Plants of the Week: August 1

Ulmus americana yellow fall color (7) JWCUlmus americana, commonly known as the American elm, is a large deciduous tree, native throughout the eastern half of North America. The tree used in the picture is the class tree of 1875, making this a relatively old tree. The American elm used to be one of the more widespread trees in forests of its native zone, but Dutch elm disease, which is spread by the elm bark beetle, killed off many elms in the early 1900s. All the elms on campus are injected with a fungicide to prevent it from getting Dutch elm disease. The American elm is …

Continue reading »

Lifecycles: Trametes versicolor

June 4 2015 RHR 112Over the years the Arboretum has created various forms of ephemeral art using dead or dying trees (In the Shadow of Abracadabra or Bender oak sculpture.) These efforts bring attention to the complete lifecycle of trees and plants as they age and pass in landscape. The latest addition, Tsuga canadensis Pendula Purpurea, is currently showcasing how even in death a tree supports many forms of life.

John Bickel, assistant horticulist, spray painting the large branches  of Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula'.

John Bickel, assistant horticulturist, spray painting the large branches of Tsuga canadensis ‘Pendula’. photo credit: R. Robert

Last spring Josh Coceano, horticulturist, and John Bickel, assistant horticulturist, painted the deceased Tsuga canadensis

Continue reading »

Plants of the Week: July 25

Perovskia atriplicifolia.DCA5

Perovskia atriplicifolia

Before entering the front door of the Wister Center, one will likely notice a strikingly beautiful mass of Perovskia atriplicifolia herbaceous subshrub in full-bloom.  Also called Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia is perennial, produces spikes of fragrant, blue blooms during midsummer, and can rapidly grow a bit over 5 feet tall. Perovskia atriplicifolia is native to steppes and high mountains, likes full sun and actually prefers nutrient-poor soil; for that reason, Russian sage is being considered as a candidate in phytoremediation efforts.

Similar to other members of the Lamiaceae family, Perovskia atriplicifolia produces essential oils with a variety of …

Continue reading »