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Fairytale Road Trip: Ithaca to Cornwall

17 weeks 3 days ago

The family travel site “Road Trips for Families” recommends an afternoon to “wander the 35-acre fairy-land of the beautiful Cornell Botanic Gardens,” and a walk through the Mundy Wildflower Garden. The F .R. Newman Arboretum is noted for ease of parking and stroller-friendliness. Read the full article here.

Our new strategic plan focuses on connecting plants and peoples

17 weeks 4 days ago
We are proud to share our strategic plan for 2018-2023. The plan resulted from many months of thoughtful examination of our organization, direction, and resolve to make a positive impact on people and the planet.

The world demands that we engage with communities and peoples to save plants and their habitats. We are committed to raising awareness, inspiring action, and sowing messages of hope. This strategic plan is a road map that guides our organization in working toward these objectives, while passionately maintaining the foundational work that makes us integral to Cornell University, the local community, and the thousands who visit our areas each year.

Carl Gortzig, director behind Cornell’s Path system, dies at 87

18 weeks 5 days ago
Carl Gortzig, former director of Cornell Botanic Gardens, passed away Saturday, June 2, 2018, at age 87. He was professor emeritus and former chair of the Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture (FOH) Department in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Gortzig served as acting director of Cornell Botanic Gardens in 1988, and returned as director from 1993 to 1996. One of his most notable achievements was the creation of what was then known as the Plantations Path system. This series of nine interconnected pedestrian trails totaling eight miles, supported by the Cowie Family, features interpretive information on the natural and architectural history of the Cornell Campus.

Gortzig and his wife Jean are honored with a plaque at the Cornell Botanic Garden which reads, "In honor of Jean and Carl Gortzig In recognition of their 57 years of service to Cornell in so many roles, in so many ways from so many friends, April 1997"

Read more in a June 11 Cornell Chronicle article.

Reunion events at Cornell Botanic Gardens

19 weeks 3 days ago
Welcome Back! During Reunion Weekend, our rhododendrons, irises, poppies, and peonies are blooming, and you may still find many spring wildflowers in the Mundy Wildflower Garden and natural areas. At the Nevin Welcome Center and gardens on Plantations Road you can take a tour, chat with one of our wandering volunteer Garden Guides, pick up a visitor map and explore on your own, browse the exhibits and Garden Gift Shop, or just relax and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the gardens and grounds.

For a full description of events listed below, click here for a printable pdf.

Schedule of events:


Beebe Lake Natural History Walk
2:00 to 3:30 p.m., Beebe Beach

FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2018

Garden Tour
10:00 - 11:00 a.m., Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations Road

Cascadilla Gorge Hikes
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (see also Saturday listing for additional time) Meet at the College Avenue entrance to the trail, located at the northeast corner of the Schwartz Performing Arts Center.

Mundy Wildflower Garden Tour
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Mundy Wildflower Garden, Caldwell Drive entrance

Rhododendron Collection Tour
2:00 to 3:00 p.m., Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations Road


Garden Tour
9:00 - 10:00 a.m., Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations Road

Cascadilla Gorge Hike
12:30 – 2:00 p.m. (see also Friday listing for additional times)
Meet at the College Avenue entrance to the trail, located at the northeast corner of the Schwartz Performing Arts Center.

“The Hangovers” – Allan Hosie Treman '21 Memorial Concert
3:00 to 4:00 pm, Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations Rd.

Cornell plans response against emerald ash borer

19 weeks 4 days ago

The invasive insect emerald ash borer threatens 200 ash trees on central campus and more than 2,000 in campus natural areas. Staff at Cornell Botanic Gardens and Facilities and Campus Services are collaborating with faculty and students to address inevitable loss of trees. Read more in a May 21 Cornell Chronicle article.

Garden and Arboretum Hike, June 2

20 weeks 4 days ago
Take it outside on this extended hike through the diverse plant collections and landscapes of Cornell Botanic Gardens. Experience the beautiful gardens, arboretum, woodland trails, and panoramic views that helped Cornell Botanic Gardens earn its #1 ranking as the most beautiful college arboretum. Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Walks will be held rain or shine and will include some steep slope and stair climbing.

Date/time: Saturday, June 2; 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Cost: Free; $5 suggested donation; registration is not required
Instructor: Dr. Peter Davies, Cornell Professor Emeritus, Plant Biology and Horticulture
Location: Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center

Sale in the Garden Gift Shop starting June 1

20 weeks 4 days ago

During National Gardening Week, Friday June 1 to Sunday, June 10, the Garden Gift Shop is offering:

    •    20 percent off all plant kits and seeds, including ones from the Seed Savers Exchange (shown left) and the Cornell Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics.
    •    20 percent off Cornell Botanic Gardens apparel.
    •    20 percent off all Beekman Collection items.

Garden Tours every Saturday, June 16 through September 29

20 weeks 4 days ago
We kick off our garden tours this June. Every Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. from June 16 through September 29, you can join a garden guide to discover the beauty and diversity of our cultivated plant collections in the gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center. Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center; $5 suggested donation.

Arboretum tours, third Sunday of each month

Starting May 19, the third Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. (May - October), join a Garden Guide on a tour of the F. R. Newman Arboretum. Each month, the guide will visit unique locations, such as Houston and Grossman Ponds, Zucker Shrub Collection, Newman Overlook, and more. Meet at the Sculpture Garden; $5 suggested donation.

Species Spotlight: Secrets of the Shadbush

20 weeks 4 days ago
by Christopher Dunn, Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director, Cornell Botanic Gardens

When I was an undergraduate student a few years ago (OK, a few decades ago), one of my favorite classes was dendrology. What I really enjoyed was learning hundreds of Latin or Latinized names of the trees of the Northeast and coming to understand what the names mean. For instance, Acer saccharum, with “saccharum” referring to sweet or sugar (think of the artificial sweeter saccharin). No wonder its common name is sugar maple.

Common names reveal a lot about a plant if you care to dig a little. Consider the small tree, Amelanchier canadensis (or any of its North American relatives of which there are many,) which often goes by the common name “shadbush.” Now, I learned this common name during my dendrology class. We were told that this plant goes by shadbush because when the shrub is in flower, shad (a type of fish) are spawning in the streams. For me, that was the end of the story.

Fast forward to today. As it turns out, the name “shadbush” does not just signify an interesting coincidence between flowering and spawning. It is much more significant, because for many Native American tribes, its flowering signals the availability of shad as a food source. Today, shadbush flowers earlier in the spring, but its namesake fish species isn’t yet spawning. Thus, this important biological cue is no longer of such cultural value.

A team of us at Cornell is working with Native American communities to find ways to “recalibrate” this kind of ecological calendar. Specifically, are there other biological cues that can substitute for shadbush, or for any other aspect of Native American cultural tradition? The temporal disconnection between Shadbush blooming and shad spawning is one of numerous examples of how environmental changes are having human cultural consequences, in some cases leading to cultural and language loss. Suffice it to say, we are very good at informing visitors, students, and others about the interesting evolutionary and economic aspects of plants. We hope to do a better job of describing their human cultural values and significance. With a greater awareness of these cultural connections, we will be better stewards of our natural world and of our amazing cultural diversity. Shown right: Amelanchier x grandiflora
'Princess Diana' grows in the Newman Arboretum

For a beautifully told version of the shadbush story, check out the children’s book When the Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger and Susan Katz.

Moths of the Night, June 15

20 weeks 4 days ago
Join Cornell entomologist Jason Dombroskie to explore the myriad types of moths that arrive through the night on Friday, June 15 from 9 p.m. to midnight.

As the sun sets we will have a brief introduction to moths and then fire up bright lights to attract them. We will learn how to identify the myriad forms of moths that arrive through the night and learn about their natural history. Stop by for a few minutes or bring a lawn chair and hang out for the evening. Bring a flashlight or headlamp.

Date/time: Friday, June 15; 9 p.m. to midnight
Cost: Free and registration is not required
Location: Palmer Woods Natural Area, located on Cornell's North Campus, adjacent to the “A” Lot, off Pleasant Grove Road.

Arboretum Tour, May 20

22 weeks 4 days ago
Enjoy a guided tour of the F.R Newman Arboretum and discover its diverse woody plant collections, ornamental garden beds, and idyllic landscapes. Each month, we’ll visit unique locations, such as  Houston & Grossman Ponds, the Sculpture Garden, Treman Woodland Walk, Zucker Shrub Collection, Newman Overlook, and more, as we discuss the cultural, geologic, and natural history of the site. Walks will last approximately 90 minutes and may include some moderate slopes.

Dates/time: Tours are offered the third Sunday of each month, rain or shine: May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, September 16, & October 21 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and no registration required
Location: Meet by the Sculpture Garden in the central arboretum area.

Evening Wildflower Walk Monday, May 21

22 weeks 5 days ago
Tour the woodland pathways and plant habitats of the Mundy Wildflower Garden, an 8-acre natural area with naturalistic gardens with horticulturalist Krissy Boys. Early spring is the ideal season for learning the natural history and identification of wildflowers such as Dutchman’s breeches, trillium, bloodroot, and Solomon’s seal.

Date/time: Monday, May 21; 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free (donations welcome) and no registration is required
Location: Meet at the Mundy Wildflower Garden entrance, off of Caldwell Drive

New gorge safety measures were added this season

23 weeks 2 days ago
Cornell is enhancing first-responder abilities by installing emergency locator signs along gorge trails. Should a gorge visitor twist an ankle, trip over a tree root or otherwise need emergency assistance, that visitor or a bystander can reference the closest emergency locator sign when calling 911 or Cornell University Police, which will give first responders an exact location of the incident.

Learn more about our gorge safety efforts in the Cornell Chronicle article "Gorge safety highlighted in new signage, student awareness efforts."

Summer Orchid Care, May 19

23 weeks 3 days ago
Yes, orchids can be moved outside for the summer, but they require special care while outdoors and when being brought back in. Join award-winning orchid grower Barb Schmidt, author of Orchid Care: For the Beginner, as she presents the “ins and outs” of turning your indoor orchid into an outdoor summertime plant. Participants will re-pot a small Phalaenopsis orchid to take home, and are welcome to bring their own orchids for an informal “orchid clinic” at the end of class. Barb will also sign copies of her book, available for purchase in The Garden Gift Shop.

Date/time: Saturday, May 19; 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $30 ($27 for members); pre-registration is required
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Learn more and register.

Celebrate Mother's Day at Cornell Botanic Gardens

23 weeks 3 days ago
This weekend is ideal to wander our gardens and natural areas to enjoy tulips, flowering trees, spring woodland wildflowers, and early azaleas.

In the Gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center

Hundreds of daffodils are in bloom on Conifer Slope and in a new planting along the Bioswale Garden.

Many varieties of tulips are blooming in the Young Flower Garden.

The first of the rhododendrons are blooming on Comstock Knoll, including Rhododendron 'Mary Fleming,' planted last season (shown above). This is one of 12 varieties planted in the rhododendron collection that were bred by Guy Nearing, whom the Nearing Summerhouse was named in honor of.

In the Garden Gift Shop

20% off all Botanic Gardens branded apparel and gifts! All purchases of $25 or more will recieve a free gift.

In the F. R. Newman Arboretum

Magnolias, crabapples and cherries are in peak bloom in the Flowering Tree Collection and Flowering Crabapple Collection.

In the Mundy Wildflower Garden

Now is the time to visit the Mundy Wildflower Garden to enjoy the delicate early-blooming woodand wildflowers. Trilliums, hepaticas, trout lilies (shown above), bellwort and dutchman's britches are just a few of the dozens of species growing there.

Still spots left for the Beautiful Botanicals art class

24 weeks 2 days ago
This hands-on class offers an introduction to painting the flora of our gardens 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.

Date/time: Six Wednesday sessions, May 16 - June 27 (no class June 20); 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Cost: $200; $190 for members; Pre-registration is required.
Instructor: Camille Doucet, artist
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

Celebrate your public garden on May 11

24 weeks 2 days ago
Visit Cornell Botanic Gardens and celebrate National Public Gardens Day—a nationwide event honoring public gardens across North America. Take a tour, visit with one of our wandering Garden Guides, or grab a map at the Nevin Welcome Center and start exploring our gardens, arboretum, and nearby natural areas on your own.




Activity Schedule:
    •    8:00 a.m: Morning Bird Walk. Meet at the Sculpture Garden in the Arboretum.
    •    10:00 a.m: Wildflower Garden Tour. Meet at the Mundy Wildflower Garden entrance off of Caldwell Drive.
    •    12:00 p.m: Mindful Botany Walk. Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center.
    •    2:00 p.m: Garden Highlights Tour. Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center.

Special offers at the Garden Gift Shop

All weekend: 20% off all Botanic Gardens branded apparel and gifts! All purchases of $25 or more will recieve a free gift.

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m: "Plant a Succulent" activity. Purchase a pot or mug and a succulent to plant for yourself or as a gift! Complimentary fruits, veggies, and beverage tasting.

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m: DarlingCake cupcake samples, with cupcakes and cookies for sale in the gift shop.

"Birds and Blossoms" walks every Friday and Sunday in May

24 weeks 2 days ago
In collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell Botanic Gardens is offering a pair of weekly walks to discover both the birds and wildflowers of spring. Walks will be held rain or shine and pre-registration is not required.

Bird Walks: Fridays, May 4, 11, 18, and 25; 8:00 a.m. Meet by the Sculpture Garden, in the F. R. Newman Arboretum.

Wildflower Walks: Sundays, May 6, 13, 20, and 27; 1:00 p.m. Meet at the Lab of Ornithology Visitor Center.

Cost: Free and no registration is required
Instructors: Cornell Botanic Gardens and Lab of Ornithology Volunteers

Edwards Lake Cliffs Spring Wildflower Hike, May 3

25 weeks 6 days ago
Visit this unique natural area on a guided afternoon hike with botanist Robert Wesley. This 84-acre preserve protects one of the rarest environments in the local region – the lake cliffs – and hosts abundant and diverse early spring wildflowers. The preserve also offers a number of scenic vistas that can be best appreciated before the tree canopy fully leafs out. Spring buttercup, rue-anemone, round-lobed hepatica, and cut-leaved toothwort are among the wildflowers we will likely see.  Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable hiking shoes.

Date/time: Thursday, May 3; 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Cost:$12; $10 for Members

Cascadilla Gorge is open for the season!

26 weeks 4 days ago
Many hands make the Cascadilla Gorge trail open for the season! Give a word of thanks to the volunteers who made it possible for the big iron gate to swing open today:

David Keifer
James Hamilton
Jack Ruekheim
Stephanie Herrick
Jeff Bercuvitz
Sue Garland, plus children Clara and Rohan

Learn more about what it takes to prepare the trail for its seasonal opening, and maintain it year round here.