Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Up On the Roof

Autumn is the loveliest season on the intensive green roof, in the aerial gardener's opinion. The grasses have matured, displaying seed heads that dance in the slightest breeze, held high above tawny foliage. Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low' glows crimson and copper, igniting the roof with fiery splashes. Keen eyed observers may spot standard dwarf iris cultivars blooming, such as citrine 'Prince Pele'. Spiky yuccas sport yellow and green striped foliage, striking a pose even after their September blooms have faded.

Bloomfield Farm Day presents a rare opportunity for the public to view the green roof. Free with admission, the roof will be the backdrop to this fun-filled day celebrating agricultural history, including demonstrations, animals, and live music. The Horticulture Center and historic Springfield Mills will also be open for tours. Find out more on our website.

Article by Louise Clarke, aerial gardener.
Photos by Louise Clarke (top) and Rebekah Armstrong (bottom).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Color Favorites at Morris Arboretum

Autumn is one of the most popular times to visit the Morris Arboretum and visitors enjoy the vibrant display of color throughout the garden. Mid-October is a great time to begin your fall color wanderings through the gardens, returning whenever you can into November.

Be sure to explore some of our visitor and staff favorites:
  • From Widener Visitor Center towards Gates Hall, between the small parking lot and the Orange Balustrade you will find Acer palmatum ‘Heptalobum’, one of the most outstanding Japanese maples for red fall color.  Continuing from there toward Gates Hall, you will see the incredible golden foliage of Princeton Gold Chinese witchhazel (Hamamelis mollis ‘Princeton Gold’).
  • At the bottom of the Holly Slope, tucked behind the signature katsura-tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), are several broad-leaved evergreens.  These are Camellia oleifera (tea-oil camellia), with its beautiful white flowers, and Camellia sinensis, the plant from which tea is made, with its small white flowers. 
  • Around the corner from the Holly Slope is one of the most interesting plants for fall color, used as a hedge surrounding the Long Fountain, Lindera salicifolia (one of the Asian spicebushes).  This plant colors very late in the fall turning a variety of reds, yellows, and oranges, before the leaves fade to russet and persist through the winter.  
  • Downstream from the Swan Pond, along the East Brook are several plants of a native shrub, southern blackhaw viburnum (Viburnum rufidulum) with burgundy-colored leaves and bright blue fruits that are attractive to birds. Behind these stands the majestic Engler beech (Fagus engleriana) with its russet-red fall color and leaves that also persist into winter.
  • Surrounding the Engler beech are a number of small trees, including Stewartia pseduocamellia (Japanese stewartia) with beautiful bark, white flowers in June, and rich red-orange fall color; nearby is Parrotia persica (Persian parrotia) a medium-sized tree also with beautiful bark and leaves that start out with deep purple color before turning a mix of yellows, oranges, and reds. 
  • Finally, along the path near the Mercury Loggia is a concentration of witchhazels, including Sandra vernal witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis ‘Sandra’), noteworthy for its red fall foliage.

These are just a few of the autumn gems on display at the Arboretum, with many more awaiting your discovery. Take the time to explore the Morris Arboretum this fall – you will probably see some old friends and no doubt discover some new favorites!

Acer palmatum 'Heptalobum'
Camellia sinensis
Fagus engleriana
Hamamelis mollis 'Princeton Gold'

Hamamelis vernalis 'Sandra'

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bald Eagles Spotted at Morris Arboretum

Photo courtesy of Ruth Pfeffer

Bald eagles have been spotted several times during the week of October 7 soaring over the Arboretum's wetlands. Adult bald eagles have dark brown bodies and wings with white heads and tails. Their legs and bills are bright yellow. Immature birds have mostly dark heads and tails; their brown wings and bodies are mottled with white. It takes young birds five years to get attain adult plumage. The bald eagle dwarfs most other raptors, including the turkey vulture and red-tailed hawk. It has a heavy body, large head, long, hooked bill and a 7 to 8 foot wing span. A bald eagle in flight holds its broad wings flat.

Morris Arboretum is sponsoring a trip to the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River to see bald eagles. The eagles feed on fish as they come over the dam. The trip is scheduled for Tuesday, December 11 leaving from the Arboretum at 7:45 am. For more details visit or call 215-247-5777 ext. 125.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Fall Tradition on Display...

A big 'Thank You' to all who came out for our Fall Festival this past weekend!

After a rainy weekend the sun is finally shining on our gardens and the weather is just right to come see a fall tradition at Morris Arboretum... The 5th Annual Scarecrow Walk! More than 30 creative 'crows await you along the Oak Alle. See if you can spot The Lorax or Strawbacca, or Rapunzel with her new straw hairdo. Make sure to snap a photo with these crazy cast of characters and vote for your favorite! The Scarecrow Walk is on display now through October 21. See you in the garden.