More than a half-century ago, Fred Lape started with an idea: to grow every species of woody plant from temperate regions around the world that would survive on his farmland in Schoharie County. Slowly, over the years, his plantings developed into what today is the George Landis Arboretum. Here, one is privileged to find mature specimens of oaks and conifers (collections that are nationally recognized), as well as many examples of trees native to both the Northeast US and other continents.
The historic Fred Lape plantings at Landis will be a focal point for us over the next few years, thanks to donations generated by our 2018 Annual Appeal and funding from the Iroquois Pipeline Community grant, the Schwab Foundation, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation — the last through a Zoo, Botanical Garden and Aquarium (ZBGA) grant.
The ZBGA grant specifically provides multi-year funding to care for and maintain the Arboretum’s horticultural collection. This includes four-season maintenance and upkeep.
The Schwab grant has allowed us to keep our collection records up to date through the purchase of a new BG Base computer installed with the latest software. Since last spring, a team of volunteers has been meeting weekly to enter tree information such as new plantings and plant deaths. This grant has also allowed us to replace many of the lilacs planted by Fred Lape that succumbed to a deadly pathogen. A new site, generously funded by Barbara and Art Coleman, will re-establish this historic collection.
In June of 2018, Landis was awarded an Iroquois Pipeline Community grant. This grant will contribute to the reclamation of overgrown areas, the installation of drainage culverts in wet areas, and the fertilization and winter protection of our specimens. The grant will also permit us to place new plant labels in areas along the Fred Lape Trail, the Farmhouse, and in the Coleman Lilac Collection.
These grants and contributions from you and others allow us to fulfill Fred Lape’s dream. While we have had to remove some legacy specimens due to their decline or death, other specimens have been “rediscovered” in undeveloped areas. For example, many paw-paw trees (Asimina triloba) had become lost in the brushy area near the main parking lot. These very healthy native specimens are now showcased and will perhaps bear fruit in the fall, an event many plant enthusiasts will enjoy. Similarly, a small grove of persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) has been uncovered, as well as a few more Buckleya distichophylla – a rare and remarkable plant found in few other locations.
We are committed to actively preserving our horticultural heritage, thus making the George Landis Arboretum a vital organization with roots in the past, growing into the future.