At its annual meeting, Members of Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum elected the Board of Director and officers for a two-year term, beginning January 1, 2019. Linda Ransom will serve as president, William Lauber as treasurer, David Kooistra as first vice president, Robin Abrett as second vice president, and Nancy Shimmel as Secretary. Additional members of the Board of Directors are John Hegranes, Margaret Kerstner, William Mains, Georgette Moesch, Lourdes Osorio, Carol Palmer-Yomtov, and Mary Jo Sichak.
Once again, Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum volunteers are decorating the main entrance and grand staircase at historic Skylands Manor for the annual Holiday Open House, sponsored by the New Jersey Botanical Garden. This year’s theme, “A Country Manor Holiday,” is a tribute to the many festive celebrations held there when Skylands was a private estate. The Manor will be decorated floor-to-ceiling to create a warm and welcoming start to the holiday season.
Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum volunteers have been busily fashioning whimsical decorations to create a magical entrance for the open house. A group of more than 20 volunteers, under the direction of Sara McHugh, designed and constructed gingerbread and stocking ornaments, sprayed painted hydrangeas, filled glass ornaments with artificial snow, tied ribbons to sparkling pine cones, made gorgeous bows, and beautifully decorated the wreath that had been stored in the volunteer shed. Handmade gifts and decorations were the custom in Victorian times as gift-making was a genuine form of recreation for the whole family.
The Manor House is now quiet. The stockings have been hung with care. A lavishly decorated parlor tree sparkles with embellished ornaments, many gathered from the manor’s gardens. Tiny stockings and jauntily crafted gingerbread people adorn the nursery tree.
The Holiday Open House will be open November 29 through December 2 from 10 am to 4 pm daily. An evening reception is scheduled for Saturday, December 1 from 6 pm to 8 pm, with reservations required. For information go to www.njbg.org or call 973-962-9534.
Karliann Blumenfeld graduated this year from William Paterson with a BA in Earth Science and a BS in Environmental Sustainability. She spent approximately 60 hours at Laurelwood identifying and tagging plants and researching the availability of rhododendrons at nurseries in an effort to locate plants that Dorothy Knippenberg bred or grew at Laurelwood. Karliann will soon begin a full-time job at Emilcott, a safety expert consulting firm in Morristown, New Jersey.
Kay Gardiner is in her third year at William Paterson and is majoring in environmental science and earth science. She logged 125 hours working with the Plant Collection Management Committee. “Plant identification, documentation and tagging are the activities that make Laurelwood a true arboretum,” said Elaine Fogerty, Executive Director of Laurelwood Arboretum. “Our interns devoted many hours to the painstaking tasks of identifying trees and shrubs, recording their location and navigating the arboretum to tag the plant material. Their valuable work moves us forward in our goal of becoming a fully accredited arboretum.”
On October 5, the McHutchison Horticultural Group of Wayne returned to Laurelwood Arboretum for a third time this year. “The newly created Silver Garden on Ridge Road was so successful we decided that the garden bed should be expanded,” said Elaine Fogerty, Executive Director of Laurelwood Arboretum. “The garden held up during the summer heat and rain and has been largely ignored by our very hungry deer herd.”
The McHutchison volunteers planted Dusty Miller, Artemisia, blue fescue, Russian sage, Lamb’s Ear, ‘Purple Sensation’ allium, lavender, sage and Bluebeard. They then mulched the plant beds. “Most of the plants have fuzzy leaves or a strong scent that the deer find repulsive,” said Elaine. “A few of the plants have attractive purple flowers. This is a garden that homeowners can duplicate on their own property, especially if there is a deer problem.”
Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum is sponsoring a very special program, “The Art of Ikebana,” on Sunday, October 14, at 2:30 pm. at the Knippenberg Center for Education at Laurelwood Arboretum, 725 Pines Lake Drive West, Wayne. Ikebana translates as “Giving life to flowers.” It has been practiced in Japan for hundreds of years, and there are several thousand schools or styles of Ikebana worldwide.
The program will be presented by the Izunome Association, USA. It will feature an explanation of the philosophy of Japanese flower arranging and demonstration of the techniques of Ikebana. There will be sweet treats and a raffle of demonstration arrangements. Tickets at $25 per person must be purchased in advance through our website or by calling 973-831-5675. The program is sponsored, in part, by the Ira A. Roschelle Family Foundation.
Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum recently dedicated a Founders’ Garden to honor those who had the vision to established the organization 15 years ago: Nancy Alexander, Howard Aschoff, Nancy and Alex Fadydnich, Betsy Hayes Gatti, Bonnie Joachim, David Kooistra, Joan Scott-Miller and the late James E. Taylor.
Former Wayne residents Dorothy and John Knippenberg donated the property that is now Laurelwood Arboretum to the Township of Wayne. Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum was created by a group of Dorothy’s friends who wanted to ensure that the arboretum would be preserved as a natural oasis as it transitioned to a public park. In 2003, Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. When Dorothy died in 2006, the organization assumed responsibility for management of the arboretum, in accordance with an agreement with Wayne Township.
Today, Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, promote and improve the arboretum and provide opportunities for horticultural appreciation and education through public programs and outreach activities. Membership has grown to more than 450, with 200-plus volunteers working to support the organization and maintain the park. Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum is funded by membership dues, grants and donations from individuals and businesses.