Archive for December 2014

Celebrate by Planting Tree: Swarthmore College’s Sesquicentennial

As the year winds down, Swarthmore College brings the celebration of the sesquicentennial (150 year anniversary) to a close. Among the various performances, conferences, and gatherings, the College and Arboretum celebrate this momentous milestone the same way the College celebrated its founding, by planting a tree. In fact, the same species was planted by the founders, Quercus rubra.

In 1869, Quakers commemorated the founding of Swarthmore College by planting two red oaks. photo credit: Swarthmore College Archives

On November 10, 1869, Lucretia Coffin Mott (founder) along with 800 other Quakers planted two oak salpings on newly founded Swarthmore College’s then …

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Plants of the Week: December 15

Betula costata, the Korean birch, is considered by some to be the most attractive of all the birches. Young trees produce voluminous amounts of peeling bark. Trunks become more smooth and creamy white with age. Photo credit: J. Coceano

Garden location: Southwest corner of Sharples Dining Hall


Billbergia, like so many bromeliads, offer unusual foliage colorations and patterns and sport dramatic, otherworldly flowers. The Bromeliad Society/Houston is a fantastic online resource on bromeliads. Several Billbergia, overwintering in the Wister Center Greenhouses are in flower. The Society has this to say about Billbergia: “Billbergias grow mostly …

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Message in a Bottle: Garden Holiday Gifts

Everyone is always in search for a gift with a personal touch. Why not send a garden message in a bottle this holiday season? Practice upcycling and creating unique garden gifts even the non-gardener will enjoy.

All you need is:

  1. glass bottle (does not matter the kind)
  2.  goodies from the garden (bark, needles, leaves, berries)

Follow three simple steps:

1. Remove label from the bottle. (Some labels come off by scraping while others require a soak in water.)

2. Insert garden goodies into the bottle. (See tips below.)

3. Tie decorative ribbon around the top and add a gift tag. …

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