CAA’s Nature Camp: Discovery & Fun

CAA’s Nature Camp: Discovery & Fun

Our favorite four weeks of the summer are just about a wrap. We’ve had a great time hosting more than 100 campers at CAA Nature Camp! Our youngsters — ranging in age from 5-10 — enjoyed a wide range of fun activities across our 200-acre campus, had some wildlife encounters, and even learned a little bit too. Thanks for joining us at Cylburn!

Cylburn Nature Camp LOGOThe Cylburn Arboretum Association is the nonprofit friends group for Cylburn Arboretum. Gifts and grants help to make our programs, including Nature Camp, possible for the community. Special thanks to the Babylon Charitable Foundation, the Children’s Fresh Air Society Fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation, the Muller Charitable Foundation, and the Rainbow Heritage Foundation for supporting educational programming and scholarships for camp at Cylburn. Thank you to all of our members and donors for making so much possible here every day for the community! To learn more, visit cylburn.org.

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Summertime at Cylburn

Summertime at Cylburn

The long, cool, wet spring is now a distant memory as summer has landed with full force! The gardens look beautiful at Cylburn with lots of flowers blooming, everything from sun-lovers to plants that prefer shady corners. The park is also replete with birds, butterflies, and other creatures, including kids galore enjoying CAA Nature Camp. Here is just a sampling of some of the flora, fauna and a few other things to keep an eye out for the next time you’re here for a walk.

Flora

In the gardens near the mansion, you’ll find many members of the Asteraceae family including the summer classics Leucanthemum (Shasta daisy), Coreopsis (Tickseed), and Echinacea (Cone flower).

Also look for Consolida ajacis (Larkspur). This Mediterranean native is an annual that self-seeds freely, blooming all summer in dry, hot, sunny areas, in shades of white, pink and blue. And Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), easily identified by the “furry” appearance of the leaves.

In the Moudry Woods you’ll find Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea). This white-blooming hydrangea, native to the southeastern United States, has large panicles pointing upward over the foliage resembling oak tree leaves. Very dependable and easy to grow in sun or part shade, this shrub also offers russet-colored fall foliage. Also keep an eye out for Punica granatum (Pomegranate) blooming profusely this year with its distinctive red blossoms.

Fauna

Flowers are not the only things in abundance at Cylburn. A number of year-round Maryland birds are also common at the Arboretum including the Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, American Goldfinch, House Finch, American Robin, and Northern Cardinal. In fact, Cylburn is a hotspot on eBird, a free online resource run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. EBird compiles data on what birders have seen, where and when. It is a great way to record sightings, or to check on what others have seen. For Cylburn, eBird lists 165 species observed in the park.

According to Peter Lev, President of the Baltimore Bird Club which often meets at Cylburn, this is probably a bit low because lots of birding went on at Cylburn before eBird became popular. We asked Lev what birds visitors might see at Cylburn in June and July—nesting season. He went to eBird and looked at 12-month bar charts for all species. Spring and fall migrations are the times to see the maximum number of species but summer is best for looking for breeding birds. In addition to the common breeds above, some nesters found at Cylburn include the Chipping Sparrow, Gray Catbird, House Wren, and even our state bird, the Baltimore Oriole (though you are more likely to see an Oriole in May).  Lev suggests checking out eBird – there’s even an app you can download to your phone! Also, to learn more about the Baltimore Bird Club, their events and newsletter, click here.

Bees and butterflies can be found in abundance in the gardens in the summer. Recently we’ve spotted Monarchs, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, and even a rare Pink-edge Sulphur! The bees are always buzzing. All of the winged creatures, even the bats, play a critical role in pollinating plants. We’re happy to be a stop and/or home to so many of them!

Summertime is also camp time at Cylburn and we’re delighted to welcome more than a hundred children this summer over a span of four weeks. They’re having some wildlife encounters of their own! And Dr. Abner Lall returned on two occasions to lead a firefly walk. This popular event draws a great crowd each year to learn about these winged beetles. To see Dr. Lall’s blog post about fireflies, click here.

Summer is the season to enjoy the outdoors! In addition to sunny gardens and green space, Cylburn has nearly four miles of wooded trails including an ADA accessible trail which has just been completed. New maps are available at the Vollmer Visitor Center or click here for a peek at the possibilities. Hiking isn’t the only opportunity to get fit at Cylburn — Coppermine Fitness offers free yoga every Saturday morning at 8:30 am. We hope to see you soon! Visit Cylburn.org anytime for information about upcoming programs.

 

Always in Bloom!

Gardens July Spring Dawn StatueWe’re delighted that Cylburn now has a new permanent sculpture by a local Maryland artist. With thanks to the generosity of A.C. & Penney Hubbard, “Spring Dawn” by Matthew Harris is now on display in the clearing by the Vollmer Visitor Center. See it on your right as you enter the Arboretum and make the turn in front of the center to the parking lot.

Matthew Harris is a Maryland blacksmith who creates architectural metalwork and sculpture. After completing an apprenticeship with Master Blacksmith Alphonsus Moolenschot, Matthew went on to work in several architectural metalwork and industrial forging shops and also studied art and business at Cecil College. Since 2005, he has owned and operated Harris Metalsmith Studio. His specialty is hot forging one-of-a-kind forms, textures, and elements. His sculptural work is on display in many public settings and private residences. You can see his work here.

On Walnut HillA.C. & Penney Hubbard are longtime Baltimore philanthropists and gardeners. The Hubbards’ Baltimore garden has been featured in national and regional magazines, is a destination for national and regional garden tours, and has been listed in the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens. It is also the subject of On Walnut Hill, a gorgeous book written by Kathy Hudson with photographs by Roger Foley.

 

Celebrating Fifty Years at Market

Celebrating Fifty Years at Market

We are looking forward to Market Day at Cylburn this Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12. It is the 50th Anniversary of this beloved event at Cylburn, one that has always been thrown by the Friends of the Park and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks. The first Market Day was held on September 14, 1968. In honor of this occasion, historian Barbara Mallonee (CAA friend, volunteer and former Board Member) has been back through the archives to unearth a little history for us. Here are ten facts she found interesting about Market Day over the years.

1. Market Day was the inspiration of Mrs. T. Frederick Mulvenny (President of Cylburn Wildflower Preserve and Garden Center)…and every year a different woman was in charge (except for 1994 when Mr. Walter D. Finch presided).

2. For 35 years, women were the mainstay of Market Day—in floral dresses or smart suits and high-heels (even in the 60s) until the turn of the century when young and old wore slacks, shorts, jeans, sandals—and Cylburn tee-shirts! Today we have a mix of dedicated women AND men volunteering for the event and at Cylburn.

3. The name of the site for Market Day may have changed (Cylburn Park became Cylburn Wildflower Preserve and Garden Center in 1957, and then, in 1982, the Cylburn Arboretum), but the format has stayed the same—the gracious Tyson mansion has welcomed friends and neighbors to what looks like a family picnic with tents and tables laden with plants, handmade crafts and treats arrayed around the circle and on the two lawns adjacent to the house. Lemon sticks! Antiques! Coffeecakes! Rum Buns! This year a Maypole Dance, Crab Cakes and Lemonade.

4. Word of Mouth has always been the best advertisement for Market Day but over 50 years, the media has also found Market Day newsworthy — the Baltimore Sun, the News American, the Messenger, neighborhood newsletters, local radio stations and our friends on TV Hill. No matter the controversy and contention in the city, in our country, in the world, a picture of Cylburn in the spring on the front page brightens life in Baltimore. We welcomed WBAL this morning and WYPR has been our media partner this year.

5. Market Day feels like a picnic and a party…but, under the leadership of Dr. Elizabeth Clarke (of Recreation and Parks) and Gerard Moudry (Baltimore’s Chief Horticulturist 1959-1994), the real purpose of Market Day was to support education for both adults and children. (The second Market Day in 1969 enabled Cylburn to purchase “for the meeting rooms a public address system and one hundred chairs; for the trails two portable address systems and an audio visual aid and a typewriter for sign writing.”) Today the Cylburn Arboretum Association, honoring this ongoing legacy, is raising money through the event to support a number of initiatives at Cylburn including summer camp and educational programming, as well as care for the gardens, trees and trails. “If I want to learn about birds I come to Cylburn Park,” said Jason Godfrey, a student at public School 87 visiting at Cylburn in 1972. At Cylburn, there is so much to learn!

6. The grounds and gardens of Cylburn are historic, filled with trees and shrubs and plants that the Tysons planted. Other newer gardens have themes. Some gardens are dedicated in memory, others are demonstration. All inspire lessons in horticulture with many of the plants and trees identified for visitor information.

Crab apples

7. At Cylburn, trees are celebrated—but Market Day  is also a chance to learn about wildflowers and native plants. Volunteers have worked throughout the years, and still today, with nurseries in Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New England, and the Carolinas to bring unusual and rare plants to feature and sell here. Native plants are also grown in the greenhouses and in members’ gardens.

DSCN06528. The 90s saw an increasing emphasis on studying habitat and ecology—plants draw bees and butterflies and birds and small creatures; plants help climate patterns and the planet. This year learn about modern gardening in talks given by experts at the mansion, and by visiting the JHU Center for a Livable Future’s Aquaponics Food Lab or the Master Gardener’s Demonstration garden located on the grounds.

9. Always something NEW—a “Tulip of the Year,” a Lollypop tree, roving clowns, fresh mushrooms, beginning chess lessons, the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, a magician, the Cookie monster, artists sketching, body and face painting, bird banding. At the 50th Market Day, look for live raptors and seed bombs!

10. The Market Day Motto: Rise and shine! The opening hour has shifted earlier and earlier (sellers at Market Day note that by 9 a.m. favorite plants have already sold out!) Since the 1990s, there has been NO RAIN DATE. We prefer sunshine, but really rain is a good thing—and how better to reflect on rain gardens and storm water management and global climate change than by pulling a red wagon to the parking lot, watching your new plants soak up raindrops as they wait to be planted in the rich dark soil of your garden!

Market Day Native

Market Day LogoWe look forward to seeing you at Market Day this weekend! For more details about everything that’s happening this year, please visit the Preview Party or Market Day events on facebook or go to cylburn.org. Proceeds from Market Day benefit the Cylburn Arboretum Association. Purchases from the greenhouses benefit the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks. We are especially grateful to our generous sponsors for supporting the Cylburn community. Lead sponsors CFG, DLA Piper and Transamerica, along with many others, are helping to make the CAA’s work possible. To see all of our sponsors, Market Day 2018 Sponsors.

Early Bloomers

Early Bloomers

It’s been quite a non-spring this year in Baltimore so far; nonetheless the flowers are beginning to appear, the grounds are greening up, and eventually, the warm weather will prevail. Meanwhile, there are a lot of hardy beauties to admire. Here are some early bloomers we’ve spotted, some fading and others coming into their glory along the paths and trails at Cylburn. It’s just the beginning!

Pretty in Pink: The Dawn viburnum, Viburnum x bodnantense (left), is most noted for its floral displays during winter and early spring. Pink buds open to pale pink, highly fragrant flowers as early as December in some regions. Ours is in full bloom now. The Okame Cherry (right), Prunus x incamp, is a hybrid between Taiwan flowering cherry (Prunus campanulata) from which it inherited heat tolerance, low-chill requirement for blooming, early flowering, fast growth, and deep-pink flower color and Fuji cherry (P. incise) from which it got increased cold-hardiness. This makes it a glorious ornamental tree for warmer climates.

 

Yellow as Sunshine: The Forsythia, also called Easter tree (top left), is a member of the olive family and was named after William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist who was royal head gardener and a founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society. The Edgeworthia chrysantha (top right), also called Paperbush, was named in honor of Michael Pakenham Edgeworth, an Irish-born, amateur botanist and police chief and for his sister, writer Maria Edgeworth. It’s found on the “edge” of the path through the Moudry woods at Cylburn, as well as in the Nathans garden. Daffodils number in the thousands at Cylburn. One of the earliest blooming bulbs of the season, Winter aconite (bottom right) sure warms up a cold day!

 

Purple majesty: The Trillium (top) is beginning to peek out as are the Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica. This trillium, also known as Toadshade (for its resemblance to a toad-sized umbrella), Wakerobin (for its appearance with the first robins), and Birthroot (for its medicinal uses during childbirth), is a woodland favorite that can live as long as 25 years. One of the most beautiful species of spring ephemerals are Virginia Bluebells (bottom left). These lovely plants are in the family Boraginaceae, which makes them relatives of other familiar species like Forget-me-not, Lungwort, and Comfrey. The flowers start off pink and gradually turn over to their famous shade of light blue as they mature. The blooms will last for many weeks in early spring (April and May) and will go dormant by mid-summer. Bees, especially female bumblebees that fly in early spring, often visit these flowers. Virginia Bluebells prefer soils typical of a woodland and we have many in the Larrabee garden where they thrive. In full bloom in a few weeks both ephemerals are showstoppers. Chionodoxa (below right), also aptly called Glory-of-the-Snow, is one of the earliest and loveliest spring flowering bulbs.

 

And dare we say it? White like snow: Known commonly in North America as Andromedas or Fetterbushes, the Pieris japonica (top) is a broad-leaved evergreen shrub. The leaves are spirally arranged, often appearing to be in whorls at the end of each shoot with bare stretches of shoot below; the flowers are bell-shaped. Cylburn has a big group of Pieris east of the mansion under the large spruce trees. With common names like Winter rose and Lenten rose, the Hellebore’s (below left) blooming season is no mystery.  Helleborus x hybridus, also found in a dusty pink and a rich magenta, are classic perennials found in abundance at Cylburn. The scilla family of spring-blooming bulbs (below right) includes some of the best bulbs for naturalizing. When planted in woodland gardens like the Larrabee garden at Cylburn, they will multiply quickly and produce waves of color year after year. These precious flowers are untroubled by rodents or deer, a great quality in Maryland!

 

Magnolia time! Cylburn has a collection of these magnificent trees with quite a few in bloom now including the Star Magnolia, Magnolia stellata, (in white and pink), and the Cylindrical Magnolia. A lion’s eye view of the collection in the distance.

 

What’s Happening at Cylburn

There are lots of programs coming up at Cylburn, including a Fairy Workshop this weekend, Forest Bathing on Thursday mornings in April, and the 50th Anniversary of Market Day. The Arboretum is open from 8am to 8pm every day but Mondays. Come visit us soon for an event, or simply to walk the grounds and admire these and other flowers! More info always on our website, EventbriteFacebook, and Instagram

Market Day at Cylburn

 

 

Winter at Cylburn

Winter at Cylburn

Winter China Fir

Happy Holidays! In a few days it will officially be winter. The gardens have been put to bed and tender plants moved to warm quarters. The CAA staff is still working on the grounds but in the coming months activities will shift indoors to perusing seed and plant catalogues and preparing for the spring. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to see at Cylburn! There are plenty of plants and trees that choose the “off” season to show their stuff. Here are just a few to look for on your next winter hike here.

December Cylburn Hawthorn TreeCrataegus viridis ‘Winter King’ (‘Winter King’ Southern Hawthorn)

The brilliant red berries on this cultivar of our native Hawthorn make it a show-stopper. ‘Winter King’ is loved for its fragrant white blooms in spring and its thornless stems, making it much kinder to the gardener than the traditional thorny Hawthorns. Find a group of five ‘Winter Kings’ at the southwest corner of the lower Vollmer parking lot.

 

December Cylburn WinterberryIlex verticilatta ‘Red Sprite’ (Winterberry)

This deciduous holly is known for its large, vividly red berries, a favorite with our birds. ‘Red Sprite’ is a female cultivar of the native winterberry, easily grown in sun or semi-sunny locations, adaptable to very wet soil conditions. It fruits well if a male pollinizer such as ‘Jim Dandy’ is nearby. Find ours on the south side of the Larrabee Garden.

December Cylburn HollyIlex x koehneana ‘Ruby’ (Koehne Holly)

‘Ruby’ is a cultivar Koehne holly, a cross between Ilex aquifolium and I. latifolia. The shiny dark green leaves make Koehne hollies an attractive choice when a large dense holly is desired (it typically grows to over 15’ and is almost as wide). The clusters of berries on an attractive pyramidal shape are widely admired. Plant this and other evergreen hollies in full sun. Cylburn’s ‘Ruby’ is located on the east side of the East Oval Holly Collection, near several other Koehne cultivars.

December Cylburn JuniperJuniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ (Red Cedar)

The beautiful blue-grey foliage of this native cedar shows off prolific bluish berries in the late fall and early winter. Native to this region, this easily grown conifer is an excellent landscaping choice for a full sun location. Cylburn has a conifer collection in the woods, on the north side of the asphalt walkway near to the north ends of the greenhouses.

December Cylburn Scotch PinePinus sylvestris ‘Gold Coin’ (Scotch Pine)

This Scotch Pine is pyramidal with mint green foliage in the summer that turns bright golden yellow in the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. Plant this bright pine in full sun. Also a part of the Moudry Conifer Collection near the western end of the planting.

 

Winter is also a time to get close to the trees and appreciate things that may not be as noticeable in other seasons, like the texture and patterns on the bark. Two examples are the Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese Elm or Lacebark Elm) and the Lagerstroemia ‘Acoma’ (Crape Myrtle).

There’s no reason to wait until spring to come to Cylburn — The grounds are beautiful year round. Now they’re especially festive covered in fresh snow! On behalf of all of us at the Cylburn Arboretum Association, all the best for a wonderful winter.

 


SnowMansionTHANK YOU! We are grateful for the support we’ve received this year! The Cylburn Arboretum Association is the nonprofit friends group for Cylburn and we depend on the generosity of our donors, members, volunteers, sponsors and friends to enrich and enhance the arboretum for the community. To learn more about what a gift to the Cylburn Arboretum Association can do, click here. If you’d like to make a year-end donation, click here. Special thanks to our partners at Lifebridge Health for making our What’s in Bloom posters possible for visitors each month. They’ll direct you with maps on where to find the plants listed above and others each season. Hope to see you at Cylburn soon and thanks again!

Salvias Put on a Show

Salvias Put on a Show

As the weather gets cooler and some of summer’s flowers begin to fade, there’s one plant that continues to bloom abundantly well into the fall — Salvias. We have many varieties at Cylburn particularly in the gardens in front of the mansion where their colorful blossoms are busy with an array of pollinators. Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with nearly 1000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. The name Salvia derives from the Latin salvere — to feel well and healthy, health, heal — referring to the herb’s healing properties. Salvia officinalis (Garden Sage or Common Sage) is widely used in cooking. Here are just a few of the Salvias to keep an eye out for on your next visit to Cylburn.

August Salvia RosebudSalvia involucrata (Rosebud Sage) — This perennial Salvia blooms from July up to frost and is a favorite of hummingbirds. Fast growing, it can reach over 6 feet. The showy pink-red flowers are born on red stems, adding to the interest.

August Salvia Blue Arrow

Salvia sagittata (Arrow Leaf Salvia) — This tender perennial Salvia is native to the Andes (Chili and Peru) where it grows at much higher elevations. The bright, true blue flowers make it a stand-out in the garden. The flowers are quite sticky!

August Salvia Ember's Wish


Salvia x ‘Ember’s Wish’ — The distinctive coral flowers of this Salvia make it a star in the garden and attractive to birds and butterflies. A relatively new introduction, it blooms continuously with dead-heading or cutting back. Another special thing about this variety — A portion of the plant’s sale is donated to Australia’s Make-a-Wish Foundation for kids. This is also true of the ‘Love & Wishes’ variety (pictured below).

August Salvia Love and Wishes

Salvia ‘Amistad’ (Friendship Sage) — This Salvia is a tender perennial past Zone 8 but blooms so profusely from spring though autumn and is so colorful and exuberant that it is desirable even though it doesn’t winter over.

 

Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’ has yellowish leaves that offset its deep red flowers.

August Salvia Yellow Leaves

There are many more Salvias to enjoy as you walk around the mansion gardens. You’ll see that you may not be the only one enjoying these flowers — The bees love them too!

Curious about How a Bee Thinks? Join us at 6pm on Wednesday, October 18 for a talk led by Baltimore City Master Gardener Michael Andorsky. He’ll cover honey bee intelligence, bee decision making, similarities between the bee swarm and the human brain, and what honey bees have taught engineers about designing robots.  More info here.

 

 

 

 

Falling for the Dahlia

Falling for the Dahlia

People love autumn for many reasons — the cooling temperatures, the turning leaves, heading back to school, even the pumpkin spice. But for flower people there is a particularly beautiful reason to celebrate the season. It is the time that the dahlia comes into its own. Between the first day of fall and the first hard frost (usually mid-October) dahlia lovers are in ecstasy viewing their plants replete with large blooms and bright colors.

Cylburn’s dahlia patch is no exception — a “not-to-be-missed” treat for anyone visiting the gardens these days. Thanks to the determination and efforts of the Cylburn Arboretum Association’s staff and volunteers, the garden is in full bloom after weathering earlier season challenges from plant disease and resident critters. Several varieties featured there this year are worthy of special note.

At the far end of the fourth bed, closest to the rose garden, is Hollyhill Black Beauty, one of the darkest red blooms to be seen. It is classified as an informal decorative (bloom petals come close to but do not touch the stem) of medium size. Its form and rich color this time of year are unequaled.

Dahlia Hollyhill Black Beauty

On the other end of that bed is a large bloom that will brighten your day. Windhaven Blush is a bright yellow bloom with just a hint of lavender in the center. It is classed as a “semi-cactus” because of its pointed petals. Introduced several decades ago it is still exhibited in shows and fairs around the country.

Dahlia Windhaven Blush

Dahlia CabooseIn the center front of the next bed as you walk toward the mansion is a smaller plant with a very interesting bloom form. This cultivar is called “Caboose” and is classed as a red collarette. Collarettes are unique blooms with large ray petals surrounding an open center. Emanating from the center is a ring of smaller yellow “collar” petals from which the classification is named. Don’t be surprised to see a bee or two visiting the blooms. Open center blooms are advertisements to pollinators. But don’t be afraid; those bees are much more interested in the beautiful blooms!

Dahlia Mingus ArtIn the center front of the next bed is a plant that gives evidence to the great genetic diversity in dahlias. It is named Mingus Art and has a star shaped bloom classed as an orchid variety.   The bloom’s white petals fold forward revealing their pink underside. In dahlia classification language this striking difference in top and bottom petal color is often referred to as “reverse” coloration. Like the collarettes, this too is an open center bloom, sought out by the pollinators. As we near the end of the season, more and more bloom centers will be open, nature’s way of insuring pollination.

At the edge of the bed closest to the mansion is the eye catcher of the whole patch. It is named Akita No Hikari and is classed as a novelty variety. Set on a six-foot plant, the large blooms’ spiky crimson petals have a delicate touch of yellow. The more central petals curve inward, revealing a reverse of white tips.

Linger long enough to enjoy the delicate structure of this bloom and those of the many other varieties in the garden. You should not be disappointed! Here are a few more to keep your eye out for the next time you visit.

Special thanks to John Krick for offering these garden notes. John’s been growing dahlias for more than thirty years, and for the last six years he’s tended the Cylburn dahlia garden.