Our big-leafed magnolia, sadly, has many serious structural and disease
issues, which combined pose a significant risk of failure. And so it is
with great regret that our treasured big-leafed magnolia will come down
by the end of season.
By Christopher Dunn, Ph.D., the E. N. Wilds Director
Having recently joined Cornell Plantations, I am immediately amazed by the quality of the staff, gardens, natural areas, and the unique and often sacred plants in our collections. Many trees that grace our botanical garden and arboretum have been providing beauty and shade since the earliest days of Plantations. Among those is the beautiful Magnolia macrophylla, the big-leafed magnolia nestled between the Nevin Welcome Center and the Lewis Education Building in the heart of the botanical garden. In this location, it is far from its normal range of the Southeastern United States. This magnificent tree, estimated to be over 50 years old, has been a key feature of the botanical garden since 1966. It has aged and elicited countless cries of wonder as visitors pass under its canopy and admire its huge and beautiful flowers. It is, unfortunately, reaching the end of its life. We have been tracking the health of this tree, noting various signs of decay and poor health, for many years. Our lead arborist recently said to me, “as with all living things, there comes a time when steps to preserve our trees and protect our visitors and staff are limited to only one option. This magnolia, sadly, has many serious structural and disease issues, which combined pose a significant risk of failure.”
And so it is with great regret that our treasured big-leafed magnolia will come down by the end of season. We invite you to say goodbye and marvel at its giant leaves and beautiful blooms one final time. Our horticulture staff has been growing a seedling of this tree, anticipating that this replacement will one day be needed. Once the seedling has been planted, we will have the pleasure of watching it grow and mature and enjoying another 50 years of splendor. Although we are sad, we take heart in this reminder from Aldo Leopold “There are two great acts, one is to harvest a tree because it involves faith that another will grow. The other is to plant a tree, because one must believe that it will grow.”
The video below features Lee Dean, Plantations' Lead Arborist, explaining his careful and thoughtful decision to remove this much beloved tree.
To read Lee Dean's interview with the Ithaca Journal about this tree, click here.
As part of our collaboration with Cornell’s American Indian Program, please join us this Saturday, July 12, in honoring the Haudenosaunee long-practiced peace-making tradition of planting a white pine at Cornell Plantations as an emblematic Tree of Peace in an effort to strengthen the message of peace and unity.
Date/time: Saturday, July 12; 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
Location: Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive, Ithaca
Speaker: John Block (Seneca Allegany) will lead a traditional Haudenosaunee opening and closing and will give a short talk on "The Significance of the Haudenosaunee tradition of planting white pine as a tree of peace."
Interactive performance: The Allegany River Indian Dancers will lead participants in a Round Dance and Haudenosaunee song, music and dance.
Peace Offerings: There will be an opportunity for participants to offer messages of peace.
View this event on our calendar here.
Click here for job descriptions.
Cornell Plantations’ gardens, arboretum, and natural areas are places for discovery and wonder. But beyond our natural beauty and leadership in environmental conservation, education is at the heart of everything we do.
From Cornell students to local schoolchildren, visitors and lifelong learners, every year 14,000 people reconnect with nature through our tours, classes, and free public programs. This delightful short video shows the breadth and value of these programs and the
difference they make.
You can help people of all ages learn about plants and how essential they are to our lives and well-being. Please make a gift today.
Cornell University provides only 15% of our operating budget, so we rely on support from people like you who care about preserving the environment, and the importance of plants and nature in our lives.
Cornell Plantations -- the arboretum, botanical garden and natural areas of Cornell University -- welcomes all alumni and their families to Reunion Weekend, June 5-8,2014.
During Reunion our rhododendrons, irises, and magnolias should be blooming, and you may still find many spring wildflowers in the Mundy Wildflower Garden and natural areas. Take our shuttle van from Barton Hall, West Campus or North Campus, to the Nevin Welcome Center, where you can take a mini-tour, pick up a visitor map and explore on your own, browse the exhibits and gift shop, or just relax and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the gardens and grounds. Our staff and volunteers are available to answer your questions and help you find your way around.
Welcome back -- to Cornell Plantations!
A variety of tours and programs are planned for Reunion Weekend. Activities are free and are open to all Reunion attendees, the general public and members of the Ithaca community:
Nevin Welcome Center open from 9:30 to 5:00 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
Shuttle service available from 12:00 to 5:00, Friday and Saturday. Stops at Barton Hall, West Campus and North Campus.
Beebe Lake Natural History Walk
Thursday, 3 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Stroll around the lake to discover the history, flora, and fauna of Cornell's favorite natural area.
Plantations Botanical Garden Highlights Tour
Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations Rd.,
Friday, 10 a.m.- 11a.m.
Guided one-hour tour through the numerous theme gardens in the Botanical Garden.
Plantations Garden Mini Tours
Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations, Rd.,
Friday, 1 p.m.- 4:30 p.m., Saturday, 1 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.
15-minute mini-tours highlighting significant plants and gardens, launching approximately every 20 minutes.
Plantations Mundy Wildflower Garden Tour
Mundy Wildflower Garden, Caldwell Road entrance,
Friday, 11 a.m.- 12 p.m.,
Explore this woodland wildflower garden and discover a rich variety of native flora.
Upper Cascadilla Gorge Hike
Meet at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts in Collegetown,
Friday, 2 p.m.- 3:30 p.m.
Hike through Upper Cascadilla Gorge and learn about the geology, natural
history, and beauty of this scenic greenway. Includes one moderately steep slope; please wear comfortable walking shoes.
Spring Plant Sale
Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive;
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Take home some of Plantations’ gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape! This spring’s offerings will include some small shrubs, a wide variety of perennials, and some new additions to the horticulture trade.
Fall Creek Gorge Hike
Meet at the north end of the Triphammer Footbridge (by Beebe Lake Dam),
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.- 2 p.m.,
Discover the beauty, natural history and geology of Cornell’s iconic Fall Creek Gorge. Moderately strenuous hike over steep gravel trails, and up and down two staircases; please wear comfortable walking shoes.
“The Hangovers” - Allan Hosie Treman '21 Memorial Concert
Jackson Grove, F.R. Newman Arboretum, Saturday, 2:30 – 3:30 pm,
Relax in the shade and enjoy this performance by The Hangovers, the popular a capella subset of the Cornell Glee Club. Accessibility for disabled
persons is limited. Refreshments provided. Plantations shuttle vans will loop to the Arboretum before and after the concert.
Get inspired and take home some of our gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape this Saturday, June 7, 9:00–4:00 at our Plant Production Facility. Discounted prices for Plantations members. If you’re not a member, you can join at the sale and receive the discount on the spot!
Through a partnership with faculty in Cornell’s Horticulture and Landscape Architecture departments, we recently installed a climate change demonstration garden in the Pounder Vegetable Garden. An unheated greenhouse known as a high tunnel creates a warmer environment allowing students and faculty to study the effects of higher temperatures on the plants growing inside and outside the high tunnel. The garden is also used to help visitors better understand climate change and the impacts it may have on our home gardens. Learn more here in the Cornell Chronicle article, “High tunnels at Plantations to simulate climate change.”
The Campus Gorges are the most spectacular parts of Cornell's natural areas, swimming in them is extremely unsafe and not permitted. Learn more about how you can enjoy Cornell's gorges and where you can access swimming areas in the Chronicle article, "Gorge safety is paramount in Cornell summers."