leadership, high performance teams, and change management. Mr. Hostetler is also the author of on-line courses in strategic thinking, scenario planning, leadership and team effectiveness for eCornell, Cornell’s distance learning subsidiary. Prior to joining Cornell University, Mr.  Hostetler was assistant dean for executive education at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University. His prior experience also includes positions with St. Mary’s Medical Center, the University of Tennessee, and the Office of the Governor of Kentucky. He is generously sponsored by Chanticleer.

 

Keynote Speaker Highlight: Lynden Miller.

Lynden Miller, Public Garden Design

We are so privileged to have Lynden Miller as this year’s Parvis Family Endowment Keynote Speaker. Ms. Miller is a public garden designer in New York City and the Director of The Conservatory Garden in Central Park, which she rescued and restored beginning in l982. Based on her belief that good public open spaces can change city life, she has designed many other gardens and parks in all five boroughs since that time. She is on the Board of Trustees of the Central Park Conservancy, New Yorkers for Parks and the New York Botanical Garden and teaches about public space and horticulture at New York University and Columbia University. She is the author of Parks, Plants and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape, published by Norton in 2009.  The book was the winner of American Horticultural Society 2010 National Book Award. She will be speaking about inspiring people with a passion for plants to make their careers in urban horticulture.

For those of you who can’t make it out to Longwood Gardens, you have the option to participate via our webcast (more information to follow). You can also participate by tweeting with us throughout the day on Twitter or TweetChat. Use #LGPSymp to join the conversation.

With the deadline for registration coming up on the 3rd of March, we hope that you have already registered for the Longwood Graduate Program Annual Symposium.  To learn more or to register, please visit our website.

Three Weeks Away! Counting Down for (Y)our Symposium!

Because of you and your institution, they can lead.

Because of you and your institution, they can lead.

The classes of 2014 and 2015 are proud to bring you a one-day symposium that focuses on leadership in public gardens. From topic selection, original graphic design, and clever marketing, to working with individuals, organizations, and businesses to raise funds to help defray the costs of the symposium. It will be a day for you- for networking with others in your field, for reinforcing what you know, for gaining stronger knowledge about a topic, and for giving you new ideas to teach to others when you return to your workforce. In addition, the graduate students have researched and selected an inspiring group of speakers. Each one is very different, speaking from his or her own expert view on the topic of leadership and how it pertains to you at your garden or arboretum.

Photo Jan 16, 5 16 05 PM

A leader can be carved from any stone.

To learn more about the exciting line-up of speakers, stay tuned to this blog in the coming weeks, where we will be posting the speaker bios and their talk descriptions. You can also check out our Facebook page, and register here for the event.

(Y)our Symposium is only three weeks away (Friday, March 7th), and is being held in Longwood Gardens’ beautiful ballroom, with a scrumptious lunch included and served on the Patio of Oranges during Longwood’s Orchid Extravaganza. If you’re coming from far away, you have until February 21 to get the discounted rate on a hotel room from Hilton Garden Inn, just down the road. We look forward to seeing you!

IMG_2390Different leaders grow on different soils.IMG_1600

Different leaders grow from different soils.

Posted by Sara Helm Wallace, 2014 LGP Symposium Guest Relations Committee Chair

New Zealand: A Culinary Journey

These days, the First-Years are bundling up and getting ready for the spring semester. Fending off the jetlag and remembering to drive on the right side of the road in the US has been challenging at times, but we have our recent Kiwi memories to keep us company. This blog post takes a bit of a departure than posts of the past in that we reflect not on plants and gardens, but rather on FOOD.  It is in absolutely no particular order that I present to you our most memorable New Zealand food experiences.

IMG_2333

Pavlova at the Novotel Hotel, Wellington.

  1. Pavlova: The national dessert of New Zealand. Given its prestigious title, it was extremely hard to find on a restaurant menu. I was determined to try it, and we managed to find it at two places. Although I was not blown away with these examples of pavlova, I still feel sufficiently inexperienced to pass judgement. I am willing to try additional pavlovas for research purposes and will welcome any opportunity to return to do so!

    IMG_2220

    A delicious, golden kiwifruit!

  2. Kiwifruit: Don’t simply call it “kiwi” because you’d be referring to the bird! In New Zealand, the fuzzy brown fruits with green interiors are called kiwifruits. We also discovered a new treasure: the golden kiwifruit! Similar in size to the green variety, golden kiwifruits are nearly hairless, with a thinner skin and a golden interior. We found them at local produce stands and they were delicious.

    IMG_2332

    Beer-battered chips, served with aioli and sweet ketchup.

  3. Fish & Chips (emphasis on the CHIPS!): Britain may have created New Zealand’s founding document, but their influence doesn’t stop there. Beer battered and deep-fried fish is a staple at most restaurants, served with a delicious tartare sauce unlike that which we’re used to in the States.  However, the chips are the real stars in this duo and I beg you, if you are ever in New Zealand, order beer-battered chips. At every restaurant, they were consistently amazing. You won’t regret it!

    IMG_2143

    I simply could not stay away from the savory meat pies… walking past a storefront in Auckland.

  4. Meat Pies: Delicious, warm, savory, and palm-sized, the ubiquitous meat pies are the New Zealander’s perfect portable lunch. Every restaurant has its own version – even McDonald’s. Steak, lamb, minced beef (aka ground beef), and roasted vegetables are just some of the possible fillings.
  5. Lamb: In order to embrace the New Zealand food culture, I tried lamb several times. It has a unique flavor but tended to be tougher than I would have liked. On one of the last days of the trip, I was pleasantly surprised with the best lamb dish of the entire trip and possibly the best meal, period. I ordered the lamb steak at The Curator’s House in Christchurch, which was served with Israeli couscous and lemon crème.  Superb!

    IMG_2431

    Speight’s Ale House, Dunedin.

  6. Speight’s: Dunedin, on the South Island of New Zealand, was a standout in the dining category. One of our dinners was at Speight’s, where we enjoyed Dunedin’s own craft-brewed beers. Full disclosure… I am less of a beer fan and more of a cider fan, but I am in good company with Dr. Lyons, and Speight’s had an excellent apple cider. I hear the ales were just as good!
  7. Dinner at Larnach Castle: Although the food was delicious, this line item was truly all about the experience: beautiful dining room with an elegantly dressed dinner table, candlesticks and more utensils than we knew what to do with. Our 3-course meal culminated with tantalizing tale about the family of Larnach, complete with allusions of ghosts Hands down, one of the most fun dinners we had in New Zealand.

    IMG_2283

    Green-lipped mussels at Gusto Restaurant in New Plymouth. Delicious!

  8. Green-lipped Mussels: These vividly green shellfish are well known in New Zealand. They are delicious, which I discovered while dining at Gusto in New Plymouth. However, they are also apparently known for their additional curative benefits, including arthritis and asthma relief.

    IMG_2131

    Gary Shanks and Kevin Williams testing the L&P in Auckland.

  9. L & P: L & P, short for Lemon & Paeroa, is a uniquely New Zealand soda best described as a carbonated, lemony drink that tasted like carbonated lemon Nestea. It’s also a common mixer at New Zealand bars and infused into white chocolate for a creamy, lemony candy treat. (I speak from experience on the L & P chocolate.)

    IMG_2445

    Hokey Pokey and licorice ice cream cones in Oamaru.

  10. Hokey Pokey Ice Cream: One of my favorite discoveries! I am usually not a big ice cream person, but this creamy vanilla ice cream with crunchy honeycomb candy pieces was delightful.  After several scoops, I was hooked. We also had some other exciting ice cream flavors on our trip, including licorice, Bailey’s, crunchy hazelnut chocolate, and plum!

Overall, the class of 2015 thoroughly enjoyed this exciting culinary adventure. Do you have any recommendations for delicious foods that we should try here in the US? Send them our way!

International Experience New Zealand Day 14: Akaroa: Taunton and Fisherman’s Bay

After driving through dry scenery with spectacular hills and the ever-present sheep farms, we arrived at the understated entrance of Taunton Gardens. We weren’t sure what to expect when we exited the van; all we could see was a well worn plant nursery area.

As soon as we passed under an archway of vines, however, we knew we had entered a special place. Barry Sligh came out of his 1852, rebuilt stone house to meet us and lead us through forest openings, around curves, and over bridges to show us his plant treasures.

P1100600  P1100505

He moved onto the property in the 1970’s, and within his first two years, he planted over 1000 trees. With no background in horticulture, he quickly learned how to care for many plants in a naturalistic setting, and in the nursery.

P1100510

Some of the more interesting plants were: an Auraucaria witch’s broom, a hosta that he developed for Prince Charles (after which Barry was invited to the Prince’s garden) and a variegated maple tree with red/pink on the undersides of the leaves. This unusual coloration created a stunning display in the sun’s rays.

P1100676  P1100671

 

Our final garden of our New Zealand trip was a lush oasis on a dry, windy cliff. Fisherman’s Bay Garden was created by Jill Simpson at her home nine years ago, but because New Zealand has no winter, the plants have grown in quickly. Jill is very conscious of her plantings since a nature preserve shares borders with her 100 hectares; she tries very hard to stick to natives and non-invasive plantings. Standing out among the many interesting hillside gardens, she has a myriad of hebes that vary in size, shape, and color. She attributes their vigor to the nearly frost-free climate and the salt carried by the wind.

P1100643

Whether driving, helicoptering, or boating in, it is a lovely experience to enjoy a cup of tea while overlooking the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

P1100639

Text by Sara Helm Wallace, photos by Bryan Thompsonowak