HF & G Blog

Bringing Holden Science to the Classroom

At Holden, my job focuses mostly on conducting plant science research. I really love conducting research! There is something thrilling about an unexpected result or a result that answers a long burning question. I even love the months (or years) of

Curating a Collection

As Rhododendron collections manager at Holden Forests and Gardens I wear many ericaceous hats, but at the core of my job is curating the Holden Rhododendron Collection. This role differs from most of the other folks in the Holden Research

Global Birding Weekend

Did you know that the arboretum is a birdwatching hotspot all year round? And, this weekend is the inaugural Global Birding Weekend, a new event devoted to getting outside and recording as many birds as possible.

Crabapples: a ripe system for research

Crabapples, the wild apple species and cultivars (Malus spp.), are important members of the rose family. Crabapples produce profuse blossom (Fig. 1) and small fruits (Fig. 2)1. Many crabapples are cultivated as ornamental trees or rootstocks, and

Science on Friday: the Art and Science of Grafting

By Connor Ryan Grafting is an ancient technique of joining two distinct plants together. Grafts occur naturally or they can occur through human intervention. In practice, grafting usually involves the joining of the shoots of one plant (termed

Learn More About the Flowering Plant that's Everywhere: Goldenrods

By Dawn Gerlica, Horticulturist The burst of smiling yellow blooms in every field seem to be saying goodbye to summer and welcome to autumn. This is the season of goldenrod. Solidago, commonly called goldenrods, is a genus of about 100 to 120

National Mushroom Month Continues – Lessons in Fungal Ecology and Conservation

My name is Claudia and I’m the newest member of the team here at the Long Science Center at Holden Arboretum. I’m a recent graduate of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a Master of Science in

Pretty Purple Flowers Everywhere: Late Summer Asters

By Annie Rzepka, Horticulturist While we display many different types of asters at the Arboretum, some of our best will be in full bloom in the next month.  You can find New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) in the Myrtle S. Holden

Mushrooms: the hardest working recyclers in the forest

September is one of our favorite months in the Holden Forests and Gardens Soil Ecology lab. Why? Because it is National Mushroom Month. Many people celebrate National Mushroom Month by cooking and eating their favorite mushrooms.

Eliciting Wonder: Working Alongside Patrick and Sam Dougherty

As we prepare to open the “Tilt-a-Whirl” installation for Patrick Dougherty’s Stickwork, the team at Holden Forests & Gardens would like to thank our volunteers who worked alongside Patrick and his son Sam to create the work of art.

Pollinator Series: Late Summer - Tall Purple Flowers and Long Horned Bees

By Mary Brennan, HF&G Volunteer and Ohio Volunteer Pollinator Specialist Each season has its treasures and late summer does not disappoint! It is a time of tall stately blossoms reaching for the golden sun. Look and you’ll see cheerful

The Joy of Coding: Raspberry Pi edition

When I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in ecological research and education I knew that there were a lot of new skills that I was going to learn as I obtained my bachelor’s degree and eventually a PhD. I knew I was going to learn how to

Exploring the Rhododendron Research Network (R-RN)

By Juliana Medeiros, HF&G Plant Biologist The Rhododendron Research Network (R-RN) was founded at Holden in 2017 to increase collaboration and dissemination of Rhododendron research, to connect scientists with each other and with plant

All about Pollinators Series: Carpenters ​- BIG ​and ​little ​!

Welcome to prime time “World of Pollinators”! July , August and September are such active months - flowers are celebrating with their riotous blooms of bright colors and lucious aromas, and the pollinators are taking full advantage! Have you noticed

Top 10 Garden Highlights for August

TOP-TEN GARDEN HIGHLIGHTS for AUGUST   Cleveland Botanical Garden   This is a walker’s self-guided tour through the Gardens inside-and-out that will help us to discover the magic of local Nature in August.  Every month is a new top-ten list!  All

Conservation Spotlight: Weeding the Natural Areas

By Sarah ModicBradley, HF&G Natural Resources Specialist Around these parts it’s not all too uncommon to engage in a conversation about your big weekend plans to… weed the garden beds! Much of the horticulture staff devote countless hours

Science Friday: One Fruit, Two Fruit, Red Fruit, Blue Fruit

By Alexa Wagner, Doctoral Graduate Student Ohio’s forests have changed over the last 200 years. Few old-growth forests remain as much of the land was timbered and cleared for agriculture in the early 19th century. Most forests in the northeastern

All About Pollinators Series: Bumble Bee Identification

By Mary Brennan, HF&G Volunteer and Ohio Volunteer Pollinator Specialist Hello again! So, did you see any Bumble Bees

All About Pollinators Series: The Wonderful World of Bumble Bees

By Mary Brennan, HF&G Volunteer and Ohio Volunteer Pollinator Specialist Summer is in full swing with warm days, lots of sunshine, a bright display of a multitude of flowers and the sweet drone of bees flying from blossom to blossom. It's not

How does "the early bird gets the worm" play out in plant communities?

By Katie Stuble, HF&G Research Scientist You’ve heard the phrase “the early bird gets the worm”. We use it to indicate that getting somewhere first can come with big benefits. It’s snagging the choicest donuts in the office lunchroom, or the

All About Pollinators Series: How to Create a Butterfly Garden

By Mary Ann Wagner, HF&G Volunteer Mid July brings a riot of color to the Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Jr. Butterfly Garden at the Holden Arboretum. There are also “flying flowers” – butterflies – which bring an extra dimension to the garden.

Top 10 Garden Highlights for July at Botanical Garden

Cleveland Botanical Garden   This is a walker’s self-guided tour through the Gardens inside-and-out that will help us to discover the magic of local Nature in July.  Every month is a new top-ten list!  COSTA RICA BIOME:  BUTTERFLIES AND

Exploring Stemcutting Propagation with HF&G's Connor Ryan

By Connor Ryan, HF&G Rhododendron Collections Manager One of my favorite parts of my job as Rhododendron Collections Manager is plant propagation – creating and growing new plants for our grounds and for our patrons. This is a routine part of

All About Pollinators: A Bee or Not a Bee?

By Mary Brennan, HF&G Volunteer and Ohio Volunteer Pollinator Specialist Greetings to all! Now that we know a little of what pollination is,  I thought it might be helpful to be able to pick out just what is flying around the flowers. Not

Juncos: Just another winter bird?

By Rebecah Troutman, HF&G Natural Areas Biologist Our team handles the birds we study with the utmost care. Here’s a little more about how we net and handle the juncos: Birds are captured in mist nets (very fine-strand nets that are

The surprising way Jack-in-the-Pulpit initiates pollination...

By Sarah Kyker, HF&G Research Associate Some of the most fun stories we have in science are about surprising discoveries. Most people think of these as “eureka” moments. We can picture a scientist in a lab seeing something unexpected and

All About Pollinators Blog Series: What is Pollination?

By Mary Brennan, HF&G Volunteer and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist In this week's post, we’ll talk about what pollination is. Let’s begin with the flower. Whether it’s a flower on a tree, bush, grass, food crop or in a forest, field or

Victory Garden Series: Nothing Beats a Homegrown Tomato!

By HF&G Horticulturist Dawn Gerlica One of the most common reasons people decide to start home vegetable gardens is to get good tomatoes. Science has developed tomatoes for grocery stores that are easier to transport across the country

Pollinator Research at the Arboretum with Dr. Na Wei

By Dr. Na Wei, Holden Research Scientist Why do we care about pollinators? Pollinators are important creatures in natural ecosystems and our daily life because they provide vital services to wild plants and our crops. Pollinators carry and

Exploring the Glasshouse…and My Palate

By Eva Rodriguez, HF&G Interpretive Services Manager Last week, I shared the bounty of Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Costa Rica biome of Smith Glasshouse with the people of Cleveland on Kickin’ it with Kenny, Fox8’s morning show. Glasshouse

All About Pollinators Blog Series Part 1: Happy National Pollinator Week!

By Mary Brennan This week we are celebrating “ National Pollinator Week."  Now I like celebrations sure, but pollinators? And a whole week? What’s up with that? Who or what are they – what’s so important to warrant a whole week, and what’s it to

Science on Friday: Spring phenology monitoring wraps for the year

As spring transitions to summer, we’re wrapping up this year’s spring phenology monitoring in Bole Woods at the Holden Arboretum. Have you heard the term phenology before? Phenology is the study of the timing of natural phenomena – anything that has

Science on Friday: Plant–pollinator interactions and the role of the flower microbiome in crabapples

By Na Wei, Holden Research Scientist Today we are continuing our story of ornamental apples (crabapples). Plants are living in a microbial world. They interact not only with microbes in the soil but also the ones living in their flowers. These

The Murch Canopy Walk and the Kalberer Emergent Tower Open on Tuesday, June 16th

We continue to reopen the Holden Arboretum grounds to visitors looking for summer adventure close to home. The Murch Canopy Walk invites guests on a 500-foot-long elevated walkway that is built 65 feet above the forest floor. The Kalberer

Exploration of Roses, Family Rosaceae, with Mark Bir

By Mark Bir, HF&G Horticulturist The rose family is diverse, numerous, cosmopolitan.  Of its several

Science Friday - Intern program

By Katie Stuble, HF&G Research Scientist As a scientist at the Holden Arboretum, I wear many hats, but one of my favorites is mentor to our summer interns. Each year, Holden’s Research Department brings in students from around the country to

The Cleveland Botanical Garden outdoor trails and gardens opening to members and the public on Wednesday, June 10

Holden Forests & Gardens (HF&G) will welcome members and the general public to the outdoor gardens at The Cleveland Botanical Garden this Wednesday, June 10, 2020. “The outdoor gardens are absolutely beautiful this time of year,” said

Victory Gardening Series: Rhubarb is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

By Dawn Gerlica, HF&G Horticulturist It’s now June and hopefully the weather will finally cooperate to allow all the warm season crops to get started. If your garden is not fully planted yet, don’t fret. Gardens are very forgiving and not

Holden Forests & Gardens stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Holden Forests & Gardens condemns the violence against Black Americans and other people of color that causes them to be unsafe in outdoor spaces and in our communities. Our vision is that all communities will be transformed into vibrant

Promoting Healthy Forests Through Research at Working Woods

By Rory Schiafo, HF&G Research Specialist If you have been hiking on the Bole Woods loop in the last two years, you may have noticed some strange white pipes sticking out of the ground, or perhaps a group of eager young ecologists measuring

The Holden Arboretum Will Reopen to the Public May 28

Get close to nature with hundreds of acres of beautiful gardens and miles of woodland trails Holden Forests & Gardens (HF&G) will welcome the public to The Holden Arboretum beginning this Thursday, May 28, 2020. “We are excited to reopen

Understanding How Trees Respond to Their Urban Environment

By Sharon Danielson, Doctoral Graduate Student As urban areas expand, they leave isolated forest patches in their wake. The effects of urban areas such as higher temperatures, water flow changes, and increased pollution are not limited to the

Exploring the Magnolia Hybrids of David G. Leach

By Connor Ryan, HF&G Rhododendron Collections Manager As the Rhododendron Collections Manager at Holden Forests & Gardens, I have the exciting job of carrying on the legacy of the late David G. Leach. Most of this revolves around the

National Peace Officers Memorial Day Tree Planting

In observance of National Peace Officers Memorial Day, a tree was planted today at our Arboretum campus. Our Holden Police department and horticulture crew came together to pay tribute to all of our local, state and federal peace officers who serve

How genus Rhododendron became my favorite plant species

By Juliana S. Medeiros, HF&G Research Scientist As a plant scientist I am often asked the question, “What is your favorite plant species?” The truth is, I can’t pick just one. What I love about plants is their diversity, so, this is the story

Victory Gardening Series: How to Grow Asparagus

By Dawn Gerlica, HF&G Horticulturist If you purchased asparagus crowns this spring and are now wondering what to do with them, you’ve come to the right place. Asparagus requires some odd planting techniques differing from most of other garden

What makes a native tree become invasive?

By Randy Long, HF&G postdoctoral researcher Invasive species. The term brings to mind organisms that have been moved around by people, either accidentally or for a purpose, that are now causing problems. For example, here in Ohio we are

Victory Gardening Series: How to Grow Onions

By Dawn Gerlica, HF&G Horticulturist In our Victory Gardening series, we explore how to plant your own vegetable garden during these uncertain times. This week, we are exploring the delicious world of onions, for all of those home-cooked

Arboretum reopening to members May 12: Reservations required

Arboretum Reopening Holden Forests & Gardens will begin to welcome members to the Holden Arboretum on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. The general public will be welcomed back within approximately two weeks after this date as we continue to slowly and

Coding in plant biology, who knew?

By Juliana Medeiros, Plant Biologist I never viewed myself as a math person, let alone a computer coder. I have always loved nature, animals and plants, these are what drew me to plant biology. But somehow, coding has become one of my

How to Start Your Own Victory Garden--Step 1: Starting & Sowing Your Seeds

By Dawn Gerlica, Lantern Court Horticulturist About Victory Gardens During World War I and II, citizens were encouraged to plant backyard gardens to help reduce the need to ration food. These gardens were known as Victory Gardens. Whether it is

Holden Forests & Gardens' Operation Tulip brings smiles and tears

Tulips (Tulipa) form a genus of spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous geophytes. The flowers are usually large and brightly colored shades of red, pink, yellow, or white. Tulips are one of the world’s most popular flowers and a welcome

Happy Arbor Day! After you plant your new tree, here's a toolkit to help you care for it

On Arbor Day 2020, celebrate virtually with us and plant a native tree, or choose a special place in your yard to plant a future tree. To plant your tree properly with the best chances for decades of enjoyment, we have created this Tree Care Quick

For the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day: Renew Respectful Connections to the Natural World

"Perhaps as we are forced now to pause from our normal routine and the connections with our human communities, we can take the time to explore and rekindle new connections to nature and the life we share this planet with." -David Burke, Ph.D.,

Long-term Research in Forest Ecology in Stebbins Gulch

By David Burke, Ph.D. Vice President for Science and Conservation for Holden Forests & Gardens We began our long-term climate research in Stebbins Gulch in 2006. Our goal was to monitor how plants and soil fungi that associate with plant

Spring Ephemerals...Now You See Them, Soon You Won't

By Rebecah Troutman, HF&G Natural Areas Biologist One of the early signs of life after a seemingly long winter is spring ephemerals. What is a spring ephemeral? A spring ephemeral is a wildflower that comes up in early Spring (once the

Research Spotlight: Exploring Fire Blight in Ornamental Apple Trees

By Na Wei, Holden Research Scientist Plants are living in a microbial world. They interact not only with microbes in the soil but also the

April is for Arbor Day - Holiday raises awareness of the importance of trees

In 1872 in Nebraska City, Nebraska, J. Sterling Morton had the idea to set aside a day for planting trees to improve the environment and beautify the landscape. On what became the first Arbor Day, 1 million trees were planted. Today, the holiday is

Korean Spice Viburnum –Viburnum carlesii - Discover a fabulous shrub for spring fragrance

By Ethan Johnson, Plant Records Curator While many species of viburnum exist, none are more sweetly scented than Viburnum carlesii, the Korean spice viburnum. This slow growing, rounded delight, grows about 8 feet tall with a spread of up to 11

Meet Caroline Tait - Holden Forests & Gardens welcomes a new vice president of horticulture and collections.

By Kristen Hampshire Capturing the wonder of outdoors is a pastime and profession for Caroline Tait, who recalls childhood days pottering with grandparents in the garden and exploring nature in her native England. “I was always drawn to

A world-class experience isn’t complete without the lively creatures that call Holden Forests & Gardens home.

By Rebecca Thompson, Manager of Academic Programs Small, but sweet and filled with life, Arcilochus colubris, or ruby-throated hummingbirds, are but one of the magnificent aerial wonders visitors can discover at Holden Forests & Gardens