From the Director
Fall Message, 2010
Autumn finally arrived September 23rd and not a minute too soon!
This past summer was a 25-year record for high temperatures and lack of precipitation and the arboretum suffered considerably. Turf grass was the most obvious victim but we lost a couple dozen trees and numerous shrubs in spite of the Grounds Departments best efforts to irrigate. In general, the arboretum’s collection is healthy and we will continue to improve soil conditions, mulch new and existing planting and monitor all the plants to provide optimal growing conditions. In anticipation of a cool autumn, with ample rainfall, I am confident we can keep the campus looking fine.
This past summer we completed the landscape for our new Medical School.
There are numerous woody plants worth noting but first I will discuss the herbaceous perennials which blanket the ground. The main ground cover is an herb from Asia called Acorus gramineus or Sweet Flag. It has grassy sword-like leaves variegated in gold and green. There are actually two varieties in the mix. One called ‘Ogon’ and the other ‘Oboruzuki’. Height is 12" or less.
The four drifts of herbaceous perennials which flank the main entrance contain a mixture of texture and colors to provide interest throughout the seasons. There is a cross of our native Wild Indigo, Baptisia x Carolina Moonlight with butter yellow flowers. Guara is one of my favorites for long bloom and a fine texture. This variety called ‘Whirling Butterflies’ has a great descriptive name with white winged petals that are held high above the foliage and last throughout summer into Fall. In mid-summer a multitude of daisy-type flowers abound including; Coneflowers, Black-Eyed Susan, Blanket Flower, Sunflowers and Shasta Daisy.
Two grassy plant introductions include the upright growing Feather Reed Grass and a low spreading sedge called ‘Toffee Twist’. The sedge had toffee brown foliage which compliments the many plant groupings in orange and yellows.
The woody plant introductions are Quercus alba or White Oaks to the edges of the athletic field west of the building. This is one of our most picturesque and stately native trees and will add great structure to the openness of the site. A pair of Ilex pedunculosa or Longstalk Holly flank the north door. They differ from most hollies in their leaf margins which are not toothed as in most holly but smooth or entire. The plant looks deciduous but is truly evergreen. The common name comes from the bright red berries which dangle from ‘long’ stalks. Our native River Birch was chosen over the high-maintenance European and White Birches due to the fact that it is virtually immune to the killer bronze birch borers. Their bark is a cinnamon beige instead of white yet still quite striking. Other shrubs include the apricot pink flowering quince, a disease resistant Knock-Out Rose called ‘Sunny’, and the late winter blooming Buttercup Winterhazel.
Stroll over and enjoy, any time of year!
Don’t forget to click on the ‘In Bloom’ link to peruse the many wonders of the Hofstra Arboretum. It is a great way to get ideas for your own garden, taking note of just which week or month you can expect them to bloom, berry, or just look interesting right here on Long Island.
Director of the Hofstra University Arboretum