Archive for August 2008

Bananas at the Scott Arboretum

You need not travel to the tropics to see bananas growing and thriving. Over the last several years the Scott Arboretum has grown nearly a dozen kinds of bananas, including a couple species that are hardy in Swarthmore.

Without doubt my favorite banana is the red Abyssinian banana, Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurellii’. I have grown these at the Arboretum and in my home garden. A 4-foot tall banana planted in May will turn into a massive 10- to 12-foot tall bold-foliaged plant by the end of the summer. ‘Maurellii’ is selected for its ribbed, purple-blushed foliage with a striking red midrib …

Continue reading »

Angelica gigas

Reflecting on my time so far as the curatorial intern (I just finished my second month here), I would say one of my favorite parts of the job is my daily interaction with Scott staff, volunteers, and visitors. Inquisitive visitors often stop to chat and ask me questions; if I were to tally all these questions, the top three would probably be:

1) “Excuse me – Could you please tell me how to get to the admissions office (Parrish Hall)?”

2) “Wow! What is that plant?” (Referring to Musa sikkimensis, our resident banana plant that we planted about 3 …

Continue reading »

Building the many layers of the green roof

Just like creating an elaborate wedding cake, the construction of a green roof has many different layers all of which are crucial to a stunning finished product. For the past three days, the Furbish company has been creating the precise layers of the Kemp Hall green roof. Like most great bakers, the beneficiaries of their finished product are not aware of the process. While the massive crane lifts supplies onto the roof of Kemp Hall, a small number of unknowing students are moving into their new home for the year, unaware of the sustainable and attractive roof they will soon …

Continue reading »