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Evening Wildflower Walk Monday, May 21

39 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

40 weeks 3 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

40 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

40 weeks 4 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

41 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

41 weeks 3 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

41 weeks 3 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

42 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!

43 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.

Earth Day Hike on the Cayuga Trail this Sunday

44 weeks 1 hour ago
The Cayuga Trails Club will sponsor this 29th annual Earth Day Hike, following a 4.4-mile-long section of the Cayuga Trail in the beautiful Monkey Run Natural Area of Cornell Botanic Gardens. This trail takes hikers along the high banks and water’s edge of Fall Creek, and features early spring wildflowers, birds, breathtaking vistas, and the beauty of one of the botanic gardens’ off-campus natural areas. Wear sturdy footwear and bring drinking water and rain gear, if needed. Be prepared for steep climbs and descents; the hike is moderately strenuous. Transportation will be available at the end of the hike to take participants back to the parking area. For more information, please contact Jim Connors at

Date/time: Sunday, April 22; 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and registration is not required
Location: Meet at the Cornell Community Garden Plots, off of Freese Road, about halfway between NY Route 366 and Hanshaw Road. Watch for a driveway entering the parking area on the east side of the road.

Note: The Cayuga Trail is among Tompkins County’s 240 miles of public trails, highlighted on the website “Out on the Trails” ( The site provides comprehensive, searchable information on all trails, and is optimized and GPS enabled for use on mobile devices.

Arboretum Open for the Season!

44 weeks 3 days ago
The F. R. Newman Arboretum is open to vehicles starting April 13. New this spring: Thousands of bulbs will bloom in two locations in the arboretum. Chionodoxa luciliae (blue in color) will emerge in three circles in Jackson Grove; look for the planting in the grove of trees immediately north of Arboretum Road and before reaching the intersection of Weeping Willow Drive. These are early bloomers, and should present their glory as April warms.

An early summer display of Allium 'Purple Sensation' along with A. atropurpureum, A. nigrum and A. sphaerocephalum will flank the mown path in Newman Meadow near the entrance to the Arboretum on Caldwell Drive, between the Nut Tree Collection and Slim Jim Woods.

The bulb plantings are a collaboration between Cornell Botanic Gardens and Professor William Miller, of the School of Integrative Plant Science. More than 30,000 bulbs were planted in October 2017 in the arboretum and outside the Nevin Welcome Center using an innovative mechanical bulb planter and bulbs donated by from David Strabo ’80, of Longfield Gardens.

Read more about this collaboration here.

Watch spring unfurl on Mindful Botany Walks starting April 6

47 weeks 2 days ago
With the arrival of spring, plants are eager to transform stored energy into new leaves and flowers. Join Cornell Botanic Gardens staff to observe the beauty of spring unfurling on weekly nature walks. While following the same route each week, we will practice mindfulness by dedicating our attention to the present moment and fully observing the amazing plant transformations that take place during spring. Attendance at each walk is encouraged, but not required. Presented in conjunction with Nature Rx @Cornell.

Read a short article about participants' experiences last year in a March 23 Cornell Chronicle article.

Dates/time: Six consecutive Fridays, April 6 - May 11; 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Cost: Free and no registration is required.
Instructor: Botanic Gardens staff
Location: Meet in front of the Nevin Welcome Center

Special Lecture Tuesday about Korean Botanic Gardens

47 weeks 2 days ago
We invite you to join us Tuesday, March 27 for a special lecture about Korean botanic gardens and arboreta. Professor Yong-Shik Kim, Director of the Chollipo Arboretum Foundation in Korea and Professor Emeritus at Yeungnam University, will discuss the history of botanic gardens in Korea, their role in plant conservation, and some of the special horticultural collections of the Chollipo Arboretum, including Magnolia, Ilex, Camellia, Acer and Hibiscus.



Date/time: Tuesday, March 27, 2018; 12:30 p.m.
Location: Plant Science Building, room 404, Cornell University Campus
Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration required

Today is Giving Day and the first day of Spring!

47 weeks 6 days ago

We hope you choose to support Cornell Botanic Gardens as we enter this season of growth and blossoming. Your donation to our Annual Fund makes possible all of our conservation, cultivation, and education programs and helps us share this beautiful and amazing place with students, parents, faculty, and visitors from around the world. Click here to donate.

Learn about the role of nature in human health & well-being

48 weeks 3 days ago
Please join us at this Biophilia: ITHACA forum for a lively presentation and discussion by Nancy Wells, Cornell University Professor. This presentation will explore the research, evidence, and theory indicating that the natural environment influences human health. We will explore connections between nature and diverse health and well-being outcomes
including cognitive functioning, mental health, physical activity, community cohesion, and longevity. In addition, we will consider the potential role of nature in bolstering resilience and buffering income-based disparities in health.

After the presentation, please participate in the business meeting to form three working committees. We need you to help make Biophilia: Ithaca a true community effort.

Date/time: Thursday, March 22; 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration requried.
Location: Tompkins County Public Library Borg Warner Room


What is Biophilia: ITHACA?

Biophilia is the human affinity for interacting with nature.  The term “biophilia,” which literally means “love of life,” was coined by social psychologist Erich Fromm and popularized by biologist E.O. Wilson.

Biophilia: ITHACA is modeled after the Biophilia: PITTSBURGH which is a “pilot chapter for a global Biophilia Network of creative minds dedicated to strengthening the bond between people and the natural world through education, discussion and action.”

Our Mission: To strengthen human connections to nature and to advocate for policies and practices that benefit the local natural environment.

Our Goals:
•    To create a supportive and inclusive network that fosters collaboration and learning about biophilia among people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints
•    To welcome and inspire others with the concept of biophilia
•    To explore new approaches to strengthening human connections to nature and to discuss their application to our local community
•    To use our collective voice to advocate for and to assist in the implementation of policies and practices that benefit the natural environment

Free and open to all. Refreshments will be provided. This forum is sponsored by the biophilia:ITHACA chapter is comprised of numerous individuals and organizations including Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Our mission is to strengthen human connection to nature. All are invited to attend this forum and become active with biophilia: ITHACA. Contact or for more information.

On Display: "Blooms of Being Planted 2018"

48 weeks 3 days ago
“Blooms of Being Planted”
Photographic Images by Mary Kay Marks

Mary Kay Marks is an artist from Cortland, New York. Cornell Botanic Gardens plays an integral part in her artwork; this exhibit started as photographs taken in the garden. Once she has a photo, she decides whether she wants to “play” with it, using Adobe Photoshop to manipulate and/or crop the image into her own creation. Sometimes the manipulation results in softening the image and other times intensifying it. 

Opening Reception at the Nevin Welcome Center: Thursday, March 22, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Pruning Fundamentals Rescheduled to Saturday, March 17

50 weeks 6 days ago
Pruning your trees and shrubs can beautify your landscape and improve the growth and health of your plants. Learn the basics of pruning, plus some advanced techniques in this hands-on workshop with arborists Lee Dean and Daniel Weitoish. An indoor session to discuss tools, techniques, and safety will be followed by hands-on lessons in the F. R. Newman Arboretum with a wide variety of woody plants. We will travel by carpool or van and by foot to various locations; please dress for the weather and be prepared to walk through snow. Bring your own pair of gloves, comfortable hand pruners, and/or a small folding saw. All other tools and equipment are provided. Bring a bag lunch or purchase lunch on your own during the break; morning beverages and snack are included. Pre-registration is required. 

Date/time: Saturday, March 17; 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $70; $65 for members; Register here.
Instructors: Arborists Lee Dean and Daniel Weitoish
Location: Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center

Pest Nature Walk postponed until Friday, March 9

50 weeks 6 days ago
Please note: This walk was originally scheduled for Friday, March 3 but is reschedule to Friday, March 9 due to predicted inclement weather.

Join us for a late winter hike and educational opportunity at Cornell Botanic Gardens' Fall Creek Valley Natural Area and learn how to identify eastern hemlock trees and the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), an invasive forest pest. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and celebrate National Invasive Species Awareness Week with the Cornell Botanic Gardens and New York State Hemlock Initiative teams as you learn about hemlock conservation in Ithaca and throughout New York.

Dress warmly and be sure to wear appropriate footwear, especially if conditions are snowy.

Click here to register.

Date/time: Friday, March 9; 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Cost: Free; registration is required
Instructor: Charlotte Malmborg, NYS Hemlock Initiative technician
Location: Meet at the Flat Rock parking lot off of Forest Home Drive

For more information about the New York State Hemlock Initiative, visit, or

Become part of the Cornell Botanic Gardens team as a volunteer!

51 weeks 6 days ago
Volunteers are vital to our mission. Whether tending to our gardens, caring for our natural areas or educating our visitors, there are many ways to be involved as a Cornell Botanic Gardens volunteer.

Interested in leading guided tours for the general public or for school-aged groups? Garden Docent Training begins April 4 and training for Wildflower Garden Facilitators begins February 28.

Also beginning this spring, there are opportunities to volunteer in our cultivated collections and natural areas.

Garden Guide
If you love plants, gardens and the natural world, and have a desire to share that love with others, you are qualified to join our Garden Guide (docent) program. Garden Guides serve as ambassadors to a large and diverse audience throughout the spring, summer and early fall. Our Guides interpret the diverse plant collections, unique landscapes and compelling history of Cornell Botanic Gardens, and educate adult visitors about the importance and interdependence of plants, people and the natural world. Trainings include both indoor and outdoor sessions, and there are opportunities to shadow and learn from experienced docents. The 2018 core training program will take place on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in April and May, at the Nevin Welcome Center, beginning April 4, with additional trainings to be scheduled through in the summer. (Complete schedule for 2018 to be announced.) Training is free and all materials will be provided. All you need bring is your curiosity and enthusiasm!
Join the Wildflower Explorations Team!
Are you interested in working with kids and getting them excited about plants? Join our volunteer Wildflower Explorations team as they engage local 3rd grade students in learning about our native wildflowers. Our enthusiastic staff will teach you all you need to know to engage with students in their classrooms in March and April followed by field trips to the Mundy Wildflower Garden in May. The first session starts February 28 from 10:00 a.m. -  11:30 p.m. in the Nevin Welcome Center.
Contact Raylene Ludgate at for more details and to sign up!

Cultivated Plant Collections
Volunteers participate in many ways in our diverse plant collections, working closely with skilled horticulturists in our gardens and arboretum. Typical work includes weeding, transplanting seedlings, planting annuals, dividing perennials, edging garden beds, taking cuttings, and more. If you like to work outside with your hands in the dirt, this is the opportunity for you!
Natural Areas
Our 3,000-plus acres of natural areas, including the Mundy Wildflower Garden, offer opportunities for volunteers to work directly with native, naturalized and invasive flora of the Cayuga Lake Basin. Natural areas volunteers help protect fragile habitats and rare plants while learning effective conservation techniques and stewardship practices. Student and community groups can also help by participating in group service projects, such as trail maintenance or invasive plant removal.
You can learn more about these opportunities and fill out our online volunteer application form HERE, or contact Kevin Moss, Adult Education & Volunteer Coordinator, at, (607) 254-7430.

Species Spotlight: Arborvitae

51 weeks 6 days ago

A closer look at totem poles

A small grove of arborvitae (Thuja plicata), a relative of our native eastern red cedar (Thuja occidentalis), is growing in the northwest corner of our groundcover collection, adjacent to Comstock Knoll.

The arborvitae is common in forests along the coasts of the Pacific Northwest. Throughout history and today, Native American communities from coastal Oregon to southern Alaska have extensively used arborvitae for building houses, canoes, textiles, instruments, utensils, and for crafting totem poles—strong symbols of their cultural identities.

The native people of the Pacific Northwest are from several distinct nations, belonging to seven different language families with many dialects. One of their commonalities is carving totem poles, which are considered storytellers that give people their cultural identity and communicate their beginnings, history, and lineage.

Totem poles serve different purposes. Hilary Stewart, author of Looking at Totem Poles, writes “One example is the memorial pole, found in Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Kwakiutl, Nuu-chah-nulth and Muzalk villages, stood before the house but was not attached to it. Raised a year or more after the death of a chief, the memorial pole displayed crest and figures that depicted special achievements or events in the deceased person’s family history.”

Stewart noted, “The Nuu-chah-nulth set up a welcome pole near the village beach. This single, larger than life human figure, with arms outstretched, stood near the beach to welcome visitors arriving for a feast or potlatch.”

Over time a new category of pole has emerged—the commercial pole—commissioned from sources outside the culture, such as government agencies, private individuals or corporations.

Almost without exception, totem poles are carved from arborvitae. It takes a specialized technique to harvest the tree and a great deal of preparation to raise a finished totem pole. Artist-carvers are commissioned to shape figures and objects into the tree. A whole host of supernatural beings have become the crests of various northwest coast peoples, which are described in Stewart’s book, a reputable source for learning more about totem poles. The author details and interprets the figures and crests found on 110 totem poles accessible to the public in communities of the Pacific Northwest.