Lockerly Newsletter December 2016

Final Thoughts for the Year

It has been several weeks since I took the opportunity to communicate directly to our members, volunteers and supporters. In that time, we have enjoyed a wonderful Family Day event which saw lots of people enjoying the Lockerly Experience. It was held in conjunction with our 'Scarecrow' competition which we are planning on making an annual event.  I want to thank all the wonderful volunteers who make an event like this a success.

One of my goals has always been for Lockerly Arboretum to gain recognition as a regional site. One of the ways you accomplish that goal is to gain recognition from organizations that have a common interest or focus.  That has happened with our marvelous conifer collection being awarded 'Reference Garden' status by the American Conifer Society.  We are one of only 19 locations throughout the Southeast United States.  It is a distinguished group of gardens and arboretums.  I would hope that we can host future events for the American Conifer Society.  We will be expanding our Japanese Maple, Camellia and Daylily collections as we move forward.  It would be quite an honor to gain recognition from those Societies and we will keep moving forward with that goal in mind.

Our Education Department continues to provide an excellent program for students in the surrounding area. We would like to develop an adult education program of interesting subjects appropriate to Lockerly Arboretum. These can be in the form of lectures by knowledgeable individuals, demonstrations or whatever would be interesting to you, our supporters.  If you have any ideas, please contact any of our staff or our Trustees.  This program is just in the early stages and we welcome all ideas.

As is always the case, these programs require funding to make them possible. To that end I would like to encourage your support as a Friend of Lockerly.  I can report that the program is alive and growing.  Last year at this time we had less than 90 members; we presently have almost 200 members. As you can see our membership has doubled in just one year.  Our Development Committee, under the leadership of Mr. John Darity (recently retired marketing and sales professional from Imerys), is planning on several Gala / Date Night events for next year.  We are also planning on more of the Family oriented events like Family Day. We are hopeful that this will enhance your experience and encourage everyone to renew their membership at a higher level of participation. This is the time of the year that people look to minimize their tax burden by making donations to non-profit organizations like Lockerly Arboretum.  To that end we can accommodate several different means of contributing. Direct contributions to the general fund are always an option or restricted contributions to a specific part of our program is another. Your donations can be in the form of a check or we can also accommodate the direct transfer of stocks and bonds through our investment advisor Graystone Consulting, a business of Morgan Stanley.

As we approach the Holiday Season we are pleased to announce that our Holiday Reception is sold out. Please join us for the Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 10th from 10:00 to 2:00.  Rose Hill will be at her finest thanks to the four Garden Clubs of Milledgeville who so graciously volunteer to do the decorations.

Let me close by expressing my gratitude to everyone who enjoys the Lockerly Experience. I look forward to seeing many of you at our Holiday Reception. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Rodger L. Flotta, President
Lockerly Arboretum Foundation

Holiday Open House

Don't forget to visit Lockerly during our Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 10th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Using fresh greenery from the Arboretum, Milledgeville's four Garden Clubs will be decorating Rose Hill in period appropriate style for the holidays. Plan to enjoy the beauty, smells and ambiance of the holidays by attending this annual event.  Rose Hill will be dressed for the festivities from December 8th until December 15th.  Friends of Lockerly may enjoy the Open House free of charge. The entry fee for non-members will be $3 per person. Proceeds will support our Invest in Rose Hill's Heritage & Future drive.

Stanley Smith Horticulture Trust
Lockerly Arboretum was recently awarded a grant for $5921 from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for the Rhododendron Collection Enhancement Project.  This grant will be used to enhance the rhododendron and native azalea collection by adding new plants, irrigation and signage. A new educational brochure highlighting trees and shrubs along the nature trail where the rhododendron collection is located will also be created.

The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust was created in 1970 by May Smith , in honor of her late husband. The trust supports education and research in ornamental horticulture in North and South America. Grants are typically made to nonprofit organizations such as botanical gardens, arboreta, and universities.

The project will begin soon and the work will be completed by the end of 2017. Follow our progress on Facebook  .

December Gardening Tips
Debbie Foster
Lockerly Horticulture Director 
Christmas is just around the corner. Christmas trees, holly wreaths and mistletoe are just a few of the natural icons of the season. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the British started hanging mistletoe as part of Christmas celebrations and this mysterious little plant became synonymous with a kiss. Mistletoe was supposed to bring luck to two people who kissed underneath it and bad luck to those who didn't.

Mistletoe can be found growing in trees all across the southern United States and is easily spotted during the winter. Mistletoe is a small evergreen shrub that is semi-parasitic with tiny yellow flowers that bloom from fall into winter. The plants can reach 3' across and are either male or female. Only the female plants produce the ever familiar white berries. The berries are an excellent source of food for birds in the winter and the mistletoe is dependent upon the birds for dispersing the seeds. The berries are poisonous to humans and should not be eaten, but birds seem to be immune to any toxicity.

Mistletoe plants do not have true roots but use extensions called holdfasts to grip tree limbs and steal water and nutrients from its host. Mistletoe does make some of its own food so it may not kill a tree outright but it will weaken the tree over time. Healthy trees can tolerate a few unwanted guests but a heavily infested tree may be seriously harmed when combined with the stress caused by drought, insects, or disease. The best way to fight an infestation of mistletoe is to keep trees healthy. Watering during periods of drought, using mulch, maintaining the proper pH and proper fertilization will help reduce the amount of stress your trees are under. Cutting Mistletoe flush to the branch will not kill it. Infested branches would need to be pruned out, which may not be practical. When handling mistletoe keep in mind that all parts of the plant are poisonous so wash your hands and keep it out of a child's reach.

As I was writing this article, I enjoyed the sight and sound of some desperately needed rain. This rain reminded me of another tree dwelling plant we have not been able to see for several months. The Resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides), is a species of coarse-textured fern native to the Americas and Africa. It lives in the hardwood forests of the southeast from Delaware to Florida. The leathery, evergreen fronds of this fern attach themselves to the limbs of trees by a creeping, slender rhizome. This fern is an epiphyte, a plant that grows harmlessly upon another plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain. Epiphytes differ from parasites in that epiphytes grow on other plants for physical support and do not harm the host. Many mosses, lichens, ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads are epiphytes.

The Resurrection fern can often be seen carpeting the limbs of large trees here at Lockerly Arboretum. However, it can also live on other surfaces such as rocks and walls made of concrete blocks. The resurrection fern gets its name from its ability to survive long periods of drought. During dry periods, the fronds will curl up and appear desiccated, brown and dead, but with a little rain, the fern will uncurl and "resurrect" itself. Its vivid green color is often restored within 24 hours. The fronds can lose up to 97% of its moisture and remain alive, while most other plants would die after losing only 8-12%.

If you have sustained any loses in your landscape recently due to the extended drought, you are not alone.  Many of the leucothoe, anise, azaleas and conifers here at Lockerly were lost over the past 2 months.  Many more loses may become evident next season since plants can suffer from drought related problems for many years. The effects of drought on trees and shrubs can range from wilting, leaf scorch, and defoliation to stunted growth, branch die-back, and death. Many woody plants can take up to three years after a drought to display negative long-term effects.  
During a prolonged drought, the fine feeder roots in the upper soil surface will die. This puts the root system out of balance with the amount of foliage found aboveground. When rain does return, the plant may not be able to utilize the water because of its reduced root system. The result is a resizing of the canopy through branch die-back. If drought persists into the next growing season or recurs before the plant can fully recover, the entire plant may die. Only time will tell how much more damage we will see from our lack of rain during October and November.

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Lockerly Arboretum  1534 Irwinton Road, Milledgeville, GA   478.452.2112  
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