Introducing the Heritage Oak
I am extremely pleased to announce that we have finally planted a replacement tree for the black oak, Quercus veluntina, that we lost on the north side of the Manor House over three years ago.
The black oak was a long-living landmark of the arboretum.The placement of this tree can be seen in original design sketches of this area from 1887. For three years, we have been hunting for the appropriate replacement tree. We did not want to replace it with another black oak because of the questionable future of the species in our region. In addition, we needed a tree with a mature size and habit that would not conflict with the Manor House. The appropriate replacement tree would have to make sense historically, fit the original design, add to the diversity of our collections, and ultimately work horticulturally with our changing climate.
Quercus x macdaniellii ’Clemons’ (the heritage oak) is a unique cross between Q. macrocarpa (burr oak) and Q. robur (English oak) that fits these requirements. The native burr oak is both heat and cold tolerant and the English oak has a smaller upright habit. This bloodline provides the best attributes from two very different trees. We were lucky enough to source a specimen sized tree from Elhannon Nursery in Petersburgh, NY.
2012: Original Oaks
2021: Heritage Oak
The heritage oak will reach 50’ x 30’ in cultivation (2021-0102). Its’ habit is pyramidal when young but grows into a rounded shape that will ultimately compliment the architecture of the Manor House and provide shade for its aging neighbor, the Sargent's weeping hemlock.
We don't take tree acquisition and placement lightly at Bayard Cutting Arboretum. An incredible amount of time and research are devoted to making sure the right tree is chosen for the right place.

Whether you are visiting our new heritage oak or any other tree at the arboretum, please consider the time, care, and thought process that past and present staff have gone through to incorporate each individual tree into the very special landscape experience of Bayard Cutting Arboretum.

-Kevin Wiecks, Landscape Curator
Mapping New Spring Additions
Spring at the arboretum is full of energy. The staff works hard as a team planting trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. We work diligently together to ensure spring plantings are organized for success. It is a hectic time of the year where I’m mapping new specimens, creating care plans and understanding the needs of each new addition.
One of my favorite parts of my position is mapping and analyzing our collection data. To understand the trees and track their health is so valuable for the whole staff (and interesting too)! We have added 133 trees and shrubs this year. A few more specimens will be planted in the next week and more throughout the rest of the year. I’m very excited for the new additions this year because many are brand new to the arboretum! Some are Sinojackia xylocarpa (Jack Tree), Sorbus aucuparia 'Cardinal Royal' (European Mountain Ash), and unique oaks on the Great Lawn.
All 133 trees and shrubs are planted throughout the arboretum. When organizing by location, we added material in 15 separate areas. This data is very useful for tree care planning. Every new planting is mapped and added to a weekly water schedule to ensure proper care. With the number of plantings, it could be easy to miss something. This type of organization allows us to monitor specimens every week. It is also an efficient way to delegate schedules and tasks between the staff. 
There are 31 genera and 43 cultivars represented in the 133 trees and shrubs. Such great diversity also appears in the sourcing of these specimens. We have material from 14 nurseries located throughout the East coast. Elhannon Nursery, located upstate, supplied us with 32% of new plantings.
By the end of the spring, I feel like I have a personal connection to each new addition. I start understanding its habit, watering needs, and sometimes, their personalities! Some can be drama queens or overachievers. Some can be in an awkward teenage phase or late bloomer. Like Kevin, I love the heritage oak by the Manor House. The process and thoughtful choice makes it that much more special. Another favorite tree we planted is the Liquidambar styraciflua 'Rotundiloba' (2021-0031). The foliage is so unique and whimsical. It has a prominent place on the Great Lawn near the Conifer Garden. When you visit, be sure to seek out our new plantings. You can visit our interactive tree explorer and search 2021.

-Joy Arden, GIS Specialist
A 'Smart Home' - Victorian Style!
After binge watching Downton Abbey, a team member romanticized about the array of bells shown in the series’ opening scene. These, as every devoted fan knows, call the servants to ACTION! 
Call systems got their start in hotels around the 1860's and made their way to the mansions of the rich and famous. One push of a button sent an electric signal to a central call box, which would then drop down a little tag correlating to the exact room needing service. These must-have communication devices (I have resisted calling them ‘high tech’) were a status symbol in Victorian times.

Stuffed in dark and musty closets and full of spider webs/unspecified dust matter, we discovered Westbrook’s call systems. The one pictured to the right must have been an earlier version, most likely part of the home when it was built in 1886.  
Another, more “updated” version, was installed at the request of Mrs. Cutting in 1929. The original proposal, found in our archival documents, is dated December 5, 1928. Local firm Goldsworth & Beebe’s typewritten letter states “Dear Madam, We propose to install a complete new bell system in the Main House according to enclosed specification for the sum of $3,200”.

That’s $49,000+ dollars in today’s money! 
I’ve seen this very system (albeit in much better shape) at Old Westbury Gardens, located outside their kitchen. Just by viewing its travels throughout the entire span of Westbrook’s attic, you can’t help but appreciate the many hours of labor and craftsmanship it must have taken to install this ‘state of the art’ system. The intricately placed braided wires are meticulously fastened all along the rafters and hidden inside the walls and cavities along the wood trim of the 1st and 2nd floor rooms.  

We plan to build custom cases to display these fabulous call systems and feature them as part of our kitchen restoration.  If you would like to donate to this project, please [click here]. As always, thank you for your interest and generous support of our efforts to restore Westbrook’s splendid history.  
-M. Valentin
Staff Photo of the Month
Heather Coste,

Adorable ducklings huddled together and enjoying each other's company.

Upcoming Event
June 5 & 6 from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Rain or Shine
Cash or Check Only
Cost per person: $40 (50% going to BCA Natural Heritage Trust Fund)
For more info and to sign up: Wild Heart Nature Connection
Attendance is capped at 10. Masks required.
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Bayard Cutting Arboretum, PO Box 907, Great River, NY 11739