Archive for Swarthmore College

The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College

Posted in container gardening, evergreen, garden to visit, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , on February 15, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Mahonia x media 'Charity'A gorgeous specimen of the mahonia ‘Charity’ in full bloom in front of the Scott Arboretum offices.

Every year since I started this blog I have chosen a mid-Atlantic U.S. garden to profile through the seasons.  In 2011 I covered Chanticleer, in 2012 Longwood Gardens, and in 2013 Winterthur.  You can click on the name of the garden to access the last post in each series.  This year I have selected the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 3-23-03 PMCunningham House, the Scott Arboretum offices and library, is the former college observatory and was named for Swarthmore’s first astronomer, Susan Cunningham.

I have been visiting the Scott Arboretum on a regular basis for over 20 years and have been very impressed with their use of plants through out the Swarthmore campus, which is beautiful in its own right.  Cutting edge is an overused term, but I usually see newly introduced plants at Scott first and always displayed in unique and beautiful settings with excellent labels.  In addition, admission to the arboretum is free, and parking is available next to Cunningham House.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-13-41 PMThe Cunningham House entrance is flanked by ‘Charity’ mahonia.

My first visit to Scott for this series took place at the beginning of December.  The arboretum has always been very good at highlighting winter interest plants, and I wanted to see what would be peaking in the “off season”.  The answer is plenty, and I had a hard time selecting photos to use here.  I am glad that I visited then because ever since my visit we have had ice and snow and freezing temperatures.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-16-04 PMThe courtyard in front of Cunningham House is packed with containers planted for winter interest.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-19-37 PM.

Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-16-56 PMAttention to detail is shown with this creative use of pine cones as mulch in another winter container.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-29-27 PMThe back of Cunningham House is as interesting as the front, and the gardens there should not be missed.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-30-02 PMA shady pergola behind Cunningham House, much appreciated in summer. 

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-27-18 PM.

Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-28-32 PMThis close up of the pond shows that it was quite cold that day.

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Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web' & Helleborus x hybridusThe evergreen leaves of Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’ and hybrid hellbores both look great in the winter.

Although the plantings around Cunningham House are lovely, the Scott Arboretum encompasses the whole 425 acre campus of Swarthmore College.  The college was founded in 1864 by Quakers and is one of the oldest coeducational colleges in the U.S.  It is a small and highly ranked liberal arts college with a current enrollment of around 1,500 students.  On future visits, I hope to show the full diversity of the arboretum, but during this visit I stuck to the center of campus.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-34-58 PMA beautiful allée of trees extends gracefully from the center of campus towards the village of Swarthmore below.

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Parrish HallParrish Hall, named after the first president of the college.

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Parrish Hall, Swarthmore CollegeAnother view of Parrish Hall.  Every building on campus is surrounded by beautiful plantings.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-38-10 PMA typical scene from the campus where dried hydrangeas, winterberry, and a variety of evergreens enhance the setting.

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides & Arum italicumAnother allée, this time of dawn redwoods underplanted with Italian arum.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-41-47 PMA close up of this beautiful combination. 

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Betula nigra 'Heritage'‘Heritage’ river birch

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Betula nigra 'Dura Heat'A close up of the wonderful bark of another river birch called ‘Dura Heat’.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-57-38 PM Containers planted for winter interest are found through out the campus.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 3-07-19 PMAll types of ornamental interest are represented from bark to evergreen leaves to berries, here winterberry holly.

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Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold'‘Winter Gold’ winterberry holly

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Photinia serrulata, Chinese photiniaChinese photinia, P. serrulata

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Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana, Korean stewartiaKorean stewartia

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-51-27 PMThe Scott Arboretum was one of the first public gardens to try the shrub edgeworthia, E. chrysantha, and there are several beautiful specimens on the campus.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-47-32 PMPerennials are not neglected, here a gorgeous yucca.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-48-21 PMA great combination of evergreen gold-leafed yucca and ornamental grasses.

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Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College 12-1-2013 2-58-20 PMA great way to use this aggressively spreading, evergreen bamboo.

This is just a small sampling of the winter delights that await you at the Scott Arboretum.  If you are local, I highly encourage you to join the arboretum so you can attend all their horticultural events.  These range from staff led tours of the arboretum during all seasons, an excellent biennial plant sale with very hard-to-find offerings, smaller talks featuring garden travels through out the U.S. and the world, lectures by well known national and international horticulturists, garden tours, classes, and much more.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: To register for Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar click hereWe are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in late February or March, from the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  Please visit my Etsy Shop to purchase beautiful photo note cards suitable for all occasions, including a new set of snowdrop cards, by clicking here.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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