pring is fast approaching and with that comes a busy schedule for the staff of the Botanic Garden. We will start our spring cleanup as soon as the weather breaks, and then move to our usual mulching and planting in preparation for Commencement and Reunion. The staff will be working on two major improvements this spring along with our regular workload. One project is in the Green Street area, the other around College, Pierce, Lilly, and Seelye halls.
The Green Street project is still being refined, although initial decisions have been made. All of the trees and shrubs will be removed in the border from the Sage circle to the crosswalk leading to the campus post office. The sidewalk will be widened and a fence installed matching the fence along Elm Street. The pedestrian walks in this area will be realigned to lead foot traffic to the most logical points for crossing Green Street, the intent being to eliminate “goat tracks” across green space and tree roots. The final phase of this project is the replanting of trees, as recommended by the campus Landscape Master Plan, going back to Olmsted’s original plan. Tree selections will be made once a survey of the campus is completed and all construction is done in this area. The survey will identify and locate underground utilities. This will give us an accurate idea of where the utilities are so that we can avoid planting large trees on top of them.
The second project consists of removing most of the shrubs around College and Lilly halls and replanting with ground cover and turf. Large mulched areas around Seelye and Pierce halls will be planted with ground covers or seeded for lawn. We have ordered Matteuccia struthiopteris, ostrich fern, Geranium sanguineum ‘Album,’ a white-flowering geranium, and Epimedium grandiflorum, a white-flowering epimedium, for use in these areas, all of which should be here by mid-April.
We will continue the relocation of the Edith Bramwell Reilly Hand Wildflower Garden to the site below the President’s House, on the lower end of the vista. Final plans for this area are still being developed and we hope to begin some planting this spring. We installed new pathways last fall and are planning to build stone steps in some of the steeper terrain. Work will resume on this project as soon as the weather allows.
Additionally, we will be finishing the planting around the Lanning Fountain. Plants will include Geranium sanguineum ‘Album,’ a white geranium, Osmunda regalis ‘Purpurascens,’ royal fern, and Filipendula vulgaris ‘Flore Pleno,’ a double-flowered dropwort. Students in this spring’s Horticulture class will be working on redesigning and planting areas of the Sabin-Reed shade and fern garden, adjacent to the Lanning Fountain.
Although we have an aggressive schedule for this spring, I am confident that, with the talented staff we are lucky to have, we will be able to accomplish what we have planned and be ready for Commencement and Reunion weekends. We hope you will enjoy all of the improvements the staff of the Botanic Garden is making to our beautiful campus.
| fter a one year hiatus, the Smith College Botanic Garden Plant Sale returns to Burton Lawn on May 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (members of the Friends of the Botanic Garden will be admitted at 9:00 a.m.). If the
past is any indication we can expect some of the most knowledgeable and sharp-eyed gardeners in the region
to attend and do battle among our tables of rarities.
Over 100 different species of hardy plants and houseplants will be included, both native and exotic, grown from plants within the Garden's collections and from seed obtained from all corners of the globe. Among the offerings will be perennials such as Pulsatilla halleri, Aquilegia baikalensis, Kniphofia rooperi, Asarum canadense, and Mazus repans. Trees and shrubs include Maackia
|amurensis, Cephalotaxus koreana,
Callicarpa dichotoma, Acer griseum, and Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet.' Visitors to our conservatory always ask where they can get the plants we are growing, and we often have to tell them that the plants are not available commercially. Frequently we may have the only specimen in cultivation. From our thousands of plants we try to produce a quality list of tropical and subtropical houseplants.
We are still in the midst of rooting cuttings and potting up seedlings. Gabrielle Dean '00, Megan McIntyre '01, and Penelope Stranc '99 are helping to produce the thousands of plants that make up the sale. Funds raised from the sale help to support student research and plant collections improvements. So it is a simple formula: as you increase the beauty of your garden, you increase the beauty and utility of ours.
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