An arboretum, by definition, is a garden of trees. But the Landis Arboretum is known for many things beyond its trees: native plants, hiking trails, plant sales, concerts, classes, sculptures, photo opportunities, wildlife viewing — all available to enjoy throughout the year.
And beyond all these attractions, Landis also offers its visitors a variety of gardens.
The Van Loveland Perennial Garden was named after longtime gardener and close friend of Arboretum founder Fred Lape, Levan “Van” Loveland. The perennial beds of this garden run across the lawn between the Arboretum’s historic Farmhouse and flowering Magnolia Collection and are home to many beautiful spring and fall blooming bulbs, varieties of iris, ‘Betty Corning’ clematis, daylilies, peonies, roses, and much more. Over the past few years, many of these garden plants have become a main meal for the wildlife that also call Landis home. But rather than get discouraged, we have instead turned our eyes and weeding hands to the other gardens at the Arboretum.
The Beal Peony Garden houses over a dozen peony plants on the hillside between the Meeting House and the back of the Barn. A favorite adoption site for volunteer garden groups, its main flower power display happens from late May through June, and the blossoms range in colors from red, pink, and fuchsia to yellow and white. The garden also has a stunning specimen of bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). Its needles change to a gorgeous orange-brown color each fall.
The Rock Garden wraps around the front of the Harkness Library, Propagation Room, and Greenhouse at Landis. It includes specimens of sedum, euphorbia, catmint, veronica, and aquilegia hybrids. In the spring a lovely pasque flower (Pulsatilla patens) blooms just to the left of the entrance to the Greenhouse, its purple flowers a delight to see each year. Across from the pasque flower is a planting of old-fashioned tansy flowers, and a bed of peach-pink dwarf iris. Along the wall grows snow-in-summer and hen-and-chicks mixed in with other small sedum plants.
The Shanti Vun Meditation Garden is Landis’ newest garden. It houses a phenomenal birch collection, surrounded by garden beds of low maintenance perennials and flowering shrubs. The garden also features a small pond with a flowing waterfall and bridge. The pond is filled with an abundance of water-garden plants including yellow, red, and pink flowering water lilies, which bloom summer through fall.
The Meeting House Rock Wall and Patio: The recently installed rock wall garden bed and patio at the Meeting House is a great place to sit and enjoy the views of the Schoharie Valley. Picnic tables are on site, and the area is popular for Memorial Tree dedications. The hand laid raised rock wall has been planted with a variety of hosta, creeping phlox, and coreopsis, which offer a calming and relaxing mood throughout the growing season.
The Parking Lot Garden and Hillside: The hillside has been landscaped with a variety of flowering trees, evergreens, and grasses. It also features crabapple and cherry trees, Katsura, juniper, larch, and boxwood. This site is also home to Landis’ historic dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). Below the hillside is a large island garden bed, another favorite adoption site for volunteer garden groups over the years. This bed is full of varieties of narcissus, daylilies, and spirea shrubs. We plan to cultivate more pollinator friendly plants with labels and educational signage in the future.
Landis is full of trees – and treasures. Some of these treasures, such as our gardens, can benefit from the hands of volunteers who enjoy helping them grow and thrive. For more information about volunteering, go to www.landisarboretum.org.