Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Deep in the Weeds, Photography by Rob Cardillo

If you haven't stopped by the Visitor Center in a while, there is a striking new addition to the Upper Gallery you won't want to miss. Deep in the Weeds is a colorful, vibrant exhibit from Philadelphia photographer, Rob Cardillo.

Like people, plants are prone to mingling. Reaching for the sun, embracing tendrils, crossing stems, they're woven into tapestries of shifting textures and colors. In roadside weed patches, native plant communities and even well-tended garden beds, Rob Cardillo has framed nuanced gestures between twig and leaf, petal and pod, creating layered images with a photosynthetic pulse. Through his lens, we see abstract beauty in the interplay of shapes, color and light, yet the images remain fully grounded and invite us to commune with nature's silent social network.

Rob Cardillo has professionally photographed plants, gardens and the people that tend them for over twenty years.  His work appears regularly in Horticulture, Country Gardens, Organic Gardening, The New York Times and many other magazines, books and advertisements. To see Rob Cardillo’s work visit

Deep in the Weeds, photography by Rob Cardillo
On display beginning February 3 -  Opening Reception March 17, 1:00 - 3:00pm
Located in the Upper Gallery at Widener Visitor Center
Free with admission.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Philly Bees' Stake in Pollination

by Stephanie Wilson, Endowed Plant Protection Intern

This past fall, I have been running around Philadelphia with an insect net in hand, surveying the wild bees (non-honey bees) in Philadelphia. The very fact that you can grow many vegetables and flowers in the city is because wild bees are present and pollinating. But very little is known about these city slickers and how they survive such a rough habitat: pavement instead of bare ground (which they dig nests in), patches of flowers instead of rolling meadows, and competition from non-native bee species that are slipping in through our shipping ports. This is exactly what I am researching as part of a survey of the flora and fauna that the USGS is conducting.

Stephanie Wilson (L) and Bombus impatiens (Common Eastern Bumblebee) pollinating a gentian Gentiana sp. (R)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Summer Adventure Like No Other

It may be winter now, but any experienced parent knows summer will be here before we know it. That means sunshine, warm weather, and the kids constantly asking "What are we doing today!?" Summer camp to the rescue!

We know there are many choices out there for parents to select from, but we've got a few good reasons why Morris Arboretum's Summer Adventure Camp is like no other:
  1. We've got bugs... BIG BUGS! This summer 11 huge bug sculptures are invading our garden and we've got some pretty exciting activities planned around them that will keep campers hopping (grasshopping that is!).
  2. An Elevated Experience! One of our most popular garden features, Out on a Limb Tree Adventure becomes a place for campers to take part in yoga, storytelling, and more all among the tree canopy.
  3. Delightful Discounts! Register before March 1 and receive 10% off camp tuition. Discounts are also given to siblings.
  4. Something for Everyone! Our camp provides a beautiful, natural setting with diverse programming that includes wetland discovery, arts & crafts, cooking, journal writing, critter collecting, and even treasure hunts!

Dates & Details:

Four Sessions to Chose from: June 24-28, July 8-12, July 15-19, and/or July 22-26
Time: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm
Cost: $265 for Morris Arboretum members; $285 for non-members 
2013 Registration is now open, sign up today:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wonderful Witchhazels!

It's about this time of year when most of us have had quite enough of bleak winter weather and are longing for the vibrancy of spring. It seems nature has a way of knowing this and provides a mid-winter reprieve: colorful, sweetly-scented witchhazels!

Join us Sunday, February 17 from 1:00 - 3:00pm for our annual Witchhazel is Your Favorite family event, a day of outdoor fun and garden exploration! Follow the prepared scavenger hunt map to discover the many varieties of witchhazels growing at the Morris Arboretum. Ranging in color from yellow and orange to pink and red, witchhazels are some of the first harbingers of spring, and the Arboretum’s witchhazel collection is unparalleled in the area. The scavenger hunt invites visitors to compare the different varieties’ beautiful flowers and take in their heady scent. After the hunt, visitors can stop back at the Visitor Center to make a fun craft. This event is free with regular admission and registration is not required.

Download the scavenger hunt map (also available at the Visitor Center):

Don't Forget: Kids under 17 visit Free in February!

Can't get enough of witchhazels? Register for an exclusive, inside look at the collection with Morris Arboretum Director of Horticulture, Anthony Aiello.

An Inside Look at the Witchhazel Collection 
March 2, 1:00 - 3:00pm Register Today

Monday, February 11, 2013

Jump-Start Your Spring Planting

"And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see

An early Spring for you and me." -Punxsutawney Phil

What better way to jump-start your garden plans than by attending one of our many Spring course offerings. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or an eager novice, there's something for everyone! Below are a few course highlights.  Click here to see our full offering of classes.

Planting Design for the Home Landscape  
with John Shandra, Registered Landscape Architect
Five Wednesdays: March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17 
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Register Now

Topics include: site analysis, developing functional diagrams, and considerations of color, form, and texture in the garden.

American Idols: Native Plants to Love
with Catherine Renzi, Owner, Yellow Springs Farm Native Plant Nursery
Saturday, March 16 
10:00a.m. - 12:00 noon 
Register Now

Learn about great native plants for your garden. They require less maintenance, do not need watering (except during establishment), chemical pesticides and fertilizers, or frequent cutting back.

Three Seasons of Outrageous Color from Perennials
with Kerry Ann Mendez, Garden Designer and Owner of Perennially Yours

Friday, March 22 
• 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 
Register Now

Discover spectacular perennials for sun and shade that will brighten your landscape from spring through fall.

Great Hardy Native Ferns

with Gregg Tepper, Director of Horticulture, Mt. Cuba Center
Wednesday, March 27
 • 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Register Now

Gregg will discuss native fern identification, growth habits, as well as culture, and point out the many redeeming qualities that make ferns a pleasure to grow and show in the garden.

Rhododendrons for Your Landscape
with Karel Bernady, American Rhododendron Society 
Saturday, May 18 
• 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Register Now

In this class you will learn what a rhododendron is and how to choose plants that will do well in our area and how to care for them once they are planted.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Longtime Botanist Retires From Morris Arboretum

Today, in a world that revolves around technology, one of Ann Rhoads’ greatest pleasures is taking her grandchildren for woodland walks. As someone whose career has involved spending a significant amount of time outdoors, Ann has always encouraged people of all ages to appreciate and take pleasure in the natural world. In January, Ann retired from a long and prolific career at the Morris Arboretum. Ann served as Director of Botany at the Arboretum from 1976 to 2000, at which time she stepped back to the position of Senior Botanist in order to allow now Director Tim Block to assume the position.

An expert in the flora of Pennsylvania, Ann and former Arboretum Director, Bill Klein, built on work initiated in the 1930s by Edgar T. Wherry by creating the Flora of PA database. Today the database holds approximately 400,000 specimen records from the major Pennsylvania herbaria. During her tenure, the botany department at the Morris Arboretum also produced several important books.  In 1993, The Vascular Flora of PA, Annotated Checklist and Atlas by Rhoads and Klein was published by the American Philosophical Society.  The Plants of Pennsylvania, An Illustrated Manual by Rhoads and Block, first published in 2000 by the University of Pennsylvania Press, has proven to be a valuable resource both within and outside the state. A second edition, incorporating recent taxonomic changes, was published in 2007. Trees of Pennsylvania appeared in 2005, and Aquatic Plants of Pennsylvania was released in 2011.

Ann has also taught and mentored students through the years both at the Morris Arboretum--supervising or co-supervising the Plant Protection and Pennsylvania flora interns, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught Plant Systematics and Field Botany.  An active spokesperson for environmental issues, Ann was instrumental in drawing attention to the issue of deer overabundance and its severe impact on the structure and composition of Pennsylvania’s forests and natural areas. She has served on statewide committees and developed reports to help educate the public about the importance of this issue.

Even though she is retiring from the Arboretum, Ann says she will continue to expand her knowledge of plants, and will still be involved at the Arboretum, helping out in botany and maybe even writing another book.  In the meantime, her message not only for her grandchildren, but for all of us is a simple one- “Get out into the woods!”