the first Fairy Garden, 2007As a parent, I can only give my daughter, Catherine, the tools and experiences to influence her choices. From an early age, we made efforts to foster an appreciation with our environment. At the age of three, she spent a cold March afternoon in the front yard with a small sticks, two spruce cones, some of last season’s flowers and a couple of iphone sized pieces of flagstone. Only a lead in question was asked, “What are you doing, Catherine?” and opened the imaginative door to a world of unprompted and unplugged engagement with nature. Her reply, “It’s for the fairies.” It was an auspicious beginning of what would become a cherished component of out third of an acre property. The Fairy Garden.

How can we entice kids to get outside? There are books written on the topic and public gardens that have tailored programs geared toward kids, if structure is what you seek. There is no shortage however, of home-based activities you can share with your children. Think back to when you were a kid: collect colorful fall leaves and press them in wax paper, plant a few easy to grow, fun to eat vegetables like sugar snap peas or cherry tomatoes, grow flowers in a window box or patio container, and at the most basic level, splash in a puddle or dig a hole.

Continue reading

Happy New Year

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrain of nature –the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.” ~Rachel Carson



My wish is for Peace on Earth and good health to all as the hope for a glorious year awaits.

A Hole New Yew

planting at Lloyd

Adriana Cvitkovic ’16 and horticulturist Carol Wagner with a Hole new Yew.

Foundation plantings are under-going a slight upgrade. Horticulturist Carol Wagner is replacing old and overgrown hollies at the Lloyd dorm entrances with new pyramidal yews, known botanically as Taxus cuspidata. The hollies might not have been the best choice when planted years ago; due to the fact that the amount of sun each received at all the Lloyd entrances varied greatly. This made for very inconsistent growth, some hollies were lush and full while others languished.  The yews perform equally in sun and low light conditions.  Carol guarantees that the yews will be in place well before the annual holiday lighting extravaganza.

Freshmen plant their tree

As part of the Class of 2018 Customs Week and the Arboretum’s tradition of planting a freshman tree with the class, last Thursday turned out to be a beautiful day. Before the campus was busy with the full student body, an Okame cherry tree, Prunus ‘Okame’ was planted along the walk from the sundial steps to the track. This tree will join the ranks of an eight tree allee.  Four nondedicated cherries and three  freshman class trees from, 2010, 2015 and 2017 in the allee, make for a stunning early April tunnel of pink blossoms.

the Class of 2018 gather to plant their tree members of the freshman class plant an Okame cherry tree