Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day Three- Adkins Arboretum and Home

The last day of the trip was along the eastern shore, on the Delmarva peninsula. If you live along the east coast and have occasion to drive north or south --take Route 13 for a lovely, peaceful drive.
We stayed in a Hampton Inn Wednesday night, nice hotel in its own right, but compared to the dorm........well, let's just say I felt like I was in the lap of luxury!!
Our stop on Thursday was the Adkins Arboretum. This is a 400 acre native garden and preserve. There is always discussion about native plants-- do you mean ones that came over with the colonists? Do you mean plants that naturalize well in the landscape? What about those plants that were brought over mid-1800's? At the Adkins Arboretum our docent said their interpretation was if the plant was here at the time of colonial settlement..not brought over from the 'Old Country'.
As the group was large we divided into two smaller groups. Each group was lead by a docent from the Arboretum and in one group our extension agent and the other had the botany professor. I was lucky to also have in my group a number of Tree Stewards. As the group wandered through the forested path a few of us lingered and assessed leaves, bark and other features to better ID plant material. I did take copious notes on the tour-- though not one photo. Imagine that!
Oaks, beech, elms, hickory, and Ironwood were some of the trees along the way. The tree whose leaf is used on the brochure is the Liriodendron tulipifera, Tulip Poplar. The Tulip Poplar was dropping spent blooms but the trees were so tall, we could not see the blooms on the trees.
So some elementary ID tips-- oaks- white oak's leaves have rounded lobes and red oaks have pointed lobes and a black oak...well, um, they say you can tell a black oak by its acorn. As it not acorn time, that was hard to know for sure. The back oak had rounded lobes with bristle tips on the lobes..but online the black oak it said to have pointed lobes. We also saw a Blackjack Oak. Oh the varieties!! Here is a wonderful comparison page for oaks, from leaves to bark to fruit. Comparison of oak features.
Ironwood, Carpinus caroliniana, also known as American Hornbeam is a nice tree. One of the best ID features of the ironwood is the shape of the trunk of the tree. The sides of the trunk are flattened...almost a soft square shape.
Maples-- one person said that Red maples have pointed sinuses and sugar maples don't. Have I been able to verify that? No. It was a reliable source though.
There were various hickory in the woods. I am still having a time with all of them. Let's just say my tree knowledge was increased and I have much more to learn!!
The Adkins Arboretum was having a plant sale...I know!! Serendipity! The lovely ladies who were riding with me bought me a sweet Blue Eyed Grass,Sisyrinchium angustifolium 'Lucerne' as a thank you for driving. What a thoughtful group!

This is not my Blue Eyed Grass-- I went out to take a picture of it two days ago...the bunnies had eaten the blooms already!!

On our way home we stopped at a nursery, Thomas Gardens. A well stocked nursery and greenhouse. As if there weren't enough plants in the cars and vans....more room was found!!
One plant that I bought was a Pennisetum 'Fireworks' --similar to the Rubrum in our area, an annual. I have never seen this variety before, so I figured it would be worth buying on the trip. The foliage is variegated with white and pink and purple and green. Really interesting. The grass is supposed to get 30- 36" tall.

Here ends our trip north and back. I hope everyone enjoyed hearing about the study trip. Please make sure to use the links and go to the various websites for each garden. If you can lend some information on more tree ID tips, PLEASE let me know. Beeches, birch, and elms still confuse me.


  1. Very nice Janet and it sounds like you had such a great trip.
    Well, those little booger butts eating all of your blooms. With you it's bunnies and with me it's chipmunks. He was at it again yesterday, it is hilarious and I got pictures of it all! ;-) But then it's not serious like losing the blooms off of your flowers like you did. Mostly it's the deer here who handle that department!

  2. I must have red oaks here. Good to know info! And I think it great you forgot to take photos. Sometimes it's too much of a problem and we NEED to just relax and enjoy. That is a great blue eyed grass indeed! Bad ole bunnies!

  3. Rain Gardener, thanks, I had a wonderful time, learned a lot and got to know a few MGs better. I will check out your chipmunk pictures again.
    Tina,sometimes it is better to enjoy your activity instead of documenting it. I got some blood meal and hopefullyt the bunnies will leave it alone!

  4. Good luck! Hopefully no dogs in your neighborhood, mine hunt out blood meal and bone meal. I can't even use it in the backyard where they roam. Grrr!

  5. I cannot tell you how many times I have been to Tina's gardens and forgot to snap one picture! LOL having too much fun chatting and strolling.... :-)

  6. I know Tina, mine like the smell of blood meal too. At least they don't eat the plant...just pee on it.
    Skeeter, sometimes it is good to leave the camera in the car and just enjoy.

  7. What a educational and fun garden tour Janet. I love the new Rubrum you picked up, the coloring is quite nice. I'll see you tomorrow at 9! :)

  8. Sounds good Racquel!! See you then!

  9. Sounds like you've had a great time. I still haven't pinpointed the locations of your garden excursions.

    The Musician is playing a gig in VA in a few weeks. We may stay in Lynchburg for one night and go to Jefferson's Poplar Forest.


  10. Thanks for taking us along on your tour. I have been to Thomas' several times and it is probably the best stocked garden center on the Shore. They have so much crammed into such a small space. The last time I was there my Horticultural OCD kicked in making me want to weed and organize the plants.

  11. Sounds great Cameron. Most of the gardens are in northern Virginia near DC or in DC. If you are in Lynchburg, I would recommend stopping by Monticello... not too far. Going up to DC is another couple hours (3?) from Lynchburg. Would like to hear more about the gig!

  12. Hey Les, sorry we couldn't see you today, will have to plan another field trip! Yes, Thomas' is really something....just keeps going back further and further. The mosquitos in the hosta area were killer!

  13. I suppose I can attribute my lack of knowledge of all of these gardens to still having a 'school-aged' child at home! I don't have the free time to go to most of these places right now;-( It sounds like you really learned a lot on this last trip. We have tulip poplars in our back yard and they've been dropping tulip/flowers for the last couple of weeks. They get quite annoying, to be honest. They drop directly into my garden and on the yard and I honestly could do without them.

  14. Hi Jan, you do have some great gardens in your backyard! The nice part is a few of them are free.
    Sorry to hear about the tulip poplars being a pain, I think we will have some in SC.

  15. It's fun to forget the camera from time to time and just relax, isn't it? I think I've missed so many moments because I was too worried about capturing them! Anyway, this last leg of your trip was thru my old stomping grounds ~ I lived on the Delmarva pennisula (Cambridge) and went to college in Salisbury. I'm not familiar with the Adkins Arboretum tho but I wasn't into gardening when I lived there. What a wonderful trip you had (I went back and read the older posts). I just purchased that pretty Blue-eyed Grass. It's so nice. I hope the bunnies leave this one alone.


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