March 30, 2009
Behind the Scenes
A Behind the Scenes Look… Our members and visitors rarely have the opportunity to visit and get a first hand glimpse of The Arboretum’s greenhouses and nursery facilities. The importance of these facilities to the operation of The Arboretum is immense. Our greenhouses and nursery are used to propagate, grow, and nurture plants for the many collections we currently have and future collections still being planned. Plants obtained for the collections may have arrived into the nursery in the form of seeds, vegetative cuttings or live plants. Often the material comes from private collectors, other botanical institutions, and even from native habitats around the world.
Thousands of Plants Grown
There are literally thousands of plants being grown in our facilities. Some, such as the Ceratonia oreothauma, a close relative of the Carob tree, are nearing extinction or, even worse, are now extinct. Often, arboreta and botanical garden nursery facilities have become the Noah’s Ark for the plant world.
At the moment, we are working on developing a collection of culturally significant tropical plants that will eventually find there home in our Tropical Display Greenhouse. These plants are now merely pampered seedlings and/or recently rooted cuttings. Once these plants mature, they will be added to the Display House collections.
Six of our greenhouses are home to one of the largest collection of orchids in the western United States. With approximately 10,000 plants, this collection is of world-class stature and provides blooming plants that can be seen year around in The Arboretum Rotunda and Tropical Display Greenhouses.
Baldwin Bonanza Offerings Most of the plants propagated at The Arboretum for the annual Baldwin Bonanza Festival of Plants Sale are grown in the Education Greenhouse and Nursery. The Education Greenhouse and Nursery is maintained by volunteers and two interns, however, there is always room for more volunteers! Baldwin Bonanza 2002 propagated plants will be selections from The Arboretum’s outstanding collections.
A Fantastic Staff
Last, but certainly not least, a behind the scenes look would not be complete without mentioning our fantastic staff who take care of these facilities. All of the staff has worked very hard in the past year to bring about significant changes in their assigned areas. Julie Norman is our orchid propagator. Julie also has the responsibility of overseeing all nursery operations, including nursery staff management. David Okihara maintains the Display Greenhouses. Thanh Pham, a student professional worker, has been assigned to the accessioning of the orchid collection. Tanya Finney and Sherry Tobin maintain and manage the propagation nurseries and greenhouses.
Behind the Scenes Tour Planned
Those interested in learning more about the greenhouses and nursery facilities will be able to get a behind the scenes tour this winter when the days are cool and memories of 100 degrees have long since past. So, if you long for warmer days during the winter months, a visit to The Arboretum’s greenhouses will certainly warm your spirits. We hope to have a tour date set for the next newsletter. Stay tuned. Timothy Phillips Superintendent