Monday, April 26, 2010

Sue Serio from Fox Philly talks to Morris Arboretum's Bob Gutowski

Watch Sue Serio from Fox Philly talk with Bob Gutowski as he describes why the Morris Arboretum is such a great place to take a date. We connect people, plants and place here at the Morris Arboretum.

Judge Rendell

Listen to Judge Rendell's radio spot as heard on CBS radio stations:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sue Serio from Fox Philly Visits Morris Arboretum

Sue Serio paid a visit to the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill on Tuesday.  Paul Meyer, the director of the arboretum, says that attendance is off the charts because of the rough winter that we had.Morris Arboretum is going to be the featured garden in the region for National Garden Day. They will be celebrating that on May 7th.
Meyer says that public gardens are a good place to enjoy and connect with your family and friends, but they are also places of learning.  The Morris Arboretum was founded in 1887 by John and Lydia Morris.

From Fox:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cherry Blossom Festival

The Cherry Blossom Festival was another huge success this year.  Morris Arboretum has had a number of events going on over the last two weeks, including visits from the Cherry Blossom Queen, Swarthmore Taiko Drummers and many others.  This past weekend was hugely popular thanks to the amazingly energetic performance by the Taiko Drummers as well as an archery demonstration.

Enjoy some photos of the Swarthmore Taiko Drummers and the archery demonstration.

The archer pulls the arrow back on the bow in meditation, remembering the ancient discipline where the qualities of heart and mind come together at the moment of the arrow's release...

And releases...

The Taiko Drummers beat drums together in a rhythmic pounding beat.  Historically, Taiko drumming has been used during the Feudal times to motivate, coordinate and signal troop movement.  This was a very intense performance and required rhythm, strength and stamina.

Here is another view of two drummers and an onlooking crowd enjoying the performance.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Japanese Cherry Blossom Queen

On Monday, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Queen received an enthusiastic welcome by excited children at the Morris Arboretum.  This years Queen traveled from Tokyo, Japan and has been part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, hosted by Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia.  Here are a few pictures:

A young girl poses with the 2010 Cherry Blossom queen, wearing the traditional Kimono.

Director Paul Miller and children pose with the Cherry Blossom Queen under a beautiful blooming cherry blossom tree at the Morris Arboretum.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Morris Arboretum Wetlands Provide an Ideal Site for Bird-Sightings

 Male Baltimore Oriole that nests at the wetlands every year
and during migration can be seen throughout the Morris Arboretum.

If you’ve ever driven by the Morris Arboretum’s wetlands and meadow on your way up the hill to visit the garden and never stopped, you are missing out on some wonderful wildlife.

On May 12th from 8am-10am, join expert birder Ruth Pfeffer to learn about the birds found at the Morris Arboretum during the spring season. The wetlands area provides great habitat for a wide variety of birds year-round, but it really comes alive in spring. You’ll see resident nesting birds and spring migrants as they move north for the summer. You’ll learn about the species richness of this very important wildlife area and what makes it such a great place for our feathered friends. Attendees should bring binoculars. Leader, Ruth Pfeffer will provide the wealth of her expertise and enthusiasm about her subject that is infectious, plus a spotting scope and birding books. Loaner binoculars are available. 

Cost is $20 for Arboretum members and $25 for non-members.

Fox 29 visits Morris Arboretum to investigate pollen and allergies

'Tis The Season For Allergies

We noticed an abnormally high amount of people around the office sneezing over that past week or so. Their eyes seemed a bit puffy and they kept reaching for tissues.  We wondered, is this the worst year to date for allergies?  Fox 29 reporter and allergy sufferer Sharon Crowley went to the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill to find some answers.

Arboretum Director Paul Meyer did not say that this year is the worst – but he did reveal that the recent heat wave caused a lot of plants to bloom at once. This caused a burst of pollen to infiltrate our area.  Our very own Dr. Mike said to try and stay inside and change your air filters often.  Relief to allergy sufferers should occur around mid-June.

Story from Fox 29,

Video here:

Monday, April 12, 2010

New shots of the exterior of the Horticulture Center

The new Horticulture Center is almost finished!  Although the interior is largely complete and some staff are beginning to move in, there is still some landscaping, paving and punch list items that remain.  I was able to take a tour last week and was impressed by the beauty and design of this building.  The new Hort Center, slated for LEED Certification is designed to take advantage of the natural sunlight for both aesthetic and energy efficiency effect.  You can see from the first picture that the large storefront windows allow indirect light in the office area and wooden slats provide shade so that the sunlight does not penetrate directly into the space and cause glare and heat gain.

This second picture is a slightly different angle and a more close-up view of the window system.  The extensive use of glass and stone on the exterior and the interior of the building minimize the difference between the interior and exterior environments of the building.  I imagine the experience working in the building is like a conditioned outside office.

Another interesting feature is the use of rain chains that you can see in this picture at the corner of the building.  These chains hang straight down the gutter as a minimalist alternative to downspouts.  They add an aesthetic appeal and are used widely in Japan.  

Finally, you can see that the sedum on the the extensive green roof is starting to take root and grow from this picture.  Thanks to our Director, Paul Meyer, for these photos!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seasons is a winner!

Big week for the Arboretum with the Penn’s Models of Excellence award for Out on a Limb, and now another award from the Garden Writers Association for our newsletter.

Seasons newsletter has received the Silver Award of Achievement for the 2010 Garden Writers Association Media Awards Program. It was among 238 entries judged by a panel of distinguished members of the gardening, communications and academic communities. The award will be announced at the 62nd GWA Annual Symposium, held in September in Dallas, TX.

Our Silver Awards makes us eligible for the GWA Garden Media Gold Awards for Best Talent and Best Product.

Thank you to everyone who contributes their time and articles (and gorgeous photos!) to the newsletter, and especially to Christine Pape, our esteemed editor who never fails to produce a beautiful publication season after season.

You can check out an archive of Seasons newsletters here...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Out on a Limb - Landscape Architecture

Take a look at the Out on a Limb story that was published in Landscape Architecture magazine, March 2010.
It features some great photos by Paul Warchol. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

In Bloom - April 5

It is beautiful at the Morris Arboretum right now, especially the cherry and magnolias.  With so many things beginning to bloom in the next few weeks, it is a perfect time to pick up your camera and take some photos. 

Mason Bees at Morris Arboretum

I have some good news and some bad news about Mason Bees.  The bad news is that they live solitary lives and don't produce honey like Honey Bees.  The good news is that they don't sting and they live solitary lives - more on why that is good news below.  Mason bees are excellent pollinators and the Morris Arboretum houses a number of them at Bloomfield Farm (the site of the new Horticulture Center).

In the last several years, there has been great concern about the declining honey bee population due to the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  CCD is of significant concern because many plants depend on pollination from Honey Bees.  In contrast, Mason Bees are solitary bees and don't have the same type of colony structure and therefore are not affected by CCD.  The Mason Bees are pollinators just like Honey Bees - and pollinate many plants around the Arboretum - without the threat of CCD.

Morris Arboretum also has Honey Bees and we sell our own honey at the Gift Shop - honey makes a great gift and is supposedly helpful with allergies.

You can find out more about Mason bees here:

A close up shot of a Mason Bee: I was happy to find out that they don't sting and I could get up and close with the bees to take a picture.

A picture from the Mason Bee box at Bloomfield Farm - the female bees enter into these cavities where they will lay their eggs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An inside look on repairing The Summer Palace

Morris Arboretum's The Summer Palace is beautiful in its exclusive use of natural material and considerations were made to keep the exhibit intact as long as possible.  The Summer Palace has openings built into the top of the sculpture that not only act as natural windows for light but also serve to minimize snow load that can accumulate.  During the major snow event this winter (with more than 40 inches of snow in a week), snow accumulated and the sculpture began to sag as you can see in previous pictures.  Fortunately, the natural materials that make up the exhibit have 'memory' and should be able to be reworked to their original configuration with a little help.

Currently, Andy Lynch is working with Morris Arboretum staff and interns to repair The Summer Palace for visitors to enjoy in months to come.  Andy is from New York City and has worked with Patrick Dougherty on a number of similar sculptures in the past.  You can find out more about him and his projects at his website: and blog:

Andy (below) explains how he is using scaffolding, braces and jacks to bring the branches of the sculpture back to the original shape and height of the sculpture before the snow damage.  Metal bracing and scaffolding are only temporary as natural materials are reworked into the exhibit.

Additional branches and posts will be used to reinforce the sculpture and stabilize the original materials at approximately the previous height and configuration.  Andy explained that the easiest and best way to repair The Summer Palace is to reshape it as close to the original sculpture as possible.  You can see in the picture below the bracing and horizontal supports that will be jacked up to increase the height.
From the rear, you can see how The Summer Palace has drooped (see the left hand upper portion) as the roof structure collapsed.  Scaffolding around the back of the sculpture allow Andy and staff to gain access to the material on the upper portion of the sculpture and secure new posts and bracing made of natural materials.

More updates and pictures coming soon so keep checking back in.  Also, if there is a specific picture or question that you have, leave a comment and we can go and try to get some more information.