Best Job on Campus

Opal Bednarik '19, left,  helps Carol Wagner with the weeding.

Opal Bednarik ’19, left, helps Carol Wagner with weeding.

This fall’s bumper crop of student Arboretum workers is now pitching in. With class schedules and athletic practice times in place, we’ve been able to assign work hours for a full complement of students. Each is teamed to assist one of our three horticulturists—Carol Wagner, Charlie Jenkins and Mike Startup.

The first task has been simple: water, water and water again. The weeks of dry and usually hot weather have bumped up the need to water containers and young trees well into fall.
When the weather does cool down, the students will assist in planting spring bulbs, replacing tropicals from summer beds and containers with mums and perennials, and learning how to properly plant a tree.

Then comes the massive chore of raking all those falling leaves off open lawns. If a pause comes in that cleanup process, there will always be weeding!
~ Martha Van Artsdalen

Welcome, Class of 2020

welcome resizedFreshmen move-in day was picture-perfect on Wednesday, August 24. The 357 new ’Fords arrived to begin orientation, traditionally known as Customs Week, several days before the start of classes. Pots of bright mums, delivered by Mike Startup of the Arboretum staff, greeted new students at the freshmen dorms of Barclay, Gummere, Tritton and HCA as upperclassmen helped family members schlep boxes and bags.

Freshmen help plant and Okame cherry tree.

Freshmen help plant an Okame cherry tree.

The Arboretum staff also welcomed the Class of 2020 with its traditional tree planting ceremony on Leeds Green the following morning. Students grabbed a shovel and helped plant their class tree, an Okame cherry. Next up, all freshmen will be able to select a plant for their dorm room, courtesy of the Arboretum staff. Look for the table setup in the Dining Center in the next few days….

How to plant a tree

Step One: Find a young, healthy tree that’s been well-watered and cared for at the nursery.

Step Two: Gather shovels, a backhoe and watering truck. Roping in several young and strong student workers wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

Step Three: Find a semi-shady location. An area in the Pinetum where several dead trees were recently removed is ideal.

Step Four: Use the backhoe to dig a hole and then carry the new tree from the nursery to the Pinetum.

Step Five: Have the horticulturists guide the tree into the hole, with the students standing by to debate if the trunk is positioned straight and the root flare level with the ground.

Step Six: Remove burlap from the root ball and loosen the soil around the edges.

Step Seven: Direct the students to fill soil in around the tree.

Students Michael DeWolf (left) and Noah Jacobson-Carroll help plant a young larch tree in the Pinetum.

Students Michael DeWolf (left) and Noah Jacobson-Carroll help plant a young larch tree in the Pinetum.

Step Eight: Water well.

Step Nine: Add mulch around the tree to keep the roots moist and discourage weeds.

Step Ten: Repeat as often as desired.
~~ Martha Van Artsdalen, plant curator

800 pounds and counting!

Alison Love, Jahzara Heredia and Aubrey DeLone (left to right) show off Haverfarm produce.

Alison Love, Jahzara Heredia and Aubrey DeLone (left to right) show off Haverfarm produce.

Summer officially arrives next Monday, but student gardeners have been harvesting wheelbarrows full of vegetables for weeks at the Haverfarm. Well into its third growing season, this outdoor classroom is part of Haverford’s Environmental Studies Program. It consists of seven plots, a small orchard and a nearly-completed greenhouse and classroom space.

Spring rains followed by sunny June days have meant a bountiful harvest of garlic, kale, five varieties of lettuce and baby greens, followed by herbs, mint, spinach and rhubarb. Produce is sold every Friday at a farm stand on campus, with a portion donated to the Ardmore Food Pantry. This season Haverfarm also serves 20 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members who receive a box of vegetables each week in exchange for working in the garden or financial support. A sample box this spring included broccoli, two heads of lettuce, a half-pound of arugula, one head of spring garlic and bunches of radishes and mint.

Harvest totals reached 800 pounds as of early June, reports Aubrey DeLone, Haverford’s first farm fellow. Aubrey oversees the student workers, including this year’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship intern Alison Love ’18. Next year, Jahzara Heredia ’16 will assume Haverfarm operations.

The Harverfarm produce stand sets up most Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. in Founders Courtyard.

~ Martha Van Artsdalen, plant curator

Haverfarm sign resized

The ‘Fords Return

The Memorial Day holiday on campus featured lots of red balloons and banners. Two weeks after Commencement saw the Class of 2016 step out into the world, Haverfordians of past years arrived for Alumni Weekend. The Arboretum staff posted a display in the Whitehead Campus Center and welcomed early risers for a tree tour Saturday morning.

On the walk, horticulturist Carol Wagner covered everything from landscape history and the college’s 1833 founding, to class tree gifts, the new Peace Garden, and the threat of insects and fungal diseases to our campus trees.

Carol Wagner, right, stops by an American elm near Chase Hall and the Dining Center.

Carol Wagner, right, stops by an American elm near Chase Hall and the Dining Center.

Winning the prize for best representation on the walk—even though they couldn’t boast a class tree–were the Classes of 1961 and 1966. Then the food trucks arrived on Founders Green and it was nearly time for lunch under the tents. It was great to greet friends among the returning ‘Fords, catch up with the many things they’re involved in, and listen to memories of their time on campus.

Rachel Cholst, Class of 2011, catches up with Horticulturist Carol Wagner, left.

Rachel Cholst, Class of 2011, catches up with Horticulturist Carol Wagner, left.

– Martha Van Artsdalen, plant curator