Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation Arboretum

Dr. Fay Hyland at the Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation


Trying to find a parking place to visit The Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation Arboretum - aka Fay Hyland Botanical Garden - on the campus of the University of Maine, Orono, is difficult. Trying to learn about the man is more so.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign! You’d think that after yesterday’s hippies gained control of universities, signs would have practically disappeared. Nope. There are more restrictions than ever.

I parked behind a fraternity house nearby. It was late morning. There was no apparent activity. I supposed the brothers were very studious and in class. I hoped my car wouldn’t be towed.

To learn something about the namesake, Fay Hyland, I had to search deeply. One would think that more information about him would be readily available in the online university web site. Not so. Perhaps Dr. Hyland seems irrelevant now.

According to findagrave.com, Fay Hyland was born March 10, 1900 in Portland, Michigan, the son of Mr. Charles Hyland and Lovinia Florence Crowell Hyland. Two of Charles and Lovinia’s children died in infancy. Lovinia was a Gold Star Mother, having also lost a child in war.

“Fay graduated from Portland High School, Portland, MI, and continued his education at Michigan State University, where he obtained his B.S. He continued his education at the University of Maine, obtaining his M.S. degree. Mr. Hyland did graduate work at Harvard University.

“During his career, he also participated in advance programs of the Brookhaven National Atomic Energy Laboratory, Syracuse University and the University of Massachusetts. He also authored many scientific publications.

“Fay initiated and developed the Botanical Plantation of the University of Maine. He taught there for 50 years, from 1926 until his retirement in 1965. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Maine in 1965. Dr. Hyland died in 1984.”

Stillwater River, Orono, ME
The Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation Arboretum was established in 1934. It’s located along the Stillwater River - a side channel of the Penobscot - affording beautiful views upstream and down.  Many of the trees are tagged for identification. Undeveloped paths and remnants of old drives allow visitors to walk through the collection. The 1.8 mile Stillwater River Trail on the opposite bank follows an old rail line constructed in the 1860s which transported wood products to nearby Bangor and coal to the university. A few relics remain.

Whether one is interested in silviculture, botany, the environment, the man, local history, or a nice place to stroll outdoors, The Fay Hyland Botanical Plantation Arboretum is a great place to walk among tall trees.

Follow me to see what grows there.


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Thursday, January 21, 2016

National Garden Bureau says 2016 is the Year for Begonias


Year of the Begonia
National Garden Bureau says 2016 is the Year for Begonias
"With over 1,700 different species, Begonia (family Begoniaceae) is the fifth most diverse class of plants.  Begonias are often found wild from South and Central America to India. It is impossible to know exactly where they originated, but stories of plants matching their description date back to 14th century China. Begonias officially got their name in 1690 when a French botanist, Charles Plumier, named them after a fellow French botanist, Michel B├ęgon."

" Here are the major classes that you will see in North American garden retailers:
  • Begonia semperflorens-cultorum or “wax begonias “are the most common. Plants are small (8-12”) mounds with rounded leaves and blooms. Flowers range from white to scarlet red.
  • Begonia tuberosa (tuberous begonias) typically have large flowers in a broad color range. Flowers can be huge and double. Since the plants are monoecious, there are always both single (male) and double (female) flowers on the same plant. The leaves are usually asymmetrical, hairy or fuzzy and have a serrated edge.   
  • Begonia boliviensis is more heat tolerant than other types.  The plant branches cascade down in hanging baskets or window boxes. The leaves are similar in shape to tuberous begonias but are narrower and smooth. The flower has long, strap-like petals forming a soft trumpet.
  • Begonia hiemalis, also called elatior or Reiger begonia, typically have small to medium double flowers in a wide range of colors. These are often sold around the holidays.
  • Begonia masoniana has bold color patterns on leaves that are textured with puckers and appear coarse.
  • Begonia rhizomatous has thick, fleshy stems with large, colorful leaves. The leaves can be round or heavily lobed like a grape leaf. Some have small white flowers in the spring, and a few varieties bloom all summer. 
  • Begonia rex are grown for their beautiful leaves, which are quite hairy or fuzzy and usually covered with multicolored, intricate swirled designs.
  • Begonia hybrida is used by plant breeders to show that a variety is a cross between two different classes.
 "No matter which type of begonia you choose, these plants are sure to bring beauty and interest to your garden."

Read more at National Garden Bureau.

Return to Begonias at goGardenNow.com.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

We have a serious erosion problem on a slope beside our driveway.



Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltonii' - aka 'Blue Rug'

We have a serious erosion problem on a slope beside our driveway. We like ‘Blue Rug’ junipers. Will they help stop erosion?

‘Blue Rug’ junipers – aka Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’ -  are fine for erosion control, but as with any ground cover, they hold soil best when they are mature. Since you have a “serious erosion problem”, you’ll have to take some measures to hold the soil in place until the junipers grow. 

I suggest you spread an erosion control blanket over the area, and then plant the junipers through it.
Erosion control blankets are available in several biodegradable materials including, straw, jute and coconut fiber in natural colors. The materials are held together with unobtrusive netting.  Water is allowed to percolate into the soil beneath while holding it in place. The ground cover plants will mature eventually to hide the blanket. The materials will decompose.

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