7 a.m. on a fine summer Sunday
Arrived safely in NYC. NYBG doesn't open until 10 am for nonmembers. Fordham University directly across the street. Campus looks intriguing. Went walking around, until the NYBG opens.
Note to self: Always buy a membership before striking out for a
botanical garden. Internet access and e-shopping makes that
possible even when it's a spur of the moment trip!
First impression of Fordham U. campus: Grand old trees!
Right: A ginkgo tree dwarfs a 3-story building. At 60' tall and perhaps 50 years old it's still young, a member of a species that can top 100' and live for 1,000 years.
Above, left: Everyone loves to walk under trees to enjoy the shade. Ironically, the more people who do this, the more trouble the tree has as all those feet crush the air- and water space from the soil around its roots. Above, right: Open spaces in the groundcover around the base of this beech may be on account of shade from the trunk.... or because tree huggers love to touch its smooth trunk.
Big trees are becoming rare in cities, victims of constant construction and renovation along with restrictions on root space and degradation of the soil from so many feet seeking shade. So I kept my eyes open for what Fordham's horticulturists might be doing to maintain these trees.
They pay attention to the roots in many ways. Under some of the trees there is an egg rock mulch covering an area as big as the entire crown or more.
One island bed in a very shady area looked nice as it added some color along the walkways. Even better, it's space where water can get into the soil beneath the trees -- better than pavement for the trees overhead!
In many places on campus, color reminded me how much milder the winters are in NYC, compared to inland in the Midwest: Fully blooming mophead and lacecap hydrangeas. We just can't grow them as well, darn it.
Oh, no! I see ash trees with thin crowns and epicormic growth.
We're always on the lookout yet hoping not to see this, because we saw the very first emerald ash borer (EAB) outbreak on the continent and have been involved from day one with the Ag department and Extension to educate people to this terrible problem. There were no exit holes or woodpecker/bird damaged bark that I could see, but I suspect EAB and will contact the hort staff to be sure they know this may be an indication of the pest's presence.
I don't know much about architecture but think some
of the buildings were pretty special... especially those
with plantings that made them even more beautiful.
10 a.m. Hmmm. Lots more ground to cover here and obviously nice plantings all over -- I wonder how many gardeners realize that almost all college campuses are also arboreta and garden?