The Seven-Son Flower
Heptacodium miconioides (the seven-son flower) is truly a four-season tree, offering botanical interest and ornamental appeal 365 days of the year. Its’ winter attributes include a unique layering of exfoliating bark in shades of grey and brown. In May, the tree leafs out with a thick layer of dark glossy green foliage. This foliage accents the tiered, layered branching habit of the tree. Heptacodium blooms in late summer with clusters of pure white, jasmine like flowers. The fragrant flowers are borne in groupings of seven, giving it the common name of seven-son flower. The autumn fruiting brings another level of appeal to this tree. The calyx, outer petals, persist as the flowers develop into fruit, displaying colors of pink and red that are just as beautiful as the flowers themselves.
Heptacodium is a large shrub/ small tree that typically reaches fifteen feet. It is multi-stemmed but can also be trained into a single trunk tree form. It can tolerate a large range of conditions, preferring full sun to dappled shade. Maintenance pruning is highly recommended to keep a neat appearance and expose the exfoliating bark.

Heptacodium miconioides, native to China, is listed as a threatened species in the wild due to a rapid decrease in distribution range and population size. To further complicate it, Heptacodium is also a monotypic genus, the sole species of the genus. This means that an entire genus is threatened.
Fortunately, this tree was introduced to cultivation in 1980 after the Arnold Arboretum brought seeds back from China. Heptacodium miconioides can know be found in gardens and arboreta throughout the world. This reinforces the incredible importance of institutions like Bayard Cutting Arboretum and the role we play in plant conservation.

Right now is the perfect time to view Heptacodium at the arboretum. There are still flowers in bloom, overlapping with the colorful calyces (outer petals). My favorite specimen is located in the Kristen Halecky Garden, overlooking the Great Lawn (2018-0348).

-Kevin Wiecks, Landscape Curator
American Conifer Society
Grant Update
Last fall we introduced our new conifer collection in the Old Pinetum. We received a grant from the American Conifer Society and Iseli Nusery. Our staff member, Jessica O’Callahan, described the project in the December 2020 newsletter. The collection has been a wonderful addition to the arboretum and has increased plant diversity tremendously. Patrons enjoy strolling by the unique conifers displaying a variety of size, color, and texture.
Typical to most gardener’s experiences, the design has been a work in progress. The conifers have been placed properly for future maturity which has left emptiness throughout the garden. To compliment the conifers in this adolescent phase, we brainstormed ways to fill the negative spaces. We didn't want to add perennials because it wouldn’t fit into the Old Pinetum landscape and would require more upkeep. How does a gardener fill space without plants? With the help of Ronda Brands, landscape designer, we agreed upon placing boulders. This would add interest and compliment conifers nicely.
The boulders were sourced from Emil Kreye and Sons. The Kreyes have been an essential part of the arboretum. Most notably, their incredible work on Breezy Island. We knew they would understand the scope of our project. Our staff and Ronda Brands mapped out where the boulders would go and how they should look. Each boulder had a unique description such as “large, lumpy rock” and “medium, pyramidal rock”. They have individual personalities just like each conifer. The Kreyes delivered the boulders as per our descriptions. They were the perfect shapes, sizes, and even have moss!
The boulders were placed by our staff using a skid steer that could handle the weight. It is a unique experience to place boulders. There is a delicate balance of placing boulders to look natural, as if they were always there. This means each boulder had to be placed on the correct side, spot, and angle for a perfect 360-degree view. We also needed to be sure the boulders acted just as an accent to the conifer collection. This was a fun and unique challenge for the staff to accomplish together.

The conifer collection, now known as the Nelson W. Sterner Conifer Garden, is a delightful pocket of the arboretum. The next addition will be an assortment of Galanthus, or snowdrops. The bulbs will be planted this fall and showcase all different varieties. Snowdrops are expected to bloom late winter or early spring, adding a simplistic touch to compliment the conifers. We encourage patrons to visit multiple times a year to experience the seasonal changes in the landscape. You can find the Nelson W. Sterner Conifer Garden in the middle of the Old Pinetum near the Sargent’s Weeping Hemlock.
-Joy Arden, GIS Specialist
Staff Photo of the Month
Patrick Hein,
Grounds Supervisor

A sky high view of the CSA Farm and barn.
Upcoming Events
Save the Date for our 4th Annual Symposium!
Evolution of the American Landscape: Olmsted’s Legacy
February 28, 2022

Fredrick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was the founder of American landscape architecture. His legacy includes designing the grounds of Central Park, Prospect Park, the U.S. Capitol, Biltmore Estate and Bayard Cutting Arboretum. This year, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birthday by presenting a full-day program focusing on his influence on landscape and garden design.

We are exciting to introduce our new educational program! Classes are held at the CSA farm throughout the fall for preschool, elementary, and middle school ages.

For more information, please reach Elizabeth Herrick, our Education Coordinator, at 631-960-2755 or
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!
Upcoming Dates: Oct 2, Nov 6, Dec 4
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.
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