What’s Up At the Arb
April 24, 2014
The Webster Arboretum Association celebrated its Annual Meeting this past week. In spite of the cold, cloudy, and damp weather, we marked the event with a brief tour of the cultivated area of the Arb. Incredibly, we discovered that the witch hazel has already passed! The Lenten Roses (hellebores) are in full bloom along with drifts of daffodils and the Cornelian Cherry Dogwoods (cornus mas) with their branches covered in small, yellow flowers.
We were also delighted to meet two of our four winners of the on-line photography contest. Tom Kelly's winning entry, "Postcard from Webster" captured a snowy landscape framed by one of the Arb's bridges. Barb Johnson’s entry featured her granddaughter, Emily, enjoying a dahlia almost as big as she is. Our winners who could not attend the reception are Jennifer Craft, and C. D. Hansen.
Chairperson Carla Watkins reviewed the growth of the Arb over the course of the past year, which saw the development of two very hard-working groups in the form of the Landscape Committee and the Promotions Committee. Plans have been made for our continued growth into the new year including the development of the Walk of Giants, the Pipeline Trail, and a new cinder path that will lead around the new azalea garden. Efforts will also be made to enhance the Herb Garden and renovate a couple other areas.
Elected to another three-year term were Mary Ellen Oakes and Donna Shayder. After a year away, George Riehle was also elected for another term. Upcoming events include the Day of Caring on May 8 with up to 90 volunteers expected and the Annual Plant Sale on the morning of May 10 at the Arb parking lot.
At the end of this very long winter, the words of a very wise, patient friend come back to me: "Spring always comes!" As we toured the Arb this week, I began to see proof of her wisdom. Stop on out to the Arb. It won’t take much sunny warmth for spring to burst forth! If you are interested in participating in this year’s photo contest or getting more involved in Arb activities, please visit our website, www.websterarboretum.com.
It's been said that one who plants a tree believes in the future. With that thought in mind, the Webster community faces a very bright future. The Webster Arboretum continues to grow and plant for today and tomorrow.
Strategies for Growth
In April 2013, the Arb Board reorganized itself evolving two committees: Landscape Development and Promotion. The Landscape Development Committee is charged with reviewing the master plan, using it to create a multi year development plan, and prioritizing specific larger and smaller projects. The Promotion Committee's task is to promote basic awareness of the Arb, membership, gifts, and events.
What's up at the Arb – Expanding the Collection
In 2013 we saw the addition of several novel tree hybrids and some tried and true species. At the entry to park, just to the east of the gates, visitors can't miss a spectacularly orange-barked tree. Two of these hybrid maples were added to the park this year. Adding to our anticipated spring show will be several more redbuds as well as the newly dedicated azalea garden. Look for several new varieties of variegated trees and shrubs and a new weeping maple.
At the northern end of Arb, the Hall of Giants became a reality with the planting of a Sequoia and a Kentucky Coffeetree. There is plenty of space for these two trees to fulfill their potential height of 75-100 feet. Visitors can find other large trees throughout the park. Alongside the waterway, guests should look for the trees with knees, bald cypress. A tree with a spread as wide as it is tall, look for the weeping beech that will grow up to 50 feet tall.
Thanks to students at the Harley School, the wildflower garden should put on a spectacular show in early spring with the bright, white blossoms of trillium. As always, thanks to the Webster garden clubs, we are looking forward to the beautiful perennial, dahlia, and scented herb gardens putting on a show from May through October.
With the completion of the Monroe County Water pipeline, we now have a "boulevard" collection of weeds and grasses that volunteered to fill the disturbed ground. This area will present a challenge in its design and preparation. The soil has been thoroughly mixed with rocks making digging particularly difficult. Among initial proposals for this area is the installation of a pathway extending the Seaway Trail and bordered by super-hardy trees and shrubs.
The conifer garden suffered the loss of several pines to insect damage and disease. That space will be replanted with other evergreens. In fact, it is hoped that the Arb's conifer collection will expand this year. The Landscape Development Committee will seek membership in the American Conifer Society and endeavor to take advantage of the services they offer. Also in the plans for 2014 will be an effort to rehabilitate the antique rose garden and rejuvenate the healing garden.
The Arb has been planned and planted to have visual interest from the earliest flowering spring plants, trees, and shrubs to the latest fall colors and winter berries and seeds. It also takes advantage of our horticultural zone 6 by planting some less frequently seen species of plants. Visitors to the Arb will find the reliable garden friends that can be readily found in local nurseries as well as that flora that takes the wider approach of an Internet search.
The Arb is open year round, 365 days, dawn to dusk! There are paths for an easy, leisurely stroll, a more rustic trail (kept clear by the Friends of Webster Trails) for a woodland hike, open spaces for more active recreation, benches in quiet places, babbling brook and quiet pond, a playground for children, and tables for picnics. Think of the Arb in winter for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Wildlife is abundant; bird watching is good year round.
The Arb Board deeply appreciates the support of its membership base. The Arb has 95 annual members and 39 lifetime members, some from as far away as Colorado and Florida. The community supports the Arb through the membership drive ($25/year, $250/lifetime), memorial gifts, brick donations, bequests, and participation in our plant sales and events.
The Arb was the beneficiary this year of several significant gifts in memory of loved ones. From small to large, walkway brick to plant stock to granite bench, the Arb is grateful for the gifts that allow our mission to continue.
We are most appreciative of the support of the Town of Webster for grounds and building maintenance. This depth of community support is critical to the horticultural expansion and health of the Arb. We profoundly appreciate the monetary support of our public and we treasure those of you willing to get your hands and knees dirty in our soil. More than 100 people got to work at the Arb for the 2013 United Way Day of Caring and what an awesome difference they made! We will be renewing our effort this year to provide our public with more and different opportunities to give their time to garden maintenance.
We invite you to visit our website for more information and for opportunities to get involved. You can see photos and more by liking us on Face Book. Let's believe in the future together!
Submitted by Marian Welter, Board Member