A Garden for Secrets

Plague for Chica Maynard '48 garden. photo credit. R. Robert

As the College prepares for Alumni Weekend, the Scott Arboretum is preparing to celebrate the installation of new garden, Chica Maynard ’48 garden. In the tradition of Swarthmore alumni, the Class of 1948 has established the Chica Maynard ’48 Cherry Border Fund in honor of, you guessed it, Carolien ‘Chica’ Powers Maynard, class of 1948.

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Carolien Powers '22 "whisper bench". photo credit: R. Robert

This fund will allow for the maintenance, upkeep, and enhancements of the Cherry Border and the “whisper bench”. The bench was originally a gift from Chica Maynard’s grandmother in honor of Chica Maynard’s mother, Carolien Powers ’22. In 1972, a white oak fell on the bench shattering it. Through the generosity of Chica Maynard and her father, the bench was completely rebuilt. With this rich history of generations of loyal alumnae, the Class of 1948 was inspired to establish this fund to perform immediate maintenance on the bench, enhance the gardens around the bench, and create a fund to ensure the long term care of the area.

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Ceris canadensis 'Pauline Lily' creating garden backdrop to the "whisper bench." photo credit: R. Robert

Designed by Sam Keitch, curatorial intern, and Andrew Bunting, curator, the Chica Maynard ’48 garden was intended to have a natural feel and serve as subtle backdrop to the “whisper bench.” As a part of the Meetinghouse woods, the canopy consists of native trees, thus native plants were selected for the understory. Perennials were planted in sweeps to create a gentle backdrop.

Two native redbuds, Ceris canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’, were planted as understory trees. ‘Pauline Lily’ has a soft lilac bloom instead of the traditional pink to red blooms of a redbud.

The next layer of understory is Rhododendron ‘Snowbird’. This deciduous azalea has very fragrant delicate pink-flushed white flowers in the spring. Imagine whispering your secrets along the curve of the “whisper bench” and catching the delightful fragrance of ‘Snowbird’. In addition to the fragrance, ‘Snowbird’ features lovely orange fall color with red to yellow tones, as well as resistant to powdery mildew.

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Plugs of Tiarella cordifolia 'Brandywine' planted surrounding the "whisper bench." photo credit. R. Robert

Among the perennial sweeps, you will find Tiarella cordifolia ‘Brandywine’. Part of the River Series introduced by Adam Dunvegan Nursery, ‘Brandywine’ is named for our local river. This Tiarella is a robust clump former for a shade garden. It produces creamy white flowers in the spring, which are a presence in the garden for 6 to 8 weeks. The glossy leaves turn an beautiful bronze fall and winter color to add to the fall colors of the cherry border.

During your visit to Scott Arboretum explore the upper corner of the Cherry Border near the weeping cherries. Here you will find a bench designed to share secrets and a garden to help forget the worry of secrets.

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