Celebrate Pride Month!
Kindred Spirit
The weather is warming and everything is finally green! It’s our busiest planting season of the year as we try to plant all of our trees and shrubs before it gets too hot, but of course all of the weeds are enjoying major growth spurts during this time making the workload heavy. Planting, weeding, mulching-it all makes May a really hectic (but exciting!) time at the arboretum.
So far, we’ve planted 129 trees and shrubs, and we still have more to go! Two weeks ago we received a large tree and shrub order from Bold Spring Nursery in Georgia, 42 to be exact, but that doesn’t include the dozens of trees and shrubs we purchased elsewhere. In the last 2 weeks alone we planted 7 junipers, 6 swamp white oaks, 3 white oaks, 3 magnolias, 4 American hollies, 3 pond cypresses, 6 black tupelos, 1 willow oak. From the remaining trees left to be planted, there is one we all agreed was the most striking. Quercus ‘Kindred Spirit’ is a hybrid created by crossing an upright English oak (Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’) and a Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor). We’re particularly excited about this new addition to the collection because we do not currently have any fastigiate oaks! ‘Kindred Spirit’ boasts a beautiful upright habit that can reach 30 feet tall and only about 6 feet wide. The narrow habit and tolerance to a wide range of soil moisture and conditions makes it an ideal street tree. Of particular note is the hybrid’s resistance to powdery mildew which is a persistent problem to the straight species English Oaks.
Quercus 'Kindred Spirit'
Our ‘Kindred Spirit’ is featured in the New Pinetum in a grouping with a yellow Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’, U-0732) and a European Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia, 2021-0055). The accession number is (2022-0128). The area is mostly characterized by broad upright habits, but this new oak will find itself echoed by a nearby neighbor, a fastigiate sugar maple called ‘Monumentale’ (Acer saccharum ‘Monumentale’, 2020-0203). Among our recent plantings includes another fastigiate tree, Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’ planted by the entrance of the Holly Walk (2022-0129).
At first, it may be a bit unsettling to see a tree such as a maple or oak, which are known for their wide and grand habits, with such thin and narrow silhouettes. But plants that exhibit columnar habits can be extremely useful as space saving urban trees, or as punctuation in garden design. If you are curious about fastigiate trees, you can explore more of them throughout the arboretum by typing “fastigiata” into the search bar of our Tree Explorer.
-Jessica O'Callahan, Horticulture Coordinator
Restoring the
Friendship Garden
The Friendship Garden is a natural area at the base of the Great Lawn and across from Breezy Island. It is an area that has been largely untouched for decades. In 1976, the United States Bicentennial was celebrated with the unveiling of the Friendship Garden. Part of the original design included 16 native azaleas to symbolically represent bringing Americans harmoniously together for the 200th anniversary of our country.
Over the years, Friendship has become a unique ecological area with walking paths through wetlands full of invasive species. Today, climate change and sea level rise have changed conditions to become inhospitable for many of the azalea species in the garden. With the guidance of garden designer, Martha Weller, we have an updated design that will embrace the history while adapting to current and future conditions. The newly defined area hospitable to azaleas is the elevated border that joins the Great Lawn and the interior wetlands of Friendship. Although the original garden included 16 different species, the new border currently includes five species of native azaleas that will be well suited to the changing conditions. This past week we planted 69 native azaleas including: Rhododendron arborescens, R. atlanticum, R. austrinum, R. canescens, and R. viscosum. Additional azalea cultivars may be carefully introduced if they properly suit the design, intention, and ecological challenges.
The native azalea border is an opportunity to explore diversity within the margins of historical interpretation and environmental pressures. The azalea border is designed with the Cutting’s intentions of displaying specimens in an informal manner lending itself to the larger picture. As the Bicentennial was representative of reflecting on history and unifying for future endeavors, this Azalea border is an opportunity to reflect on the history of the landscape while addressing the changing environment.
Throughout the next couple of years, the Friendship Garden will be slowly transformed into a native landscape meant for enjoyment, education and research. Martha Weller is guiding the process of removing invasives and creating a design with native plants better suited for the area. We have a wonderful volunteer group that have already started invasive removals and native planting. Our staff have planted 5 large Eastern red cedars within the garden. This week, our new interns have planted a ton of native perennials too! The camaraderie between our staff, the garden designer, and volunteers replicates the intention and feeling of the Bicentennial. We encourage our visitors to observe the restoration of the Friendship Garden and capture the unique challenges of a changing landscape.
-Joy Arden, Landscape Curator
Staff Photo of the Month
Mary Valentin,
Park Manager
Misty morning photo of the Connetquot River and towering Taxodium distichum (Bald Cypress).
Upcoming Events
Arboretum Grounds Tours
The best way to see all that BCA has to offer is to take a “Grounds Tour” that is guided by a friendly and knowledgeable docent. We are offering free tours every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:30 am. We offer private grounds tours at $10 per person with a minimum of 10 on the tour. We hope to see you and your friends soon!
Arboretum House Tours
House tours will be starting again on Saturday, March 5th. They are held at 1:00 pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Attic tours will also start March 5th at 2:30 pm and continue on Fridays and Saturdays. Call (631) 581-1002 to register for a tour!
Children Education Programs
We have introduced an abundance of education programs and classes starting this spring. There are preschool classes, elementary classes, story hour, and more coming!
Saturday Story Hour
$5 per person, No registration is required. Walk-ups welcome!

In the first part of our story hour, we invite children to come and explore our outdoor classroom and tour the surrounding farm space. We will gather for the second half of the hour to have our story time. Caregivers are welcome to bring a blanket or yoga mat for their children to relax in the shade and listen to the week’s literary selections. Families are encouraged to end the hour with our self-guided storybook walk.
Cost per person: $40
For more info and to sign up: website
Join certified forest therapy guide, Linda Lombardo of Wild Heart Nature Connection, on a walk to reconnect with the natural world around us.
Art Show
Join us for Shore Lines, an art exhibit by fiber artist Sally Shore happening Thursday, June 9, 2022, through Sunday, June 26, 2022. The opening reception will be on Sunday, June 12, 2022.

The gallery is open from Thursday through Sunday 11 am to 3 pm.
Art Workshops
Workshops: watercolor, acrylic, fiber
For more info and to sign up: website
The Bayard Cutting Arboretum offers an array of art workshops in the mediums of painting, sculpture, metal-sculpting, mosaics, and more! Learn from our group of local, working professionals and jump-start your journey into art today.
Gift Shop
The gift shop will be open on Thursday - Sunday from 11am-4pm. Stop by at the Manor House to visit the gift shop!
Help Support Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Tax deductible donations can also be made by check payable to
Natural Heritage Trust and mailed to
Bayard Cutting Arboretum, PO Box 907, Great River, NY 11739