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Photo by Kellen McCluskey

Thursday, May 26

Plant Sale Round #2

We're now accepting online orders for plants! Shop for landscape-ready native trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns, grasses, and vines today through June 6. Browse the sale site, place your order, and it will be filled in the order it's received. Please note that there will be no shopping at the Arboretum. 

Pickups will be scheduled for June 1–11. Please be sure to check your order confirmation email for a link you'll use to schedule a pickup time.

Click here to place your order.

Turtlehead (Chelone glabra). Photo by Kathy Thornton.

There's Still Time—Register for Camp Egret

Spots are still open in our summer nature camp for tweens! In Camp Egret, aptly titled "Out on a Limb," campers will explore the magnificent world of trees during five days of outdoor adventure. They'll depend on all their senses to learn about the trees that grow around and will use trees for climbing, campfires, fort building, scavenger hunts, and snacking. They'll also meet some of the animals that depend on trees for survival.

Tree-inspired art projects, games, daily hikes, dirty hands, and lots of fun will be part of the camp experience. Camp Egret is for ages 10–12 and will meet June 27–July 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here to register your camper today.

Photo by Kellen McCluskey

Join Us at the Philadelphia Flower Show!

A showcase of excellence that dates to 1829, the Philadelphia Flower Show is a top destination and a must-experience horticultural event. Join us Monday, June 13 for an unforgettable trip to this year's show, "In Full Bloom."

The 2022 Flower Show explores the restorative and healing power of nature and plants while experiencing all that gardening offers to improve our lives. The theme "In Full Bloom" connotes good health, positive well-being, and a passion for life that culminates in a gorgeous and colorful spectacle. Held outdoors at FDR Park, it will showcase gardens and beauty to inspire everyone to plan for a better tomorrow.

In addition to plants and flowers at the peak of seasonal perfection, visitors can expect 15 acres of spectacular floral and garden displays, educational areas, plant exhibits, shopping, a play area for families, and plentiful food and drink options. Hundreds of spectacular native butterflies can also be experienced in the Butterflies Live! exhibit housed in an outdoor pollinator garden structure.

The bus leaves Easton at 9 a.m. and will make pickup stops near Wye Mills and Millington. We hope you can join us! Click here to register.

Nature Notes

We don’t take lunch breaks at the Arboretum; we take walks. Michelle sets off with her dog in tow, and Kellen slings a camera over her shoulder. I carry a notepad in case inspiration strikes.

It always does. Today I stop by Emily’s Play Garden for a progress check, then make my way to the Wild Thicket Walk. Sporadic columns of sunshine break through a green tree tunnel spiraled in poison ivy vines. I reach up to pluck a star-shaped sweetgum leaf, my feet stumbling over a prickly gumball. Faint pathways made by last summer’s grazing goats crisscross the undergrowth.

The warm air is punctuated by short, breezy bursts underscored in floral. The smell is spring in a bottle, and I can’t resist pursuing its source. White clover emit a sweet fragrance, but the flowers aren’t pervasive enough to perfume the whole pathway. Invasive honeysuckle seems a likely wellspring, but here, too, the scent has limited reach. I bend my head to raspberry blossoms; their scent is negligible, at least to my nose.

Where the Wild Thicket Walk splits in two, I find my answer: a towering stand of fragrant, multiflora rose. Wrapping around trees and scrambling over berry vines, this is not a native plant. Rosa multiflora was introduced from Japan in the 1860s and used as rootstock for ornamental roses. Later, it was touted for erosion control and as natural fencing.

Detractors state the obvious: multiflora rose outcompetes native plants, forming dense, impenetrable thickets. Each plant produces a million seeds a year, and each seed is viable for twenty years. New plants sprout when arching canes touch the ground and root.  There is no easy way to control or eradicate this plant. The Plant Conservation Alliance lists it as “least wanted.” 

Multiflora rose. Photo: Famartin/Wikimedia Commons.

Rosa multiflora is distinguishable from native species by the lush clusters of flowers that adorn each stem (native roses have only one or two flowers per stem.) These give rise to edible hips, which some see as the plant's saving grace. The hips are a food source for many animals, including wild turkey, cedar waxwings, grouse, robins, opossums, beavers, coyotes, mice, and skunks. The thickets provide cover and nesting sites for gray catbirds and other wildlife.

Perfumed breezes follow me when I turn right onto the South Meadow Crossing, some 50 feet past the last stand of multiflora rose. Here, milkweed and goldenrod are knee-high. A bluebird crosses overhead, intent on a nesting box from which wisps of grass protrude. It’s only when I reach Nursery Road that the stone dust smell of warm air on gravel replaces that of multiflora rose.

Native, invasive, aggressive, and exotic. The value judgments we place on plants have their reasons and also their limitations. It is our job as stewards of the land to preserve and restore our native landscapes, but sometimes there is space for appreciation in the enthusiasm of all plants to thrive and persevere.

Jenny Houghton

Assistant Director

Looking Ahead

Wild Foods Forest Walk

Sunday, May 29, 1–2:30 p.m.

Join nutritional therapy practitioner Shane Brill for a guided tree walk exploring historical foodways and future food resources, including fruits, nuts, leaves, sap, and roots.

Learn about cooking techniques to optimize nutrition and reduce toxins in common foods, and discover how a permaculture approach toward plant functions supports ecological stewardship, food security, and human health and vitality.

Register here >

Art Reception for Kit-Keung Kan and Guided Sculpture & Poetry Walk with Howard and Mary McCoy

Saturday, June 4, 2–4 p.m.

Explore Kan's luxuriant Chinese ink and watercolor paintings and his flowing scrolls brushed with his own poems in Chinese calligraphy. The McCoys will lead a walk to discuss their outdoor sculpture exhibit and Mary McCoy's poems, both inspired by the Arboretum landscape. 

Kan's sister-in-law, a guzheng teacher who performs widely in the Washington, DC, area, will perform during the reception. It is free and open to the public.

Forest Music

Thursday, June 9, 2–4 p.m.

This unique and beloved annual event returns to the Arboretum!

Innovative musicians from Chestertown's National Music Festival will perform in the forest, each responding to the others' playing in a musical conversation that winds through the trees.

This event is free in honor of our members. All are welcome. Advance registration is appreciated.


Arboretum Stroll

Tuesday, May 31

First Saturday Guided Walk

Saturday, June 4

Yarning at the Arboretum

Wednesday, June 8

Open Botanical Studio

Friday, June 10

Bat Zen

Tuesday, June 14

Dragonflies & Damselflies

Saturday, June 25

Explore the program and events calendar > > >

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