Out go the tulips

Commencement exercises were held on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning, but now Alumni Weekend looms. This week a delivery truck pulled up to the greenhouse and unloaded racks and racks of annual plants: blue salvia, red salvia, yummy yellow and orange lantana, dragon wing begonias, multi-colored coleus and sweet potato vines.

Flats of annuals fill the greenhouse.

Flats of annuals fill the greenhouse.

Rain and cool temperatures meant a chilly spring for Haverford. But now, in anticipation of warmer weather, the Arboretum crew is going full steam ahead. In the next few days, annual plants will replace the spent spring-blooming bulbs. Look for bright blooms to fill containers and planting beds around campus. Summer must be just around the corner.

Summer student worker Noah Jacobson-Carroll '18 plants dragon wing begonias around a banana tree in one of the Coop patio containers.

Summer student worker Noah Jacobson-Carroll ’18 plants dragon wing begonias around a banana tree in one of the Coop patio containers.

– Martha Van Artsdalen, plant curator

Commencement’s coming!

Dave Tierney mows Commencement Green.

Dave Tierney mows Commencement Green.

The rain has (almost) gone away, the campus is looking very beautiful and green, and college staff are busy setting up for Commencement 2016 this Saturday, May 14. While cool temperatures have kept blooms on tulips at the Lancaster Avenue entrance, recent rainy days have made mowing the Commencement area in front of Roberts Hall a challenge.

Carol Wagner tackles weeds.

Carol Wagner tackles weeds.               

Last minute work includes mulching tree rings, planting containers with flowers, and, unfortunately removing a dead and hazardous English oak tree by Lloyd Hall.

A crane and crew remove the dead English oak by Lloyd Hall.

A crane and crew remove the dead English oak by Lloyd.

Everyone has fingers crossed that the sun will shine Saturday morning as we wish the Class of 2016 a fabulous future ahead.
Martha Van Artsdalen, plant curator

Hot off the press

Resized book cover

Cows once grazed on today’s athletic fields. Class teams in the 1890s raced each other on wooden bobsleds down the hill below Barclay Hall. In the 1950s, the public paid 25 cents to skate on the frozen pond to music piped through a set of loud speakers.

Resized skating pix

Generations have used the campus of Haverford College in many ways. Now a book captures the history of this landscape using photographs from the college’s Quaker & Special Collections. Images of America: Haverford College Arboretum tells the story of how 200 acres of farm fields evolved into today’s campus of majestic trees, the 2.2-mile Nature Trail and the Duck Pond. Photographs capture the barn on fire in 1922, long-gone gardens, a football game in the 1920s and students cleaning out the pond in the 1950s.

Football resized

Images of America: Haverford College Arboretum is now available at the college bookstore in the Whitehead Campus Center, 610-896-1178 or online at haverfordbookstore.com for $21.99.

~ Martha Van Artsdalen, plant curator

A Medley of Marigolds

Arboretum student workers (from left) Jeanne Quinn '16, Austin Huber '19 and Annika Ulrich '18 surprised fellow students with a gift of flowers.

Arboretum student workers (from left) Jeanne Quinn ’16, Austin Huber ’19 and Annika Ulrich ’18 surprised fellow students with a gift of flowers.

Nothing says spring like sunny blue skies and bright blooming flowers. On Sunday, Arboretum student workers Jeanne Quinn ’16, Austin Huber ’19 and Annika Ulrich ’18 set up a table full of marigolds just outside the Dining Center. Fellow students were then invited to pot up a plant and take a bit of spring back to their dorm rooms.

~ Martha Van Artsdalen, plant curator

Jeanne Quinn resized

Jeanne Quinn ’16 has two happy “customers.”

Carol builds a cold frame

 

Carol Wagner with a Penn Treaty Elm seedlin

Carol Wagner with a Penn Treaty Elm seedling

This winter, Carol Wagner found herself on the losing side of a battle with squirrels and chipmunks. As horticulturist in charge of the historic Penn Treaty Elm, she collects seedlings from underneath its boughs each fall and pots them up in our nursery. She also takes cuttings from rare shrubs and roots them in potting soil so that we’ll have replacement plants in the future.

These rows of pots with fresh soil are just too tempting to the critters. Store them outside, and the squirrels dig them up. Store them in the greenhouse, and the chipmunks scoot in when the automatic windows crank open and they, also, upset the tiny twigs in an effort to find a seed or acorn.

But this spring Carol has fought back.

With the help of colleague Claudia Kent, she’s built a 3 by 13 foot cold frame, essentially a dug-out pit covered with glass (or in this case, two acrylic storm doors) and tipped toward the south. This mini-greenhouse protects seedlings in early spring and can keep veggies going well into the fall. An automatic hinge will tilt the top open on warm days to avoid over-heating the young plants. And any adventurous rodents, no matter how cute, will be foiled by a strong screen Carol plans to extend across the top.
~~ Martha Van Artsdalen, plant curator

Once she adds screening, Carol hopes her plants will be safe from squirrels and chipmunks.

Once she adds screening, Carol hopes her plants will be safe from squirrels and chipmunks.