In the news

Several items of note this week …

US Airways inflight magazine had a special section on Ithaca. Honestly, I haven’t read it yet. And have read that it glossed over some of the negatives about Ithaca. But hey. It’s an inflight magazine. Come visit. Come spend. Come invest. It’s a great place. And check out the ad on page 105. Those are my friends Scott and Marcia in their first modeling gig. They didn’t get paid much. But any job that involves drinking wine at 9 a.m. in a beautiful setting like that can’t be all bad.

Click to go to Cornell Chronicle article

It was good to see Cornell Chronicle feature an article about Mullestein Winter Garden at Cornell Plantations. Would that all our gardens be so vibrant and satisfying this time of the year. I posted about this garden (with lots of pictures) back in November.

And in her column in this week’s New York Times, New This Year: The Tried and True, Anne Raver called Michael Dosmann, a recently minted Ph.D. from out Department of Horticulture at Cornell University, a horticultural star, speaking on a panel with Dan Hinkley and Ken Druse. Michael — who injected more golden raintrees into the local flora palette than you can shake a stick at — is now curator of living collections at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston. HIs observations in the article include:

“I can’t keep up with all these cultivars. … I read the descriptions and they don’t seem different from the species, so why would I even bother?”

Mr. Dosmann was one of three horticultural stars who spoke at last week’s Plant-O-Rama, an annual gathering of gardeners at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, co-sponsored by Metro Hort Group, an association of horticulturists. He focused on tried-and-true plants that have withstood the vagaries of weather and disease, some since the arboretum’s founding in 1872.

Mr. Dosmann’s favorites, flashed on the screen of the jammed auditorium, included Hydrangea paniculata Praecox, brought back from Japan by the arboretum’s first director, Charles Sprague Sargent, in 1892; Mary Potter, a hybrid crabapple tree with a long, low canopy, planted at the arboretum in 1952; and Heptacodium miconioides, or seven-son-flower, a colorful shrub imported from China in 1980.

Whether hard times or a longing for fresh peas will bring more people to the garden — and keep them there — is anybody’s guess.

But those of us who can’t stay away, even when our bodies complain, sat up when Mr. Dosmann flashed an image on the screen of two 18-foot Praecox hydrangeas, planted more than a century ago, covered with flowers.

“Never been pruned,” he said. “I hope I look that good when I’m over 100 years old.”