A Wonderful Conference at Scott Arboretum

On Friday, July 17, several of the Longwood Graduate Program Fellows and Longwood Gardens  Interns attended the Woody Plant Conference at The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. While Swarthmore College was founded in 1864, the arboretum was officially dedicated in 1929. The Fellows spent the day listening to several inspiring speakers and engaging with other professionals from the region, as well as enjoying the lovely sights of the arboretum.

Fellows and Interns alike loved the landscapes at Scott Arboretum

Fellows and Interns alike loved the landscapes at Scott Arboretum

After a welcome from Scott Arboretum Director Claire Sawyers, Rebecca McMackin of Brooklyn Bridge Park took the podium to share her experiences with helping create a biodiversity-focused public garden on reclaimed shipping piers in New York City. She was followed by Dr. David Creech of Stephen F. Austin Gardens in Texas, who spoke about the best woody plant selections available for our shifting climate. Longwood Gardens’ own Pandora Young then gave a wonderful presentation on trees and shrubs that not only look great in landscapes but can also provide us with delicious new foods.

IMG_1733

The Scott Arboretum planned an incredible conference, even down to the floral finishes

After lunch in the arboretum’s stunning outdoor amphitheater, conference attendees returned inside to hear Jeff Jabco of Scott Arboretum, Joe Henderson of Chanticleer, and Jessica Whitehead of Longwood discuss the regional clematis trial being done as a joint effort between the three organizations. Next, Jim Chatfield from the Ohio State University Extension program gave valuable insight on analyzing signs, symptoms, and plant health for diagnosing plant problems. Patrick Cullina ended the conference with a riveting presentation on plant use and selection in public spaces, including projects such as the High Line in New York City.

First year Fellows enjoying the beautiful weather after the conference

First year Fellows enjoying the beautiful weather after the conference

The Fellows would like to thank all of the conference staff and volunteers who put together such a wonderful program. We hope to see you again next year!

Scott Arboretum – July 23, 2010

Located on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania the pristine gardens and majestic trees of Scott Arboretum make this campus one of the most beautiful in the United States. This unique setting also makes the Arboretum one of the most accessible of all public gardens; there is no admission charge and the “gates” never close. This was a great first stop for the class of 2012 to kick off their summer field trip series.

From the College’s inception in 1864 to present day, the Scott Arboretum materialized and persisted due to a common passion for plants. Swarthmore College was founded by Quakers who revered nature and maintained a close connection with the land. Some of the oldest trees that create a backdrop for the campus were planted in celebration of Founders Day, the anniversary of the founding of the College, over 130 years ago. Arthur Hoyt Scott, whose name the Arboretum bears, graduated from Swarthmore College in 1895. His love for plants prompted him to travel the world in search of interesting flora such as tree peonies and lilacs. Realizing that most people did not have the means to travel to exotic places, Scott began collecting plants for display on the grounds of Swarthmore College. Later, John Caspar Wister, a prominent landscape architect and plant fanatic, served as director of the Arboretum, receiving a salary of just one dollar per year. He continued collecting plants for demonstration and organized their planting by like genera so that species could be compared easily.

This common passion for plants is evident today, with over 100 volunteers and 26 staff who share the tasks required to make this Arboretum a beautiful destination. Claire Sawyers, former Fellow of the Longwood Graduate Program, director of the Arboretum and tour guide for the day, undoubtedly shares this reverence for plants. She can find beauty just as easily in a decaying tulip tree stump in the amphitheater to a much more blatant red-painted bur oak located in the heart of campus.

Red-painted bur oak (photo by James Hearsum)

This love for plants is infectious; students of the College take notice of elements in the landscape. The red bur oak’s predecessor, a blue Chinese maackia, had an obituary written by students when it fell to the ground in 2008.

Our visit to Scott Arboretum ended in the Wister Education Center and Greenhouse, the newest addition to the garden. The building’s name commemorates the Arboretum’s former director, just one of the many people who made our visit memorable.

A view of Crum Woods (photo by James Hearsum)

Green roof (photo by James Hearsum)

Swarthmore College campus (photo by James Hearsum)

Clair telling the group about programming at Scott Arboretum (photo by James Hearsum)

The group posing in the garden (photo by Dr. Robert Lyons)