Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum Caring for nature, enriching life...
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The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA) is 720 combined acres of gardens, trails, woods, and prairie. The Gardens are located at 1800 N. Dixboro Road. The Arboretum is located at 1610 Washington Heights. MBGNA is owned by the University of Michigan. Its mission is to promote environmental enjoyment, stewardship, and sustainability through education, research, and interaction with the natural world. Free admission to Matthaei and Nichols. Both properties open daily. Trails at Matthaei Botanical Gardens open daily sunrise to sunset; display gardens, gift shop, and conservatory 10 am - 4:30 pm; summer hours (mid-May through Labor Day): display gardens, gift shop, and conservatory open 10 am-8 pm daily. Nichols Arboretum open daily sunrise to sunset. Two surface parking lots at Matthaei Botanical Garden; $1.40 per hour parking (maximum $5.00 per day). Pay at central kiosk with cash or credit card. Members park for free. Metered street parking available on a limited basis at Nichols Arboretum. Also free University of Michigan lots on Washington Hts. after 5 pm weekdays and all day Sat. & Sun.

Spotted salamander spotted at Matthaei. Last week Tom O'Dell, Matthaei-Nichols collections and natural areas specialist,...
04/27/2020

Spotted salamander spotted at Matthaei. Last week Tom O'Dell, Matthaei-Nichols collections and natural areas specialist, caught a glimpse of a blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale) and an eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) at Matthaei. He also found one of our most beautiful native wildflowers, the trout lily (Erythronium americanum). The red-backed salamander can drop all or part of its tail if attacked, though the tail will grow back. These are generally secretive creatures found under logs or in wetlands.

City BonsaiWalking around the neighborhood this spring, taking the time to notice diminutive details in nature, unseen b...
04/26/2020

City Bonsai
Walking around the neighborhood this spring, taking the time to notice diminutive details in nature, unseen before. Like how the crowded roots of city sidewalk trees suggest small zen-like worlds of wonder, upside-down urban bonsai. Imagining patches of moss as meadows, curved roots as mountains or rivers. Even tree roots cramped by concrete echo nature's soft subtle reminder: slow down, look, there is beauty all around.

#matthaeinichols #umichnature #umich

Daffodil DelightPerhaps this spring you’ve wandered lonely as a cloud and happened to spy some delightful daffodils...ah...
04/25/2020

Daffodil Delight
Perhaps this spring you’ve wandered lonely as a cloud and happened to spy some delightful daffodils...ahhh. Whether a single bloom or captivating cluster, daffodils herald the much-anticipated arrival of spring, right when we need them the most. Even on cloudy, rainy, or snowy days they seem to shine a flashlight of hope in whatever little corner of the yard or garden they occupy.

By the numbers, there are over 13,000 known varieties of daffodils, 13 classification divisions based on shape and lineage (see the American Daffodil Society for details), and feature coloration from white to yellow, pink, orange, red, and green. For midwestern gardeners, daffodils grow best in sunny to lightly-shaded sites in well-drained soil. With care or benign neglect, even a small number of bulbs can naturalize readily.

However you count them, here are a few of the many shapes, forms and colors for your enjoyment.

#matthaeinichols #umichnature #umich #daffodildelight

04/24/2020

Happy Friday everyone! Today's Flower Power Friday poetry is inspired by this butterfly 🦋

Here’s an example from
A Butterfly;
That on a rough, hard rock
Happy can lie;
Friendless and all alone
On this unsweetened stone.

Now let my bed be hard,
No care take I;
I’ll make my joy like this
Small Butterfly;
Whose happy heart has power
To make a stone a flower.

By William H. Davies. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry. 1920.

As National Volunteer week comes to a close, we really miss the volunteers (and visitors) in the Conservatory and garden...
04/24/2020

As National Volunteer week comes to a close, we really miss the volunteers (and visitors) in the Conservatory and gardens. Paul Girard, Greenhouse and Conservatory Manager, had this to share: “How can our staff do all of this ourselves? We can’t. For so long we have worked with volunteers and counted on them for so much. Now that this has been taken away (due to the quarantine and limited staff personnel on-site) we realize more deeply everything that volunteers do for us. It’s times like these that make me realize how fortunate we are to work where we do and to have the great network of volunteers helping us.”

The Gaffield Children’s Garden (GCG) volunteer roles are as varied as the exploration and play options in the GCG! Lee S...
04/23/2020

The Gaffield Children’s Garden (GCG) volunteer roles are as varied as the exploration and play options in the GCG! Lee Smith Bravender, GCG Horticulturist & Educator, highlights the volunteer work of our Nature Play Pop-Up (NPPU) team: “This team is totally committed to promoting outdoor play for families and young children; the central idea at the heart of Gaffield Children’s Garden. Whether hosting 1 NPPU or 20, we are all on the same page philosophically: Nature is a great teacher, and a heck of a lot of fun! I am so grateful to these special folks who work very independently, very cooperatively, very generously, all in the heat of Summer!”

Liz Glynn, Youth Education Coordinator, reflected on the Docent program and extraordinary team of volunteers she gets to...
04/23/2020

Liz Glynn, Youth Education Coordinator, reflected on the Docent program and extraordinary team of volunteers she gets to work with. “I am continually uplifted by each person’s dedication to nature, children, Matthaei-Nichols and the way they share their own knowledge and joy with children and families. Docents fulfill our mission every time they lead a field trip or program. They corral their kids, head out on the trails or off to the beauty of the conservatory and open this magical window into the workings of nature. And many of them also don’t mind getting glitter all over themselves, when glitter is called for. Thank you, dear Docent team, for everything you do.”

Autumn olive, Elaeagnus umbellata, is an invasive shrub that came to the US from Asia around the 1830s as an ornamental ...
04/22/2020

Autumn olive, Elaeagnus umbellata, is an invasive shrub that came to the US from Asia around the 1830s as an ornamental tree. It was not found in Michigan until 1939 and can be seen in forests, fields, roadsides, gravel pits, and pretty much anywhere. Autumn olive was also planted as wildlife food and habitat historically, however, it was found to be incredibly aggressive due to its ability to spread seeds widely through birds and mammals.

They are best identified by their leaves that are bright green on top and silver underneath. This shrub can grow up to 20 feet tall and is called “autumn olive” because the plant resembles the Mediterranean olive tree and has a drupe as the fruit. There is a marketing movement in which this shrub is taking on the name “autumn berry” to sound more appealing for consumption.

Autumn olive has bright red berries with speckles in the Fall. It is not to be mistaken with other red berries, such as bush honeysuckle. These berries are packed full of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E, along with flavonoids and essential fatty acids. They are also known to have the antioxidant lycopene which may be a major cancer-fighting. These berries have 17 times the amount of lycopene than an equal serving of tomatoes. They can be eaten fresh, frozen, pureed, made into jam, wine, you name it. Make sure to be careful if transporting autumn olive berries, as you don’t want to increase the spread of this invasive species.

For the management of autumn olive, it is best to treat with herbicide due to its ability to resprout from cut stumps and roots (more information can be found in the third source below). Cutting and recutting at the early stages of invasive may work to control it, and even hand-pulling may be implemented for seedlings. Fun fact: goats and sheep graze on autumn olive and can be used to manage it while also preventing overgrazing of other native plants.

#matthaeinichols #umichnature

Created by:
Emily Lilla, Natural Areas Stewardship Technician

Photo credit:
invasive.org
https://joshfecteau.com/foraging-wild-fruit-autumn-olive/

Sources:
michigan.gov/invasives
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/autumn-berries_n_6342782

Spring and summer are usually busy for our Special Event and Ambassador volunteers. This year proves to look very differ...
04/22/2020

Spring and summer are usually busy for our Special Event and Ambassador volunteers. This year proves to look very different, but for now we choose to reflect on the joys of past seasons. Andy, Visitor Services Manager, (pictured in the greenhouse with proper PPE) had this to share: “I'm continually grateful and appreciative of the experiences that they help provide for our Visitors. Whether it's assisting a Plant Sale customer in finding the perfect plant for their garden, giving hints to find a fairy, or answering a question about our collection, these volunteers are truly the face of Matthaei-Nichols in so many ways!”

Happy Earth Day! A sliver of a silver lining to the current situation: air pollution retreats.
04/22/2020
NASA satellite sees air pollution drop over northeastern US amid coronavirus outbreak

Happy Earth Day! A sliver of a silver lining to the current situation: air pollution retreats.

Data from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA's Aura satellite shows a substantial drop in air pollution over areas of the Northeast United Sates that have implemented lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders in response to the spread of COVID-19.

It’s National Volunteer Week (April 19th-25th). Since we can’t celebrate in person, we are taking it virtual this year! ...
04/20/2020

It’s National Volunteer Week (April 19th-25th). Since we can’t celebrate in person, we are taking it virtual this year! Stay tuned all this week for volunteer-centric posts from our Volunteer Coordinator. Kicking it off with this word cloud generated from a prompt that asked staff to fill in the blank of “Thank You Volunteers For…” 💙💛

Thank you Arb caretaker Jack Pritchard for this photo of the weeping cherry tree near the prairie in the Arb. In bloom n...
04/20/2020

Thank you Arb caretaker Jack Pritchard for this photo of the weeping cherry tree near the prairie in the Arb. In bloom now. If you visit, please remember to maintain the recommended 6 feet of distance from other visitors.

Venus Flytrap: Endemic only to the U.S. Carolinas, Dionaea muscipula or Venus Flytrap, is well known for its carnivorous...
04/19/2020

Venus Flytrap: Endemic only to the U.S. Carolinas, Dionaea muscipula or Venus Flytrap, is well known for its carnivorous habit, catching insects with its leaves for nutrition. But, did you know it also blooms? The best pollinators for this job are those with wings, who can safely visit the flower without touching the foliage. At Matthaei, this plant resides in the shallow water of the Conservatory wetland display.
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#matthaeinichols #umichnature #umich #venusflytrap #dionea
📸 Patti Dale, Display Gardens Technician @ Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

Narcissus species are named for the beautiful young man cursed and turned into a flower in Greek mythology. Beautiful, y...
04/18/2020

Narcissus species are named for the beautiful young man cursed and turned into a flower in Greek mythology. Beautiful, yet tough and resilient, the daffodils will fare just fine with light snow. Heavy snow or prolonged freezing temperatures may cause some browning on the petals and thus, a shorter time to enjoy these beauties until they appear again next spring. The bulbs we plant in autumn are cultivated forms originating in woods and meadows of the Mediterranean where similar cold temperatures may strike. Different Narcissus varieties have differing bloom times. You and your neighbors may already have fully open flowers while others are still in bud. Remember the joy they bring when bulb planting time comes in fall.
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#matthaeinichols #umichnature #umich #daffodils #narcissus
📸Patti Dale, Display Gardens Technician

Snow falling on cedars and everything else today! But it's all really lovely, as these photos by Arboretum caretaker Eri...
04/17/2020

Snow falling on cedars and everything else today! But it's all really lovely, as these photos by Arboretum caretaker Erica Gardner and Matthaei-Nichols Visitor Engagement Lead Katie Standard show. Hurray for spring... or winter...

How everyone is staying warm & dry- Here's this week's Flower Power Friday!So you think that winter is over?Well, friend...
04/17/2020

How everyone is staying warm & dry- Here's this week's Flower Power Friday!

So you think that winter is over?
Well, friend I’ve got news for you
Because winter took a drastic turn
It has more it needs to do

For the snow fell during the night
A white-out as far as we can see
Yes, spring is on the way
But it doesn’t look that way to me

It’s important along with some sun
To get a few springtime showers
To help Mother Nature create
Our wonderful and fragrant flowers

I guess sometimes it is necessary
But I hope this is the final show
Before Mother Nature turns the corner
She must fashion her springtime snow!

Poem by Marilyn Lott

Behold guaria morada, better known as the “purple country girl.” This orchid, which blooms in the greenhouse at Matthaei...
04/17/2020

Behold guaria morada, better known as the “purple country girl.” This orchid, which blooms in the greenhouse at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, was chosen as the national flower of Costa Rica by its citizens in 1939. Guaria morada (Guarianthe skinneri) is an epiphytic orchid species, meaning it lives among the trees. Tropical orchids like this thrive without soil up in the trees by taking advantage of the high humidity and frequent tropical rains. Nutrients are efficiently absorbed by the exposed aerial roots.

Our specimen is a cultivar named “Heiti Jacobs” by orchid-breeding enthusiasts. This cultivar has long been in cultivation. The species is found from Southern Mexico through Central America into Costa Rica. It has become increasingly harder to find there.

Our plant has been designated in honor of Karen Olsen Beck, former first lady of Costa Rica, whose career included roles in the Costa Rican assembly and as ambassador to Israel. As a side note, Karen's daughter, climate change expert Christiana Figueres, gave the Wege Lecture at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability in 2019.

Neighborhood nature notes: ordinary trees, beautiful buds.Katie Stannard on our visitor engagement team says she's been ...
04/16/2020

Neighborhood nature notes: ordinary trees, beautiful buds.
Katie Stannard on our visitor engagement team says she's been paying close attention to the widely varying shapes and colors of buds on neighborhood trees and bushes during her walks. It's a nice reminder that the trees follow nature's internal time clock, in spite of snow, wind, hail, cold and pandemic. Any guesses as to bud ID for some of these?

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is a native plant of Europe that was brought over to North America in the late 1800s...
04/15/2020

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is a native plant of Europe that was brought over to North America in the late 1800s for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is, however, invasive in North America due to its tendency to crowd out native species that are beneficial to the ecosystem, and can be found in your lawn, woodlands, and any other partially shady areas. Garlic mustard, even though it's tasty, releases chemicals to prevent the growth of plants around it while also containing trace amounts of cyanide to prevent being eaten by predators.

Garlic mustard spreads rapidly with the ability to spread thousands of seeds with one plant, so it is essential to simply pull it out of the ground if seen. It is important to place any pulled garlic mustard into a garbage bag and then thrown in the trash to prevent further spread. It has a two year life cycle, and in the second year, it flowers and produces seeds. The seeds can stay viable in the soil for up to 10 years, so even if you think you may have eradicated all the garlic mustard, it may still pop up the next year.

#matthaeinichols #umichnature

Created by: Emily Lilla, Nature Academy Natural Areas Stewardship Technician

Photo credit:
Michigan Flora

Sources:
https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/profile/garlic-mustard
https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/indiana/stories-in-indiana/garlic-mustard/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/11/nyregion/garlic-mustard-evil-invasive-delicious.html
https://www.invasive.org/browse/subthumb.cfm?sub=3005&start=1

And now for something completely different. Take a look at this video of the bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae), the sm...
04/15/2020
Cuba's Wild Revolution | Meet The Smallest Bird On Earth | Nature | PBS

And now for something completely different. Take a look at this video of the bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae), the smallest bird in the world, according to the University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web. About 5.5 centimeters long, including beak (around 2.25 inches), and about 2-2.5 grams (male smaller than female). Thanks to photographer Oscar Brubaker for sending the video!

But you'll have to travel to Cuba, where they are endemic, to see them.

The very smallest bird on Earth is the Bee Hummingbird, which can be found in the Zapata in Cuba. The remarkable hummingbird is barely larger than the bee it is named after and beats its tiny wings an incredible 80 times a second.

Nichols Arboretum caretaker Jack Pritchard discovered some early spring blooming plants on Sunday, including magnolia, s...
04/14/2020

Nichols Arboretum caretaker Jack Pritchard discovered some early spring blooming plants on Sunday, including magnolia, spicebush, and leatherwood. We're cheering the magnolia on because they're not big on getting frost-bitten. Thanks Jack!

Helleborus orientalis is also known as the Lenten Rose, as it is early to bloom, often during the season of Lent. Large,...
04/12/2020

Helleborus orientalis is also known as the Lenten Rose, as it is early to bloom, often during the season of Lent. Large, nodding, cup-shaped flowers atop long stems emerge from evergreen foliage. Hellebores bring joy to the shade garden this time of year, for gardeners and pollinators. (Photo 1)

Helleborus niger is also known as the Christmas Rose, though that bloom time is a bit too early for us in Michigan! This species blooms earlier and lower to the ground than H. orientalis and is a bit more tricky to grow. This recent photo shows the white blooms have faded to pink and are entering the stage of seed formation. Fortunately, pollinators will find a few newer blooms to visit as well. Look closely on the left to spot a bee in action. (Photo 2)
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#matthaeinichols #umichnature #umich #helleborus #hellebore 📸 Patti Dale, Display Gardens Technician @ Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

It's Flower Power Friday bringing you some uplifting poetry!Reminiscent melodiesserenade the morning breeze.Feathered cr...
04/10/2020

It's Flower Power Friday bringing you some uplifting poetry!

Reminiscent melodies
serenade the morning breeze.

Feathered creatures nest with care
in cherry blossoms pink and fair.

Perfumed scent of roses flow.
Tiny blades of green grass grow.

Misty showers soak the earth,
glorious colors come to birth.

Gathering clouds come and go,
rain, sun, and vibrant bow.

Dainty petals, fancy flair,
dancing in the warm, sweet air.

Violets, yellows, purest white,
graceful, gentle, welcomed sight.

Thank you, oh sweet lovely Spring,
patiently waiting the charms you bring!

Charming Spring by Patricia L. Cisco

Address

1800 N Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI
48105

Nichols Arboretum: By bus: Nichols Arboretum is served by The Ride (AATA). The 1U, 2, 4, 9U, 12UM, 12UL, 14 all have stops at Mott Hospital on East Medical Center Drive near the Washington Heights entrance of the Arb.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 16:30
Tuesday 10:00 - 16:30
Wednesday 10:00 - 20:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:30
Friday 10:00 - 16:30
Saturday 10:00 - 16:30
Sunday 10:00 - 16:30

Telephone

(734) 647-7600

Website

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Some thoughts about the peace of snow: There is this brightness and lightness that comes from the snow. The mesmerizing, mindfulness of just watching it fall, seeing the shapes of things highlighted by the white snow on branches that would otherwise go unnoticed; with nature’s most elegant highlighter, each and every branch comes into relief in this ephemeral painting. The forecast says it will be gone by tomorrow; maybe even later on today it will slip away, gently melting into the prevailing warmth of spring, a time clock undaunted by perceived aberrations of unexpected April snows. All the while chiming, if we were to tune in, spring is coming, this too shall pass, the warmer days will soon be here.
Sharing This is an invitation for all Bonsai artists to be part of the 2020 VIRTUAL Michigan AllState Bonsai Show. To be part of this event, take a nice picture of your Bonsai tree(s) using jpeg format and no larger than 1000 x 560 pixels. Photograph the FRONT VIEW of the tree exactly as if it were on exhibit at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, with a stand/display table and an accent plant too. Set it up in front of a plain, non-distracting background (grey or black recommended) and on a dark table cover. Use overall even light to minimize shadows. Feel free to include a scroll in your display if you are so inclined. Email your picture(s) to [email protected] Copy and paste this section and complete the information to include with your picture(s): Name: email address: State of residence: Club Affiliation: Common name: Scientific name: height of tree including pot: estimated age of tree: number of years in training: Your email address will NOT be published and you can opt out of having your name published too. All submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020. EARLY submissions are greatly appreciated. This virtual show will be available for viewing on Saturday, May 9. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park will be publishing the Show and each exhibitor will receive an email with details on how to view the Show prior to May 9. Viewers of the Virtual Show will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite tree. Voting will run through 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, 2020 and the top 10 will be announced at 4:45 p.m. Email Anita Buckowing [email protected] or Tim Priest [email protected] if you have any questions about all of this. This Virtual Show presents a unique opportunity for all of us...if your tree is putting on a great show of flowers currently, take a picture NOW for submission. This will be the 1st year where no one has to say "you should have seen it a few weeks ago, it was gorgeous!". Please share this post with all of your Bonsai friends. And please share the info about the actual Show once that has been finalized as well. This post will also be posted on various Bonsai related pages and groups. Thank you; I can't wait to see everyone's trees! Anita Buckowing 04/14/2020