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Sunday Saunter – 7/30/23

Thanks to frequent contributor, Steve Kanan, for another batch of lovely pictures. He said he enjoyed normal weather so much that he followed up his morning visit with another in the afternoon.

Don’t miss out on summer at the Frelinghuysen — visit the gardens soon.

Photo Highlights from Katharine Boyle

Katharine Boyle visited the Arboretum yesterday and sent this batch of beautiful pictures along with the following note:

…it’s been a while. And to my utter surprise, I spotted a pineapple there! It must have been “welcoming” me back.

Thanks, Katharine, for the lovely images.

Hibiscus Flowers at the Arboretum

There are many varieties of Hibiscus plants; two that are currently in bloom at the Arboretum are Hibiscus moscheutus and Hibiscus syriacus.

Hibiscus moscheutus (Swamp Rose Mallow) is a herbaceous perennial that produces dinner plate sized flowers. The plants can reach 3-7 feet tall by 2-4 feet wide. New growth is slow to emerge in spring, but grows quickly thereafter. Hibiscus moscheutus cv. Kopper King is a pretty shade of pink with a dark pink throat. A bright red Hibiscus moscheutus (possibly ‘Lord Baltimore’) is blooming nearby.

Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon) is a close relative of H. moscheutus. A native of eastern Asia, it is a vigorous, upright, vase-shaped, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub which grows to 8-12 feet tall. Currently in bloom at the Arboretum are a white flowered plant, Hibiscus syriacus cv. Diana and the blue flowered H. syriacus ‘Blue Bird’.

Several other varieties are also in bloom, why not visit and check them out for yourself?

Picture credits: Margery Ennist.


Shades of red, orange and yellow are considered “hot” colors; in the garden, they serve to brighten up a spot, highlight an area and/or provide a focal point to lure you in for a closer look.

The arbor at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum holds a large Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans), covered at this time of the year with big orange flowers. The Trumpet Vine is a vigorous, deciduous woody vine growing to about 33 feet long, with shiny, dark green, pinnately compound leaves. The flowers are each about 3.5 inches long, trumpet shaped and lacking in scent. After flowering, a six inch long seed capsule forms, dries and splits releasing hundreds of thin, brown, paper-like seeds. It is native to the Eastern United States..

Another name for the plant is Hummingbird Vine because the flowers attract these tiny, jewel-like summer visitors. The vine also attracts a variety of other creatures: Birds nest in the vine and moths, bees, flies and ants feed on the nectar.

A variety of vegetables and fruits are grown in the Barkman Vegetable Garden and this year there is a large bed of Sunflowers (Helianthus) growing against the fence, providing a nice, bright sunny yellow show. Sunflowers are native to the Americas and are said to symbolize long life and lasting happiness.

An interesting fact about Sunflowers is that they track the sun (heliotropism). At night, Sunflowers face east, anticipating the sun’s return and track its progress throughout the day. They do this until they get old and stop moving.

The gardens at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum hold a large variety of hot blooming plants, visit soon and discover them for yourself!

Picture credits: Margery Ennist.


Blue in the garden can create a cooling, soothing, restful atmosphere. This can be achieved by using flowers, foliage, garden ornaments, etc., in all shades and hues of blue. The Blue Garden in front of Matilda’s Cottage contains all sorts of blue flowered plants, from annuals such as Fan Flower (Scaevola) to perennials such as Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) and the airy, delicate flowers of Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena). Blue metal benches and a tall blue tuteur providing a climbing structure for a Clematis vine, complete this garden.

Visit this lovely garden room soon, sit on one of the blue benches and watch the bees and butterflies as they hover around the many flowers in the garden.

Picture credits: Margery Ennist.

At the Arboretum July 5, 2023

Today we’re featuring the lovely Koelreuteria paniculata ‘Rose Lantern’. This is a dense, rounded, deciduous tree which grows to a height of between 30 and 40 feet with an equal or greater spread. It has pinnate leaves that emerge reddish in the spring, mature to a bright green and turn yellow in the fall. Airy panicles of delicate golden yellow flowers bloom in summer followed by dramatic, rose-pink, bladder-like fruits in the fall.

Known as the Golden Rain Tree, the Arboretum’s specimen can be seen on the left at the end of the first parking bay as you come up the driveway from Hanover Avenue. Make a point of visiting it soon and come back to see the bladder-like fruits in the fall!

Photo credits: Margery Ennist.

At the Arboretum – June 28, 2023

Here are just a few of the unusual plants used in this year’s entrance gardens to the Haggerty Education Center. Plantings made possible by a grant from the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum. 

Talinum paniculatum ‘Jewels of Opar’: A succulent subshrub commonly known as Fame Flower or Pink Baby’s Breath. The bright lime green leaves and small pink flowers held atop thin dark stems are a lovely addition to the garden bed. The plant is native to much of North and South America and the Caribbean.

Mangave ‘Silver Fox’: A hybrid plant that offers the attractive structure of Agave and the faster growth and colors of Manfreda. It has broad, toothed blades with a thick waxy coating and can tolerate more water than other succulents.

Berkheya purpurea ‘Zulu Warrior’: A deep rooted and drought tolerant South African native perennial. It has single, smoky lavender flowers with dark purple centers held atop flower stalks that can reach 3 feet in height. The plant has spiky silvery green leaves and makes an excellent cut flower.

Ptilotus exaltatus ‘Joey’: A compact, short-lived herbaceous perennial with large, long lasting, conical spikes of feathery flowers. Attracts bees and butterflies and is a good cut flower.

Click on an image to enlarge. Picture credits: Margery Ennist.

Report on the Bus Trip to Andalusia and Jenny Rose Carey’s Garden

On Wednesday, June 14 forty travelers joined the Friends on a bus trip to Andalusia Historic House and Gardens and to Jenny Rose Carey’s garden, both in Pennsylvania.

At Andalusia we were broken up into groups of ten and treated to an in-depth history of the house by very knowledgeable docents. Following the house tour we were free to tour the extensive gardens on our own; from the White Garden, to the Green Walk, Rose Garden, Long Border, the Graperies, and much more, the grounds are a delight to the senses. Andalusia sits on the banks of the Delaware River, so the River Walk was a great visual experience.

Photos are of the Graperies, where fine table grapes are raised, and the adjacent formal garden as well as the Grotto on the River Walk at Andalusia, both courtesy of Gerry Papalardo. The Andalusia Library photo is by Margery Ennist.

Following a box lunch picnic as we sheltered from the brief rain showers, we were on to the garden of British plantswoman extraordinaire, Jenny Rose Carey

Jenny and her family greeted us warmly to Northview Gardens as we pulled up on the bus. Her garden is a series of 31 distinct areas on 4-1/2 acres, mostly informal and a little bit wild, but a wonderful experience as you never knew exactly what you would encounter as you turned a corner! We were shown the Cutting Garden, a Teapot Garden, a lovely waterfall and pond area, a covered outdoor dining area, a Hugelkultur (“hill culture”) area where Jenny piled up a bunch of old rotting logs, covered them with old wood chips, soil and leaf mulch creating a planting medium. Over the years she has turned this hill culture into a fertile and thriving garden patch where flowers are flourishing.

Our visit ended with a proper cup of tea and fond farewells.

Photos are of Jenny Rose Carey framed by lovely Poppies, courtesy of Daryl Savage, the waterfall garden and Teacup Garden, both courtesy of Margery Ennist.

Sunday Saunter 6/18/23

The plants, the weather, the macro lens all called Steve Kanan back for a Sunday Saunter yesterday. We are the lucky recipients of these beautiful photos. Thank, Steve.

At the Arboretum – June 14, 2023

We finally got some much-needed rain and the gardens at the Arboretum were looking fresh and revived as a result.

The Daffodils and Tulips in the Haggerty Education Center entrance gardens have been replaced with a variety of annuals, including a spectacular Digiplexis, a cross between Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove) and a Digitalis relative native to the Canary Islands called Isoplexis. Here in New Jersey this plant will behave as an annual, blooming from Summer into Fall and growing to a height of about three feet. These gardens are made possible by a grant from the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum.

The cone-shaped clusters of white flowers on the Oakleaf Hydrangea between the Haggerty Education Center and Matilda’s are putting on quite a display. The white flowers will gradually turn light pink over the summer while attracting pollinators and birds.

I was drawn to the pond in front of Matilda’s cottage by the loud croaking of a male frog. This little pond is a busy ecosystem, populated by a number of frogs swimming about and behaving in a most frisky manner! Nature at her finest!!!

Picture credits: Margery Ennist.

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