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.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
The Gardens at Cylburn

The Gardens at Cylburn

In addition to rolling green space and thousands of trees, Cylburn is home to a wide variety of beautifully planted gardens displaying shrubs, perennials, and annuals.  From the “named” gardens that honor those who have played important roles in both Cylburn’s and Baltimore’s history to the colorful plantings that enhance the Mansion and other points around the grounds, each garden offers a collection of colors and textures that delight visitors. Many of the plantings are tagged for information. The Cylburn Arboretum Association’s gardeners and volunteers help to make sure the gardens are gorgeous year round. Here are a few to look out for the next time you visit.

The Mansion & Front Circle Gardens

These gardens are designed to be colorful showcases for perennials, annuals, tropicals and shrubs that thrive in full sun. The Mansion circle contains not only gardens but an ingeniuos planting of Lagerstroemia (Crape or Crepe Myrtle) that align perfectly from any angle. In summer their bright pink flowers are striking.

The Nathans, Larrabee and Worthley Gardens

Each of these memorial gardens has a distinctive character. The Worthley garden is a botanist’s delight with a variety of plantings of succulents, cacti, conifers and grasses, as well as perennials and annuals.

The Nathans Garden is shady and peaceful oasis, inviting on even the hottest day. Both the gazebo and bench located there are a favorite spot for visitors to sit and enjoy lunch or a book.

The Larabee Garden features plants chosen to provide habitat for birds and butterflies and includes a small pond.

The Shady Garden, All American Selections, and Formal Gardens.

Nestled directly behind the Mansion is a small “shady” garden that is fenced in. It contains a unique set of plants along a path sheltered by a large Cryptomeria. Between the back of the mansion and Cylburn’s Carriage House (currently closed with plans for renovation underway) you can find the All American Selections garden as well as other beds with an array of flowers and herbs. This time of year the blooms are plentiful and the dahlia and canna are notably gorgeous. If you’re lucky you might catch hummingbirds and other birds, bees and butterflies there. Look to your right as you face the Carriage House and you’ll see the Formal Garden, a lovely place to walk and enjoy the colorful symmetry of flowers and foliage.

The Julie Smith, Three Sisters, and Ryer Gardens

The Julie Smith and Three Sisters gardens are located along the path from the mansion to the greenhouses. They are quiet and shady with plants chosen to thrive at woodland’s edge. There is always something interesting in bloom there and stone benches offer a place to rest and reflect. The Ryer garden is similarly shady and planted at the woodland’s edge. It is located behind the Vollmer Center where the trails lead into the woods.

The Rain Garden

Located by the greenhouses, classrooms, and employee parking lot, you’ll find the Bay-Wise-certified rain garden. It features a variety native plants that can withstand both drought and wet conditions. This garden captures rainwater runoff from the hard surfaces and sends it to the adjoining forest where it will infiltrate and be purified in the process. A rain garden addresses the issues of storm water runoff and water pollution. and stops the water from reaching the sewer system. It also provides habitat. Ours is always bustling with bees and butterflies.

These are just a few of the gardens at Cylburn. There are beautiful plantings, flowers, trees and shrubs throughout the grounds and around all of the buildings. Wherever you walk, look for the tags that identify many of the trees and flowers.

 

 

Summer’s in bloom!

Summer’s in bloom!

In addition to trees and pathways, trails and the mansion, there are many gardens at Cylburn with a variety of flowers of all kinds. In fact, Cylburn is classified as an arboretum, but is also one of Baltimore’s marquee public gardens. Summer is peak time for many of the beauties to be discovered on the grounds. Here are just a few you’ll find blooming now.

June Foxtail Lily 3

Eremurus sp. (Foxtail Lily)

This striking plant bears a tall stalk of yellow/orange-ish indeterminate flowers (“indeterminate” meaning that the flowers open from the base up, in contrast to “determinate” flowers which open from the top down).  This planting of Foxtail Lily bulbs attracts more “What IS that flower?” questions than most of the others.

Where: Across from the Mansion Circle, next to a weeping beech.

June Larkspur CloseupConsolida ajacis (Larkspur)

These bright blue and pink spikes are show-stoppers. Considered to be an annual alternative to delphinium, which struggles in this climate, the larkspur is an enthusiastic bloomer, and re-seeds itself every year. Larkspur is the “Flower of the Month” for July evoking feelings of joy, levity and love.

Where: Find them in the Mansion Circle and the Worthley Garden.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)

This colorful native perennial is the sole host plant for Monarch butterflies, providing critical habitat for this endangered species.

Where: The orange variety can be found on the south edge of the Larrabee Garden and scattered other places. A less common yellow flowering cultivar ‘Mellow Yellow’ grows in the Mansion Circle.

June Butterfly Weed

June CactusOpuntia sp. (Cactus)

Bright yellow flowers prove that perennial cactus does grow and thrive in our non-desert climate! This one is surrounded by Sedum sexangulare (Stonecrop), a groundcover that can be found sprawling throughout many of Cylburn’s gardens.

Where: Find it in on the berm in the Worthley garden.

June Indian PinkSpigelia marilandica (Indian Pink)

This bright red and yellow native perennial grows in a large clump and is a favorite of hummingbirds. Although the genus name, Spigelia, honors Adrian van den Spiegel (1578-1625), a Flemish anatomist, the specific epithet, marilandica, means “of Maryland”.

Where: A large clump is found in front of the Vollmer Center, on the right as one faces the building. Also in the Larrabee Garden by the mansion.

 

June BetonyStachys densiflora ‘Hummelo’ (Betony)

This bright pink perennial has a long bloom season, from early June through July or even August. You can also find Stachys officinalis ‘Pink Cotton Candy’ by the Vollmer Center. Less well known that Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears), these Stachys are well-behaved, dependable perennials with an orderly habit.

Where: In the Larrabee Garden by the mansion.

Whenever you visit Cylburn, keep an eye out for our What’s in Bloom posters. Thanks to our partners at Lifebridge Health for making these informative pieces possible for visitors. They’ll direct you with maps on where to find these flowers and others throughout the season. There are many gardens scattered throughout the grounds of Cylburn with more blossoms than can fit on one poster, so we hope you’ll explore! Find more info here. You may see our dedicated gardeners and volunteers out there planting, weeding or watering — They help to make all of this possible. We’re always looking for additional help so if you’re interested in joining our efforts you can find more information on how to volunteer here, or how to become a member here. Before you go, here are some more of this season’s blossoms!

 

Clockwise: Agastache rupestris (Threadleaf Giant Hyssop); Rudbeckia maxima (Great Coneflower); Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan); Hesperaloe parviflora (Red Yucca); Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’ (Bee Balm); Salvia ‘Purple rain’; Ratibida (Prairie Coneflower); Asiatic lily; Biker circling the Circle Garden; Hypericum calycinum (St. John’s Wort); and Mansion Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

New Trees & New Ways to Explore Cylburn Arboretum

New Trees & New Ways to Explore Cylburn Arboretum

We’re delighted to announce a significant new planting of sixty-two large deciduous shade and specimen trees at Cylburn, as well as two new ways for visitors to explore the arboretum and learn about our current trees, gardens and history. Cylburn is Baltimore City’s only arboretum and takes its mission as a “Tree Museum” seriously, aiming to expand its collection and other offerings for the enjoyment and education of everyone.

Blog June Three Newbies

Three new trees.

Along the main entrance drive and Greenspring Avenue, a “Piedmont Woods” has been added. Trees native to our Mid-Atlantic region well adapted to our soil, climate and conditions have been thoughtfully selected and planted by a team including the Forestry Division of Baltimore City’s Department of Recreation and Parks, Natural Concerns, Inc., and Mahan Rykiel Associates. Careful consideration has been given to the location of each new tree including water tolerant and charming Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay) chosen to flank the stone bridge on the main entrance road as visitors enter the arboretum.

A second planting includes the addition of large shade trees along Mansion Way between the Vollmer Center and the Mansion. In a few years, as these trees take root and grow, they’ll provide desirable respite for walkers approaching the Mansion. Here’s a list of all the Cylburn 2017 New Trees. Many of the trees have been planted this spring and others will be added in the fall.

This central walkway currently includes some of the arboretum’s marquee trees and we’re excited to announce a new easy-to-use online “tree tour” that provides in-depth information on thirteen of them. Find the link here and on our website — You can use it through any web browser on your phone, computer or tablet! The Tree Tour was developed by a team of Cylburn volunteers with the financial support of The Eliasberg Family Foundation, Inc., the mapping expertise of RK&K, and production assistance from Kathryn Johnston Concept & Design.

Another new way for visitors to explore Cylburn is a Scavenger Hunt created by our friends at Baltimore Green Map. Simply visit the app store on your phone, search for and download Actionbound, then find our “bound” by typing in Cylburn. The child-friendly app will take you on an interactive tour of the grounds, asking you to stop, look, listen and photograph. It’s a fun way to learn a little bit more about some of our treasures! We’ll have paper versions of this hunt available in the Vollmer Center, where you can also find some other maps and materials about Baltimore’s green places.

We hope you’ll visit soon to enjoy Cylburn and all that it has to offer! Adding species not currently present at the Arboretum to increase the diversity and beauty of our collection and also providing ways for the public to access information about our trees and gardens is exciting indeed.

Blog June Team

It takes a team to plant a tree — We are grateful to our partners in helping 62 new trees find a home at Cylburn. They’ll be tending the young trees for three years to ensure a strong, healthy future. Visitors should enjoy the trees for generations to come! Partners have also helped us to develop two new ways to enjoy the arboretum — A virtual Tree Tour loaded with information and an interactive Scavenger Hunt fun for the whole family! Thank you!

 

 

 

 

May Trees & Shrubs in Flower

May Trees & Shrubs in Flower

May is the month that many of Cylburn’s trees and shrubs are in bloom with extravagant and fragrant flowers. It is the month of the Chinese Fringe Tree and the Cockspur Thorn, the Beautybush and the Mock Orange. Here are just a few of the beautiful specimens that you’ll see if you visit us in the next couple of weeks.

If you begin your walk in the Vollmer parking lot, you can pick two paths up to the Visitor Center. On one, the Philadelphus xSnow Dwarf’ (Mock Orange) is covered in fragrant white blossoms. In the garden, this easy to grow shrub can be espaliered on a wall, trellis or fence. Along this path, it is simply planted in clusters. On the other path, Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’ (Virginia Sweetspire – pictured below) blooms under the draping limbs of a Cladrastis kentuckea (American Yellowwood).

Blog May Sweetspire

In front of the Vollmer Center you will find some dogwoods still blooming. Fun fact: The white “petals” of the dogwood blossom are actually bracts, or specialized leaves. The flowers themselves are tightly clustered in the center. The variety at the Vollmer Center is called Cornus rutgersensis ‘Rutdan’ and has blushing pink white leaves fading quickly now in the heat. Also there the Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ (Sweetshrub – pictured below) is showing off deep red blossoms.

Blog May Sweetshrub

Continue up the path and consider following signs to the Greenhouse which will take you on a circuitous walk past a selection of Cylburn’s flowering shrubs. Along the way, you’ll see Cotinus coggygria (Smoke Tree) and the lovely Kolkwitzia amabilis (Beautybush). This graceful and old-fashioned shrub, which is rarely found in garden centers, has exuberant pink blossoms (see below). As difficult as it is to find it isn’t fussy at all loving sunny, dry conditions. Next to the Beautybush is the tall, upright shrub Deutzia with its profusion of white flowers. These particular shrubs are not fully unidentified (others on the opposite side of the path are) but are nonetheless very pretty! Spiraea nipponica (Snowmound) can also be found along this walk.

Blog Kolkwitzia amabilis

As you emerge from this walk look straight ahead at the impossible-to-miss Chionanthus retusus (Chinese Fringe Tree). The genus name comes from the Greek words “chion” meaning snow and “anthos” meaning flower. Indeed the trees in bloom look like they’re covered in snow. Fun Fact: This species of tree is dioecious — male and female flowers are on different plants (although there are a few exceptions). Cylburn has three Chinese Fringe Trees; the larger two are more floriferous and are females. Beyond them if you get a bit closer, you might also notice the red flowers of the Aesculus pavia (Red Buckeye).

Blog Fringe Tree.jpg

To your right, on the West Lawn between the beeches and the large sugar maple, is the fantastic, thorny Crataegus crus-galli (Cockspur Thorn). Look but don’t get too close as the thorns are a full 4 to 5 inches of danger (see below)! The thorniness of Hawthorns led to the development of the ‘Winter King’ cultivar (Cylburn has a grove of five by the Vollmer parking lot) but this Cockspur is truly fascinating, like a tree from a medieval fairy tale. Our thorny beauty was pruned by Matt Mitcheltree and his team at North Hill Tree Experts  in spring 2016. We are grateful to them not only for their contribution of this service to Cylburn, but for their bravery in taking it on.

Blog Cockspur.jpg

If you choose to continue to tour the Mansion Gardens with their profusion of poppies, allium, peonies and innumerable other flowers, you’ll no doubt notice the Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Mindia’ Coppertina (Ninebark). Its unique “coppery” color is a standout wherever it is planted and its limbs drape with beautiful blossoms (see below). Fun fact: This native plant is fantastic now but also interesting in the winter, getting the name “ninebark” from the peeling bark on its mature branches that reveals an array of colors.

Blog Ninebark.jpg

We hope you’ll come see these fine trees and shrubs for yourself. There is an array of flowers as well — the material of another blog post! If you can’t remember all of this information, stop to see our “What’s in Bloom” posters next to the Vollmer Center, across from the Rain Garden, and on the Mansion porch — Thanks to our partners at Lifebridge Health we are able to offer this information for visitors each month. You can always visit our website, Facebook and Instagram pages for more images and information about the arboretum. Hope to see you at Cylburn soon!

Here are a few more photos of trees and shrubs currently blooming.

Pictured above clockwise: How about a picnic by the Cockspur Thorn (just don’t get too close); Mock Orange; Red Buckeye; Dogwood; Snowmound Spiraea; Chinese Fringe Trees at their prime on Market Day; and Smoke Tree.

A little “stolen heaven.”

A little “stolen heaven.”

One of the many joys of spring at Cylburn is our collection of Tree Peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa). Installed by the Roland Park Garden Club in 1980 when the plant was both rare and expensive, the unusual stand that flanks our formal garden is a gem among the arboretum’s holdings.

Beloved in China for over a thousand years, the Tree Peony was once grown solely for the pleasure of the Chinese emperor. Even today, the Tree Peony is considered the unofficial national flower of the Peoples’ Republic of China. Its spring flowers look just like those of the herbaceous peony — big, loose and colorful, with multiple layers of petals and a sweet fragrance.

In China, the peony’s lush growth and blowsy petals made it the symbol of prosperity. In Japan, the same attributes seemed like a masculine symbol of devil-may-care attitude and a disregard for consequences, and there it was a popular motif for men’s tattoos. It is no wonder that in Asia the naming of Tree Peonies often approaches poetry with names such as “Red Beauty of China” and “Purple Dragon in a Pink Pool.” We have varieties called “Red Moon,” “Rose Flame” and even “Stolen Heaven.”

The Tree Peony is a woody plant that does not die back in winter like its herbaceous relatives, but it never approaches the size of a tree. It will stay in the 3 to 5 foot range and take a long time getting there. These are long lived plants that can survive for over 200 years.

The blossoms however are fairly short lived each spring. In fact there are just a few beautiful lush weeks to see them in their prime. Now! So to steal a bit of heaven, come visit them soon in bloom!

 

Pictured above clockwise: Gosha Zakura, Red Moon, America, Black Sea, Stolen Heaven, Shimadaijin, Rose Flame, and Banski. Lady Baltimore has a beautiful view!

 

An April Walk

An April Walk

With an historic mansion, formal gardens, wooded paths, hundreds of trees, and so much more, one walk is never enough at Cylburn Arboretum. There are many treasures, large and small, to behold in the 200-acre arboretum. We are looking forward to sharing some of them with you through this blog but we really hope you can come for a visit to enjoy them firsthand. Here are just a few things we found on an early April walk.

Cylburn is home to hundreds of trees, including many unique evergreens. If you walk along the path between the mansion and Baltimore City’s greenhouses, you’ll find a variety of gorgeous conifer specimens. If you’ve ever wondered how to tell some of them apart, here’s a great mnemonic device: Spruces are “sharp” with single pointy needles while firs are “flat and friendly” and won’t prick you. Pines have needles that always come in bundles (two, three, or five). Cones come in a variety of sizes and shapes too but look carefully – not everything you’ll see in the branches are cones.

DSCN0154On a recent tour, a round brown Praying Mantis egg sac nestled in the branches of a Cupressus arizonica (Blue Ice Arizona Cypress) looked almost like its cones.

Fun fact: The species of Praying Mantis most commonly seen in our area is the highly predatory Chinese Praying Mantis that can grow big enough to eat a hummingbird!

The conifer collection is fascinating, but don’t forget to look down as you walk along the path. Delicate flowers such as Hepatica and Trillium are peaking through the nourishing leaf litter. The closer you look, the more delicate beauties you’ll see! Daffodils, bluebells and hellebores were found in abundance early in the month as well but they’re fading fast in the warmer days.

Cylburn Tour April 7 BulbsNestled directly behind the mansion is the charming Shady Garden. Amble here and along the way enjoy Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) and fragrant Viburnum. Note a large majestic Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese Cedar) providing ample shade. Although the ground beneath it is carpeted in leaves it has shed, it is a real soldier in winter storms, rarely, if ever, dropping branches. Blooming now in the garden is Mahonia (Oregon Grape Holly) with spiky leaves and yellow clusters of flowers. Other precious flowers such as Leucojum vernum (Summer Snowflakes) and Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) populate the path’s edge.

Cylburn Tour April 7 Magnolia Yellow ButterflyBeyond the mansion is a collection of Magnolia trees, beloved and best known for their gorgeous pink blossoms. The Cylburn collection includes white varieties and a yellow “Butterflies” Magnolia whose blossoms indeed look as if they’re about to take off into the air. This year, due to a “false spring” some of the trees are a bit more sparse than usual.

Did you know that it takes a tree a whole year to produce its blossoms and leaves? A false spring can cause a real energy drain on the limited stores of energy that a tree has.

Above the Magnolia be sure to look up and see a huge native Prunus serotina (Black Cherry) tree blooming in the sky. Black cherry supports 456 species of butterflies and moths. Also note the tall “Tulip Poplars” common in Maryland.

Fun fact: Although we like to call them Tulip Poplars, they’re not actually “poplars” but tulip trees that are members of the Magnolia family. If you think about the flowers they drop from the sky, it makes perfect sense!

Cylburn Tour April 7 DutchmenStroll down into the woods and you will find a plethora of tiny delights along more than three miles of paths. Be careful where you step in this virtual fairyland – you don’t want to crush the Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria – pictured left), Bloodroot (Saunguinaria canadensis), Toothwort (Dentarai diphylla), or Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) to name a few. Many of these little native beauties bloom early in spring, taking advantage of the sun before the trees leaf out. Most are ephemeral, only appearing briefly this time of year before retreating until next April.

Unfortunately, some invasive species have found a home in the woods too – you’ll note especially lesser celandine (Ficaria verna or Ranunculus ficaria).

April is also baby month at Cylburn, and all around us. In addition to plants, shrubs, and trees, the grounds and woods of Cylburn are home to abundant wildlife. We’ve recently seen a few snakes (none poisonous!) and salamanders. Don’t touch these please – they are very sensitive to our dry skin.

Here are some tips via the Department of Natural Resources for what to do if you should find a baby at Cylburn, or anywhere.

  • Baby birds will fall out of nests, hop around and whine a lot. This is normal! What’s not is a baby bird that lacks feathers and is not able to hop around. Then it is best to call a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you might see fox, coyotes or raccoon mothers and babies out and about during the day – It’s not a sign of illness. It is also normal for young to be left unsupervised.
  • This is true for deer as well – Fawns can be left alone for as long as 9 hours at a time. It’s always best to leave them alone.

For more information on young wildlife, visit Maryland DNR’s website.

Come visit us for a walk, tour, or event soon! And follow this blog if you’re interested in getting an email the next time we share some news, history, or photos from Cylburn. Thank you!