Frequent visitors to the Arboretum are already familiar with the Ed Miller Native Plant Trail, which includes almost all of the trees, shrubs, and vines native to New York State – more than 200 distinct species.
Ed continually adds to and enhances the Trail, often with the help of his sons and his friends. One special friend is Nan Williams, who has worked with Ed since the early days of the project. Nan is a member of the Arboretum, as well as the Thursday Naturalists of the Capital Region and the Botanical Society of America.
Soon after the spur trail was cut across the trail’s wetland area in 2004, Nan supplied some wetland ferns (ostrich, cinnamon, and royal) from her own property. Last year, Nan collaborated with Ed in publishing Ferns of the Capital Region: A Guide to Species Identification, now available at the Arboretum for purchase in hardcopy or in a .pdf format free with Arboretum membership. While he and Nan were working on the booklet, they discovered a nucleus of fern colonies already established on the hillside and decided that they would plant and label every species common locally. Ed defines “common locally” as those ferns he has been able to find growing naturally in at least two places open to the public within 30 miles of the Capital Region. Nan was able to find specimens of most of these on her family’s property. A few were purchased from nurseries, including a couple that are rarities in this area, including male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) and Braun’s holly (Polystichum braunii) fern. Some species of wood ferns had already established themselves naturally on the hillside, including intermediate wood (evergreen) ferns and marginal ferns. There are now 30 species planted on this addition to the Native Plant Trail.
If you are intrigued and would like to see Ed and Nan’s handiwork for yourself, join Ed for a free walking tour at 2 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17, at Landis’ Spring Plant, Book and Bake Sale.
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