A highlight of the conference was a tour of Longwood Gardens. This garden covers 1083 acres and is a living legacy of Pierre duPont. DuPont was fascinated by fountains and was an avid collector of trees. A large conservatory overlooks the main fountain garden, where the fountain show is set to music. [See a sample of the show on YouTube (Longwood Gardens Fountain Show)]. While walking on trails through forests we learned about the National Champion Tree Registry, which lists the largest living specimen of each tree variety found in the United States. There are multiple National Champion Trees at Longwood Gardens.
Field study at the Mt. Cuba Center highlighted preservation of native wildflowers and bog habitats. Research at the Center occurs in a Trial Garden. This year's trial included echinacea, hydrangea, and a variety of grass. There were 72 types of echinacea in this trial. Data was gathered on the plants as follows: height, width, number of buds produced, number of pollinators per hour, need for staking, etc. Plants that do well may be marketable and become available to the public.
Another day of field study was offered at Morris Arboretum. Participants learned about using itree (http:www.itreetools.org) to determine the value of a tree. We learned about plant pests by examining plants that had been affected by diseases and insects. We learned that the Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive, destructive pest that was discovered near Philadelphia several years ago. It is not particular about its host plant, so is a threat to Pennsylvania's agriculture, as it may feed on woody plants including grape vines and fruit trees.
Woodbury County Master Gardener