Saturday, May 28, 2011

Penn State Arboretum

I haven’t visited University Park in 20 years. The campus has changed dramatically. Old, wind-blown Parking Lot 80 is full of buildings. The Creamery has a new building. Beaver Stadium is higher. A lot has changed but, the College Diner downtown is in the same place and still serves Fried Stickys ala mode - even for breakfast.

We visited Penn State University Arboretum on a cool, sunless day. The entire 370 acres is a huge tract of land next to the new Dickinson School of Law. The Arboretum is dedicated to teaching, research and restoration.

H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens (Phase 1) was completed in 2009 with 17,000 plants, 700 varieties on 5 acres of gardens The botanic gardens consist of a series of green rooms, not visible from one another.

The gardens include the Event Lawn. North Terrace Garden (future Conservatory Terrace),Rose and Fragrance Garden, Demonstration Gardens (including Annual and Perennial Display Garden, Butterfly Garden, and Hummingbird Garden), Soaring Waters (fountain), Oasis Garden with Lotus Pool, and Overlook Pavilion There is a surprise around every corner

From the pavilion to the horizon, a vast expanse includes 43 acres of 18th century hardwood forest. The area surrounding the current arboretum will someday hold an orchard, a children’s garden, conservatory, four-seasons garden, meadow garden, a 10 acre hybrid chestnut Orchard and much more.

It will only get better in years to come. A great addition to Happy Valley (and a short drive from The Creamery)


Scenes from the Botanic Garden:

Large Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolious) ‘Summer Wine’ ready to bloom.

Virginia sweespire (Itea virginica) brilliant yellow green. It’s fall color would make it a good replacement for the invasive burning bush.

Lotus Pool in the Oasis Garden will be filled with unusual water lily and lotus plants in summer including Chinese lotus grown from 2,000-year-old seeds. (New Law School Building in the background)

Soaring Waters fountain in the Terrace Garden (future site of the Conservatory).

Rows of tulips at the end of their bloom.

A pretty pink flowering plant is a backdrop in the Pollinator’s Garden sign.

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