Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fixing The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace was completed by Patrick Dougherty about a year ago and has been one of the favorite exhibits here at the Morris Arboretum for a lot of our visitors.  The Summer Palace has held up well over the last year but the record breaking snow this winter has paid a toll and collapsed some of the upper sections.  Fortunately, the sculpture can be saved and we are working on fixing the sculpture over the next couple of weeks.  We will be adding photos to our blog for you to check out the progress.  This weekend would be a great opportunity to come and take a look at the Summer Palace and take some "before" shots (from afar, of course).

From Rob Cardillo, taken Summer, 2009

Taken today, March 31, 2010

More pictures and information to come...We will be introducing you to the people working on the project, what they are doing and pictures of the action - stay tuned.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A rainy day

Even though it is a rainy day at the Morris Arboretum, I was able to capture a little beauty on my way in the door this morning.  It looks like the weather towards the end of the week is going to be amazing and I imagine we are going to have great visitation this weekend.  The sun is coming out on Wednesday afternoon and it will be a perfect time to make it to the Arboretum and take a nice stroll and a few pictures.

Did you know that Morris Arboretum is holding its first Photo and Video contest this year?  We are planning on receiving a number of submissions so bring your cameras with you to the Arboretum and enter the contest!  Details are on our webpage - just look for the camera icon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Installing the Green Roof at the brand new Horticulture Center

The new Horticulture Center is very exciting for the Morris Arboretum and for the University of Pennsylvania as it is a prime example of the sustainability movement that we are seeing in modern architecture.  Numerous systems and details of the building have been thought out, engineered and executed as we hope to achieve Platinum LEED certification.  The Horticulture Center is environmentally friendly, aesthetically beautiful and a great place to work.

Over the last couple of days, we have been installing the green roof on the building and we have gotten some good press coverage as the green roof is a very visible green feature.  A Green Roof is essentially a “living roof,” that – through plant cover –reduces a building’s absorption of ambient heat, thus keeping the interior cooler and more energy efficient.  More information on the green roof can be found on the Horticulture Center webpage.

The roof is first prepared to receive vegetation with several different layers of waterproof, root blocking and drainage membranes.  You can see the different layers in the photo below.

The medium is shipped on pallets and then hoisted onto the roof.  The medium is the artificial soil in which the rooftop vegetation will grow.

After the medium is installed, the sedum is hoisted onto the roof in rolls like turf.

The jute is rolled back up and the sedum is then installed on top of the medium.

Keep visiting the blog for more pictures to come as the vegetation matures.

View the full sized images and more in our Flickr set

In bloom at Morris Arboretum - Can anyone name all these flowers?

I am posting just a few snapshots of what is in bloom at the Morris Arboretum right now.  I took these photos yesterday in the drizzling rain.  I am looking forward to the next few sunny days which will provide even better photo opportunities.  The Morris Arboretum is also putting on its first Photo and Video competition.  The competition isn't over until the end of June, so there is plenty of time to take pictures throughout the spring.  Details can be found here.

The next couple of days and this weekend will be a great time to come and visit.  I know everyone is excited about the spring coming and I am looking forward to seeing the Arboretum and the flowers in all their glory.  Can anyone name all these flowers in the pictures?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Town & Country - April issue

Out on a Limb

When Philadelphia’s Morris Arboretum hired architect Alan Metcalfe to create a family exhibit, he vetoed the usual children’s garden, where mothers often end up stranded with their tots. Instead, he designed suspended walkways leading to decks fifty feet above ground, affording vistas grand enough to attract adults but frightening enough to thrill children. “What we didn’t count on was the social component,” says Metcalfe about the Tree Adventure, which opened last summer. On any given weekend, kids sprawl on giant faux robins’ eggs in an enclosed nest, and families may be found congregating on rope netting that covers holes in a deck built around trees. Couples gaze upward as if in a hammock, while mothers watch children roll down and crawl back up the mesh of ropes. “Parents are a bit nervous about going out there,” Metcalfe says. “It’s exciting for kids to feel they’re the ones in control.” 100 East Northwestern Avenue; 215-247-5777; Cathleen McCarthy

Friday, March 12, 2010


Walking into work today, I noticed the very distinct smell of witchhazel, the lack of snow on the ground (finally) and I got excited about the upcoming time change with Spring right around the corner.  The Morris Arboretum has a number of witchhazel plants currently in bloom around the garden and it is a lot of fun to walk around the garden and see other flowers starting to sprout up as well.

I also read a great post on witchhazels at Morris Arboretum from Kelly at the "life out of doors" blog - check it out - it looks like she has a good following of fellow garden lovers.

Check out a few pictures of witchhazels from the garden: