N° 45 — March 17, 2021
Please enjoy our regular updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and our award-winning Washington Youth Garden.
Acorn Garden Club members volunteered to assemble Grow@Home kits this winter.
Thank you to members of the Acorn Garden Club for helping construct nearly 1,000 Grow@Home kits this winter!

We are incredibly grateful for the time these members took building these kits. Last fall we donated over 2,100 kits to students and teachers around DC — this year we're planning on donating even more! The kits the Acorn Garden Club put together go a long way to helping us reach our goal. Thank you!
These Grow@Home kits are distributed to teachers and students across DC to teach garden science at home. Students learn about the scientific method, run their own experiments, and can create nutritious meals from what they grow.

Want to sign your class up to receive Grow@Home kits? Sign up for School Garden Gateway, our new quarterly teacher newsletter, to receive the registration form.

Herbarium Highlights
Plant specimens move along a conveyor belt into the photo booth for digitization. Photo from: Harlan Svoboda, USNA
In the fall of 2020, the U.S. National Arboretum began an ambitious endeavor to digitize the herbarium’s collection of 800,000 preserved plant specimens. The project is scheduled to last a little more than a year and will include imaging every sheet, transcribing the label information, creating a new collections database, and developing a “virtual herbarium” online.

A conveyor and high-resolution camera were installed at the Arboretum for rapid imaging of the entire herbarium. This massive system with two operators can produce 4,000+ images per day.

On February 22, 2021 we met our first milestone: the very first specimen image was captured! A humble cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.) specimen, assigned as the USDA’s first Plant Introduction (PI #1) from 1898, had the honor of kicking things off. We are now well on our way with more than 45,000 images to date. Stay tuned for more updates as the digitization project progresses!

Garden Etiquette
As spring arrives at the National Arboretum, please mind some garden rules and guidelines during your visit. While the National Arboretum is a public garden, it is also a horticultural research facility and there are critical research projects happening throughout the grounds.

In addition to wearing your mask and socially distancing, check out the other do's and don'ts of visiting the Arboretum.

Arboretum Activities
Today's the last day to sign up for the National Arboretum's 34th Annual Lahr Symposium this Saturday, March 20th from 9:30 AM to 3 PM. This daylong program brings subject matter experts on ecological, botanical, and horticultural advancements in a virtual format. Tickets are $75 ($60 for FONA members).

Photo from: U.S. National Arboretum
Apricots have arrived and magnolias are just beginning to make an appearance. Bathe in the ambience of the Arboretum and join FONA for one of our Forest Bathing walks this weekend:
  • Saturday, March 20: 9 - 11 AM
  • Sunday, March 21: 9 - 11 AM

Tickets are $35 ($28 for FONA members). We've even got a special raffle just for our March forest bathing participants!

Vendor Corner
Although the Lahr and Garden Fair plant sales are both cancelled this year, there are still ways to support the vendors we would have hosted.

Habeebah's Herbals has been in business for over 25 years. They formulate and sell natural & organic skin care products and ECO Soy Candles. You can find their products online or at Eastern Market.

Photo from: U.S. Botanic Garden
From our Friends: U.S. Botanic Garden
Join the U.S. Botanic Garden this Friday, March 19th at 12 PM for a free and engaging discussion with horticulturalist Peggy Riccio about how you can grow and use culinary herbs. Peggy is president of the Herb Society of America's Potomac Unit, another Arboretum stakeholder.

Discover the best season to plant specific herbs as well as how to harvest, preserve, and use them in your kitchen. Pre-registration is required.

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM - 5 PM except December 25th. Some buildings and collections remain closed to ensure visitor and staff safety.