N° 50 — April 21, 2021
FONA Field Notes is moving to Wednesdays!
Please enjoy our regular updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and our award-winning Washington Youth Garden.
The US National Arboretum is implementing a new temporary traffic plan through mid-May to keep the grounds safe for drivers, walkers, and all visitors.
Herbarium Highlights
Dr. Harlan Svoboda, curator of the National Arboretum's Herbarium, reports the team's progress on a major digitization project:
"The U.S. National Arboretum Herbarium digitization project reached a couple of milestones in April. First, the 100,000th specimen was imaged! This sheet is a specimen of Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco, the Douglas-fir, an economically important conifer species in the pine family. It was collected by Gerald Straley in British Columbia, Canada, in 1995.

Secondly, the 'Upper Herbarium' (one of two rooms that the herbarium collections are stored in) has been entirely imaged! That means all the lycophyte, fern, and gymnosperm/conifer specimens are ready for the next phase of the project: transcription of the full label information. For this next step a great deal of help from the public will be needed to digitize the collection data, so be on the lookout for an announcement in the near future."

The 100,000th herbarium specimen imaged, Pseudotsuga menziesii (the Douglas-fir; Pinaceae). Photo courtesy of the USNA Herbarium. Photo from: Harlan Svoboda, USNA
Photo from: US National Arboretum
Join the National Arboretum on Thursday, April 22nd at 2 PM for Pressing Matters. This free, virtual event series explores the National Arboretum's herbarium collection.

During the first installment of this series, participants will learn how plants from all over the world are preserved in the form of herbarium specimens and why they are valuable resources for researchers. Learn from Dr. Harlan Svoboda about what it takes to curate and maintain the 800,000 dried plant specimens.

Extra! Extra! Our Washington Youth Garden team just released the first edition of our new quarterly newsletter, School Garden Gateway. This newsletter includes school garden resources picked fresh by our team just for you and your school garden.


Want to receive this quarterly school garden resource directly to your email?

Coast to Coast School Garden Tour
Take your youngster on a cross-country virtual school garden tour on Tuesday, April 27th at 1 PM! Hosted by Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, this free 45-minute livestream will make stops at seven school gardens from Hawaii to DC. Each garden stop also has accompanying activities for students to do in the classroom or at home! Follow along live, or access the program after the event in 3- to 5-minute long lesson videos.

From our Friends: Garden Club of Chevy Chase
Discover treasured gardens with the Garden Club of Chevy Chase this spring! Join the garden club on Sunday, May 2nd from noon to 4 PM for a tour of six charming private gardens in historic Chevy Chase. Tickets are $35 if purchased before April 27th and $40 thereafter.

Photo from: Garden Club of Chevy Chase
Arboretum Activities
Connect more deeply with nature this spring at the Arboretum. During our two-hour forest bathing program, our certified forest therapy guides invite you to reflect on the world around you and guide you through focused meditations. Each event explores new collections to highlight the National Arboretum’s unique seasonal diversity.

Join us for spring forest bathing:
  • Monday, April 26: 9-11 AM
  • Saturday, May 1: 9-11 AM
  • Sunday, May 9: 9-11 AM
  • Wednesday, May 26: 9-11 AM

On Saturday, May 1st from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, the U.S. National Arboretum and U.S. Botanic Gardens are collaborating to offer a free, exciting look into the lives of cicadas.

Join entomologist Dr. Mike Raupp from UMD as he explores the natural history, ecology, and behavior of the seven species of periodical cicadas indigenous to North America. Learn when these cicadas will appear, how they survive, and how they will impact humans, pets, wildlife, and plants in our region.

Spring in the City
Azaleas have arrived at the Arboretum! Take a walk on Mt. Hamilton over the next few weeks and explore the incredible variety of azaleas the Arboretum has created and introduced to the American nursery industry.

There are three different gardens that comprise the collections, each with its own history and style.

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

Full Circle Plant Foods creates organic plant foods to promote the best practices in gardening, horticulture, and environmental sustainability. Their popular and effective Premium Plant Tonic has become their keystone with the exotic and succulent houseplant craze. You can find their products in many Ace hardware stores in the DC metro area.

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.
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