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February 7, 2024


Saturday, February 3 was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for the Friends to host our annual Benjamin Blackburn Scholarship Lecture, this year with Marta McDowell speaking about Murder in the Garden! Marta treated us to a fascinating, informative and funny talk about the many aspects of garden murder mysteries, from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.

The Haggerty Education Center's Auditorium was festively decorated, with fuschia tablecloths, Cyclamens on each table and two lovely flower arrangements by Vasu Tadikonda. The talk was followed by an array of sweet and savory treats, Prosecco, tea and coffee.

Thank you to all who attended and helped us raise funds for a scholarship to be awarded to a student in the Horticulture/Landscape Program at County College of Morris.

A very special thanks to Mendham Capital Management for their generous support of this program.

Vasu Tadikonda - 2 Vasu Tadikonda - 1 Judy, Marta, Bill Burke


Saturday, March 2 - 9:00 AM

Logo image for Community Garden Conference sponsored by the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Morris County are teaming up to present their Annual Community Garden Conference for the 14th year in a row. This year we are very excited to have Ben Flanner, Co-Founder and CEO of Brooklyn Grange as the keynote speaker. We have an impressive list of session speakers too, all experts in their field. They will cover topics relevant to not just community gardeners but backyard vegetable gardeners as well as garden managers, and those trying to establish a new community garden.

The topics for the 2023 conference are:

Keynote Speaker Ben Flanner

Ben Flanner is co-founder and CEO of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. He is widely considered a pioneer for his groundbreaking model, which adapts existing green roof technology to intensively cultivate vegetables, beginning with Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, a pilot project on a 6,000 square foot Brooklyn roof, which Ben co-founded in 2009. A year later, in 2010, Ben and his partners scaled up the model and, in 2010, launched Brooklyn Grange, a commercial-scale urban farming business, eventually expanding to 2.5 acres spanning two roofs. Ben directs all agricultural endeavors on the farm, he brings his system optimization background to bear, making sure the business remains as fiscally sound as it is ecologically healthy.

Morris County Agricultural and Natural Resource Agent, Rutgers Vegetable Expert and Conference Co-sponsor Peter Nitzsche

Pete will discuss the findings from the season-long community garden demonstration plot trials on the Genetic Diversity of Potatoes Grown from Seed.

Farmer Shaun Ananko, Director of Agriculture and Education

Back by popular demand, Shaun presents his talk on Maximizing Food Yields – a topic of critical importance for community gardeners. A native of Morristown, Shaun Ananko began developing his love for farming as a small child when his mother taught him how to grow tomatoes in their home garden. Shaun was raised to appreciate the benefit of growing one’s own food, but has witnessed society move away from these values. Now as Farmer Shaun for Grow It Green Morristown, he is proud to share his knowledge of food cultivation to the Morristown community and students of local schools.

Rebecca Magron, Horticulturist from Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Hunterdon County

Rebecca presents her excellent talk on How to Read a Soil Test. We’ll use examples of soil tests taken at community gardens and encourage you to bring your own if you have questions. Rebecca first started her horticulture career in 1996 with Cornell University Regional Fruit Program and studied plant science and plant pathology at Cornell University. Rebecca has worked in agricultural research on tree fruit crops with Cornell University and Cooperative Extension focusing on horticultural techniques to improve yield and reduce the reliance on pesticides.

The Coordinator’s Round Table moderated by Ned Gardner, Manager of the Ted Largman Community Garden in Morris Township and Mike Dziomba, Manager of the Randolph Community Garden.

This is a chance for managers of community gardens to connect with other managers and get questions answered and share successes as well as not so successful endeavors they’ve encountered. The topic for the 2024 discussion is Bulk Purchasing Power for Community Gardens and is open to all attendees.

This program is eligible for 5.0 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU's

For more information and to register, click on the graphic.


Tuesday, March 5

The bus leaves from the Arboretum parking lot at 10:00 AM SHARP

Philadelphia Flower Show 2024 PHS

This 2024 Flower Show’s theme, United by Flowers, will illustrate the beauty and power of flowers to transform, inspire, delight, and connect us to one another.

Join the Friends on this always popular and highly anticipated trip. Chat with garden experts and watch how-to gardening demonstrations in the Gardener’s Studio, shop acres of vendor booths brimming with merchandise in the Marketplace and enjoy lunch and/or dinner on your own at the show or at nearby Reading Terminal Market.

The bus leaves at 10:00 AM from the bus parking spot at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum; we will leave Philadelphia at 6:00 PM and arrive back at the Arboretum at 8:00 PM approximately.

For more information and to register, click on the Flower Show banner.


From a window in the Haggerty Education Center my eye was caught by the fiery red foliage of a Mahonia bealei shrub (Leatherleaf Mahonia) behind the building. A closer inspection revealed the Holly-like spiny leaves holding on to their lovely fall color as well as the flower buds which will open in late winter to sprays of small yellow flowers.

Mahonia Bealei Plant Mahonia Bealei Flower Buds Mahonia Bealei Leaves

Click an image to see them all in our website's picture gallery. Picture credits: Margery Ennist.


Several of our previously recorded events are available to watch on-line.

See our Prerecorded Events page for more information and to register.

Retail Partners

When shopping at our fine Retail Partners, please remember to present your Membership card at the beginning of your check out transaction. Our Retail Partners need to enter the discount at the beginning of that process.

If you have not yet used this wonderful Member Benefit, you can view our full list of Retail Partners by clicking here.

You can register and pay on line on our Events page and Membership page and subscribe to this newsletter here: complete directions for subscribing.


Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum
Post Office Box 2267
Morristown, NJ 07962

Voicemail: 973-937-8803


Morris County Park Commission Logo
The Frelinghuysen Arboretum is a facility of
the Morris County Park Commission
  • Frelinghuysen, Willowwood and Bamboo Brook Arboreta grounds are open 7 days a week, from 8am to dusk
  • The Haggerty Education Center is now open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The building remains closed on Sundays and Mondays.
  • Parking is limited. Other buildings remain closed. Portajohns are available.
  • HUNTING IN THE PARKS - See the Morris County Park Commission website.