Monthly Archives: August 2011

Freshman tree and Irene

Last Thursday members of the Class of 2015 planted their class tree.  Arboretum Director, Bill Astifan and Horticulturist, Carol Wagner welcomed the class.  Under threatening skies and distant thunder (a non relative of Irene’s) the Prunus ‘Okame’ was settled in to the ground.  ’15 takes up residence next to ’10 in the allee along Leeds green.  These cherry trees are the first to bloom on campus.  

Friday was a day of preparation for the pending storm.  The entire college system was making arrangements.  The  upper classmen were allowed to return early, Safety and Security, Facilities Management and the College Administration had action plans in place.

The Arboretum only lost two large trees and they were both on the perimeter of the property.  A Celtis occidentalis, hackberry, fell on the Feather Bed fields were the cross country course begins and a large Quercus alba, white oak, fell in the woods between HCA road and the south parking lot.   The Climbing Tree, a sentinel of the college landscape and beloved by generations of kids, Maclura pomifera, osage orange, is being evaluated today as Irene’s wind caused it to shift and lean further to the ground. 

Classes have started and everyone at the college is relieved and thankful to Irene.  Considering the forecasts and projected sustained winds the campus was very fortunate and had minimal damage.

Welcome Class of 2015

There are a few trees standing on this wonderful campus that may have seen the earliest Haverford freshmen.  Welcome Class of 2015.  Please join the Arboretum staff as we assist YOU in planting your class tree, Thursday, August 25, 9:30am on Leeds green.

You’ll see the Grounds and Arboretum crews raking leaves, mowing the grass, weeding, planting trees, and shoveling snow during blizzards.                        Say Hello!

Also, be sure to see us next week Tuesday through Thursday, August 30, 31 and September 1, in the Dining Center. Pick up a free plant for your dorm room and you can join the Arboretum Association.  With that ten dollar membership you will also receive this year’s always popular Arboretum t-shirt.  Additionally, if interested, you can talk to us about work study programs with the Arboretum.

I’ve posted a few images to illustrate how beautiful Haverford College is everyday of the year.

Nature vs. Machine

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

While the earth moving equipment in the background continues to prepare the land for the Tritton and Kim residence halls, this praying mantis was very content on the developing seed heads of the oleander outside of the Campus Center.  Let your senses be open for even the smallest of natures offerings.

Unplug technology, plug into Mother Nature


The Help

The Arboretum and for that matter Facilities Maintenence every summer has its full time work force augmented with student summer workers.  I am speaking for not only the Arboretum but Grounds, Housing and Maintenence when I say how appreciative we are to all their efforts through the sometimes very excessively hot summer.

The tio of help with the Arboretum were Andy Jenness ’12,  Matt Fernandez ’14 and Marissa Plowden ’11; they worked with Arboretum staff Carol Wagner, Charlie Jenkins and myself respectively.  Dealing with the high heat and humidity tested all of our mettle.  Through it all we were able to plant many new trees, perform a favorite task of most – weed, and most imoportantly, keep everything watered!

H.C. Arboretum’s first blog

Well, I’ve had a cell phone now for two years.  I think I’m ready to really embrace technology and start a blog !

The road that brought me to my position as a horticulturist at Haverford is one I’d like to quickly share with you.  Upon reflection, two glaring facts emerged.  A theme of down sizing surfaced.

First, here at Haverford, we are bursting the student enrollment bubble at 1,150.  The student body of my alma mater, Texas A&M is in the neighborhood of 44,000.  Second, prior to my employment tending Haverford’s 212 acres, I spent 11 wonderful years honing my horticultural skills as a gardener at Longwood Gardens’ over 1,100 acres.  It is not fair to compare Haverford College Arboretum with Longwood Gardens. You might say it is a bit like comparing petunias to pine trees.

Yes, down sized is the right word.

These six years with the Haverford College Arboretum continue to most enjoyable.  My aim through this blog is to share images, gardening tips and give alums a sense how my colleagues and I tend and nurture this beautiful campus.

So, let’s begin…