Friday, July 17, 2009

Swarthmore Woody Plants Conference... Amy, Lynn, Barbara, Nathan, Young, and I went today

So the National Arboretum was well represented in the audience. Of course, Richard Olsen, lead scientist for the USNA's urban tree breeding program gave a talk that was so intellectually challenging that it kept the entire hall awake for that last shift before lunchtime. It sounds odd but I'm not kidding. Nobody nodded off because they were concentrating too hard! Rick Lewandowski suggested a solution to an area of dry shade at the Library: Box Huckleberry, Gaylussacia brachycera, and reminded me that I need to propagate Clinopodium georgianum. It's a honey of a sub-shrumbin the Fabaceae.

I always enjoy both the Perennial Plant Conference and the Woody Plants Conference at Swarthmore. I tend to question the usefulness of many programs and presentations, not aloud or in print because that would be rude and could be hurtful. However, after attending a number of these events, I can say truthfully that I have never walked away without feeling inspired and I've always learned things.

The entire campus of Swarthmore comprises the Scott Arboretum. The plantings are varied, interesting, and largely mature, including any number of impressive specimen plants. I always enjoy the seasonal plantings around the Arboretum office. We ranged afield during breaks and at lunch finding the Clematis texensis in the middle picture, the purple-leafed Solanum in the bottom photo, and (NOTE) a Ribbon or, get this, Tapeworm! Plant, Homalocladium platycladium, a Polygonaceous from the South Pacific. And Strobilanthes gossypinus. If you get the chance to attend one of these conference and see the Arboretum, take it!

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