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What causes the breathtaking display of fall color year after year?

1 year 28 weeks ago

Plantations is a rainbow of color! Now is the ideal time to enjoy peak fall color in our gardens and natural areas. Learn what's reponsible for this beauty in the article "Autumn's Rainbow" by staff arborist Lee Dean.

Take a virtual tour of Plantations with WNEP Channel 16

1 year 28 weeks ago
The Scranton area's WNEP news "Home and Backyard" program recently highlighted all that Cornell Plantations has to offer. Click below for a virtual tour of Plantations' Botanical Garden, Arboretum and natural areas near Cornell campus.

Travel the tropics during a lecture on modern plant exploration

1 year 28 weeks ago
Marc Hachadourian, Director of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections and Curator of the Orchid Collection at The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) will give the William Hamilton Lecture of Cornell Plantations’ Fall Lecture Series. His lecture is entitled “Modern Plant Exploration in the Tropics: The Age of Rediscovery,” and will take place on Wednesday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Statler Hall Auditorium on Cornell University’s campus.
Plant exploration in the Tropics of the world helped drive the construction of the Great Glasshouse Conservatories of Europe and North America. These magnificent pieces of architecture were once overflowing with plants infused with legend and lore just as wild and exotic as the flowers themselves.  Even these great empires under glass could barely satisfy the insatiable appetite for new and unusual tropical plants including orchids, palms, Aroids and Begonias. Many of these wonderful plants made only short appearances in cultivation only to survive within the pages of horticultural literature as vestiges of a once glorious period of discovery for glasshouse horticulture.  As time has passed the once remote and virtually inaccessible habitats these plants called home are now reachable and the plants, both those known and some unknown, are within the grasp of horticulture once again. Hachadourian’s lecture will focus on modern tropical plant exploration using both traditional and modern tools, hunting for spectacular plants that have been long absent from cultivation, and their rediscovery and reintroduction to modern glasshouse collections.
“We’re very excited to have Marc take part in our Fall Lecture Series,” stated Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations.  “Marc is not a stranger to Plantations, or to Cornell for that matter. He earned his degree in Plant Sciences from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, and we are very glad to welcome him home and to travel the world through his lecture to see some of the great plants that are being rediscovered.”
As Director of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections, Hachadourian oversees the state-of-the-art greenhouse complex where tens of thousands of plants are grown for Conservatory exhibitions; the gardens, collections, and seasonal displays; and scientific research at NYBG. Hachadourian began his career at NYBG as horticulturist for the orchid collection and now serves in a curatorial capacity for that collection. With over 25 years of experience in professional horticulture, Hachadourian has dedicated himself to increasing public awareness about the importance of global plant conservation and the appreciation of plant biodiversity.

William H. Hamilton Lecture
: Wednesday, October 14; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell University

View the full line-up of fall lectures here.

Film and Discussion: The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on October 21

1 year 29 weeks ago
The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, a film by Chris Foito, aims to engage and educate the viewer on this devastating invasive species by explaining its past, present, and possible future. Through the use of archival footage and beautiful cinematic visuals, the film illustrates the vital importance of the eastern hemlock tree and raises the questions of what should be done to prevent the spread of the hemlock woolly adelgid and invasive species as a whole.

View the trailer of the film here.


Date/time: Wednesday, October 21; 7:00 p.m. with panel discussion on local impacts of the hemlock woolly adelgid to follow the film.
Cost: Free; pre-registration required
Panelists: Chris Foito, filmmaker; Mark Whitmore, forest entomologist; Todd Bittner, Plantations’ Director of Natural Areas.
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

Cascadilla voted best gorge in "Best of Ithaca" 2015

1 year 29 weeks ago

The Ithaca community was so happy the Cascadilla Gorge Trail was reopened after a five-year closure, they voted Cascadilla the best gorge in Ithaca. Click here to read the "Best of Ithaca" special Ithaca Times section on September 30.


Create a succulent dish garden with us on October 18

1 year 29 weeks ago

Don’t have a green thumb? No worries! A succulent dish garden is a great project that can help green up your indoor space, using plants that are virtually indestructible and require very little care. Each participant will design a beautiful dish garden to take home, using popular succulent plants. Pre-registration is required.

Date/time: Sunday, October 18; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $30 ($27 for Plantations members) Fee includes all materials.
Instructor: Missy Bidwell, Plantations Greenhouse Manager
Location: Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive

Click here to register.

Find out what makes our teen mentor program (PEEPS) special in this interview

1 year 30 weeks ago
Abe Messing (bottom left of image), a participant of Plantations’ PEEPS program, interviews Donna Levy, Coordinator of Teen Programs at Plantations about Cornell’s Plantations Environmental Education Program for Sustainability (PEEPS)— a program for teenagers.

This program aired on September 9, 2015.
Listen here:

Images of glaciers by Gary Braasch on display

1 year 30 weeks ago
Powerful images of glaciers by photojournalist Gary Braasch are on display in the Nevin Welcome Center through October. Mr. Braasch has traveled from the polar regions to the Himalayas and the Great Barrier Reef following scientists at work and witnessing the effects of global warming. His work, which has appeared in Time, Life, and National Geographic, presents the human connection, making the science relevant to our lives.

This exhibit is part of a series of events at Cornell University from September 30 to October 2 including a lecture at the Statler Auditorium on Wednesday, September 30 and selections from the exhibition “World View of Global Warming” at Cornell’s Mann Library. He will lecture on “Villages on the Verge,” Friday, October 2 as part of the Department of Development Sociology seminar series. Mr. Braasch will also interact with students, faculty, and community members both on and off campus during his visit.

Photojournalist Gary Braasch speaks on how climate change affects landscapes and lives

1 year 31 weeks ago
Photojournalist Gary Braasch will present powerful images of climate change across the planet with an emphasis on the people who study it, are caught up in it, and who are working to change our energy sources and limit the effects of global climate disruption.  Gary has traveled from the polar regions to the Himalayas and the Great Barrier Reef following scientists at work and witnessing the effects of global warming. He presents the human connection, making the science relevant to our lives.

Date/time: Wednesday, September 30; 7:30 p.m.
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell campus
Cost: Free, no registration required

Click here for a full list of our Fall Lectures.

Plant Sale October 3

1 year 31 weeks ago

Take home some of our gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape! This fall's offerings will include dozens of varieties of daylilies, as well as coneflower, iris, peony and ornamental grasses. 

Admission and parking are free – more information: 607-255-2400.
Date/time: 9:00 a.m. - noon; Saturday, October 3
**Members-Only Early Bird Preview: Friday, Oct. 2, 4:00–5:00 pm
Location: Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive

Sign up for "Shoot, Edit and Share" on October 3

1 year 31 weeks ago
Digital technology has revolutionized photography for the non-professional: you no longer have to wait for a roll of film to be processed, computer software allows you to edit your images in a variety of ways, and the internet allows you to quickly share your beautiful work with others. This program will cover the basic steps from capturing the best digital photos on your camera, to editing and sharing them, and safely storing them on your computer. We will spend time in the botanical garden to practice shooting, then head inside to download, edit and discuss your work. Bring your own digital camera -- smartphone, point-and-shoot, or digital single-lens reflex (DSLR). All skill levels are welcome but please have a basic understanding of your camera’s operation. Pre-registration is required.

Date/time: 12:30 - 3:30 p.m; Saturday, October 3
Cost: $40; $36 for Plantations members
Instructor: Paul Schmitt, local photographer
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

The ‘Pope of Peppers’ Pontificates About Peppers on September 16

1 year 33 weeks ago
Dave DeWitt, author and food historian, helps celebrate Cornell Plantations’ Year of the Pepper with a lecture all about, well, peppers. DeWitt’s lecture takes place on Wednesday, September 16 and begins at 7:30 p.m. in Statler Hall Auditorium on Cornell University’s campus.

DeWitt’s lecture, entitled “Blame it on Columbus: Chile Peppers Around the World”, will be a multi-media presentation on how chile peppers circumnavigated the globe in just a century after Columbus brought pods and seeds back to the Old Word from the New in 1493.  

“We are very excited to celebrate peppers in their seemingly infinite variations in size, shape, origins and spice!” stated Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations.  “In addition to the lecture, we have several other programs that are themed around peppers.  First, on Saturday, September 12 we are hosting one of our popular “Garden to Table” culinary programs with Taverina Banfi, the lecture on Wednesday, September, 16; followed by a guided tour of the peppers in Plantations botanic garden with Dave DeWitt on Thursday, September 17;  and we’ll finish up the week with our Family Pepper Party: A Judy’s Day Program on Saturday, September 19 from 1pm to 5pm featuring tastings, dancing, and lots of pepper fun!”

Mr. DeWitt is a food historian and one of the foremost authorities in the world on chile peppers, spices, and spicy foods. He is the author of numerous articles and several books on peppers – most notably The Pepper Garden (gardening guide, 1993), The Hot Sauce Bible (food history/cookbook, 1996), The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia (reference, 1999) The Spicy Food Lover’s Bible (food history, cookbook, 2005). He continues to write books about chile peppers and spicy food, including The Complete Chile Pepper Book (gardening guide/cookbook, 2009), co-authored with Dr. Paul Bosland, the renowned chile pepper breeder at New Mexico State University. He’s made 100’s of apperances on TV, and has also been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, USA Today, American Way, Smithsonian, and approximately 300 newspapers and magazines across the country. Publishers Weekly has dubbed him “a veteran spice-meister.” Several years later, Dave received his ultimate accolade from no less than The New York Times that declared him to be “The Pope of Peppers.”

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Click here for the 2015 Fall Lecture lineup.

Check out the menu for the "Passion for Peppers" event

1 year 35 weeks ago
When it comes to peppers, some like ‘em hot!  But don’t worry – there are plenty of sweet and tasty varieties for the more sensitive palate.  Chef Eric from Taverna Banfi has had a love affair with peppers since the dawn of his culinary career. This class will give him the opportunity to share his passion for peppers and teach you some delicious ways to wield these botanical marvels in the kitchen. The program will begin with guided walk through the gardens to view and harvest selected varieties from our pepper collection. We will then reconvene at Taverna Banfi in the Statler Hotel for a cooking demo and three course tasting featuring delectable, pepper-enhanced creations from around the world – with a range of hotness to suit everyone’s tastes. 


1st Course:
Scallop and shrimp ceviche: aji amarillo, avocado, corn tortilla cup

2nd Course:
Scotch bonnet lime marmalade glazed salmon: jicama citrus slaw, grilled hearts of palm

3rd Course
Spiced pineapple upside down cakes with a wicked hot chocolate shooter

Date/time: Saturday, September 12; 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $55 ($50 for Plantations members) Pre-registration is required.
Instructor: Chef Eric Szymczak
Location: Botanical Garden and Taverna Banfi

Click here to register.

Still spots left for "Beautiful Botanicals" with Camille Doucet

1 year 35 weeks ago
This hands-on class offers an introduction to painting the flora of the Plantations’ botanical collections while guiding artists of all levels to greater breadth of skills. From plant observation and drawing, to plant perspective, composition and color mixing, we will explore black and white, color pencil, pen and ink, and go into greater depth with watercolor. A suggested materials list is available. Pre-registration is required.

Dates/times: Tuesdays from September 1 - October 6
Cost: $200 ($180 for Plantations members)
Instructor: Camille Doucet
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

2015 Fall Lecture Series kicks off with author Robin Kimmerer

1 year 36 weeks ago
Our Annual Fall Lecture Series begins Wednesday, September 2, with a lecture by the renowned botanist, professor and award-wining author of “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants,” Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer.  The Harder Lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. in Call Alumni Auditorium in Kennedy Hall and will be followed by a complimentary garden party in the botanical garden of Cornell Plantations.

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer will lecture on topics found in her new book “Braiding Sweetgrass” in which she shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Kimmerer will be kicking-off our lecture series,” stated Dr. Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations.  “I believe that Jane Goodall said it best– ‘[this is] an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people.’ We are very pleased that Dr. Kimmerer will be sharing her eloquence and wisdom with the Cornell community.”

Dr. Kimmerer is a distinguished teaching professor and the director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY.  As a writer and scientist, she has delivered a TEDx Talk, has addressed the general assembly of the United Nations at the request of UN President Sam Kahamba Kutesa, of Uganda, and has won the prestigious John Burroughs Medal for Writing and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award.

Date/time: Wednesday, September 2; 5:30 (immediately followed by a garden party in Plantations botanical garden)
Cost: Free
Location: Call Alumni Auditorium in Kennedy Hall on Cornell campus

Click here for the full lecture line up.

Student interns say "thank you"

1 year 36 weeks ago
Our Summer Internship Program offers Cornell students hands-on experience working with expert staff in our gardens, natural areas, and education programs. Click here to view a short video, created by marketing intern Jessica Zheng ’17, as a special thank you to all of our supporters.

View video here.

Ten scenic spots you must visit before graduating Cornell

1 year 36 weeks ago
Our summer marketing intern Jessica Zheng '17 explored many of Plantations' gardens and natural areas during her time with us. To share her newfound love of these places, she created a top ten list on Buzzfeed. Her wish to Cornell students is: "Be sure to explore this beautiful place and don’t leave Cornell without seeing its gorgeous wonders."

Click here to view the list on Buzzfeed.

A week of pepper-themed events ends with a Family Pepper Party

1 year 36 weeks ago

Each year in our vegetable garden we display dozens of varieties of a widely-grown vegetable. This year, we chose the pepper and have a line-up of activities to explore the world of peppers:

A cooking demo and 3 course tasting of delectable pepper creations by Taverna Banfi.
Saturday, September 12; 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Lecture by Dave Dewitt, author and food historian
Wednesday, September 16; 7:30 p.m.

Pepper tour and tasting with food historian Dave Dewitt
Thursday, September 17; 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Pepper activities for kids of all ages at this family event including tastings from Agava.
Saturday, September 19; 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Visit the Nevin Welcome Center to see the exhibit “Peppers Around the World.” This exhibit traces how cultivated peppers traveled from Central and South America to quickly make their way around the globe. A delectable display of pepper-based salsas, curries and pastes highlight how peppers are key ingredients of signature dishes worldwide.

Check out the Climate Change Garden

1 year 36 weeks ago
Last summer, Plantations staff partnered with faculty in the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture departments to install a climate change garden. By growing plants inside and outside a high tunnel, visitors have the opportunity to compare how plants grow differently in today’s garden (the outside portion) with the garden of 2050 (the inside portion).  Plants inside the high tunnel are being subjected to projected climatic conditions for 2050, which include higher temperatures, periods of drought and heavy rainfall and heat waves.

This summer, we added five interpretive signs to guide visitors through the garden. Hand-written labels call attention to differences between the plants growing inside and outside the high tunnel, and we provided a space for visitors to share their observations. If you live close by, we hope you visit to make some observations for yourself. If not, you can follow what’s been happening on our Climate Change Garden blog. Also, see what’s happening on our Instagram account.

Cocktail Party in the Herb Garden on August 13!

1 year 38 weeks ago
Booze and Botany: Herb Garden Cocktail Party

Join Roland Coggin, one of Ithaca’s top mixologists, for a cocktail party in the Robison Herb Garden featuring drinks made with fresh herbal ingredients. Registration fee for this event includes light hors d’oeuvres and tickets for three cocktails, provided by Agava Restaurant. Additional drink tickets will be available for purchase. Proceeds support the mission of Cornell Plantations. Participants must be 21 or older and prepared to show proof of age. Pre-registration is required.
(Rain location: Nevin Welcome Center)

Date/time: Thursday, August 13; 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $50 per person
Location: Robison York State Herb Garden in the Botanical Garden

Click here to register.