Fall 2020 EJC Arboretum Newsletter

Dear Friends of the Arboretum,

Autumn greetings of joy and anticipation for the color show that has begun here. All of the senses are sparked while walking the woods; the rich leaf and soil smells, the reds, yellows, and oranges shining back the summer sun, and the sounds of the animals and the wind signal the start of the winding down period that is fall. To stand here under the trees or to sit by the stream and bask in the fullness is a very peaceful way to celebrate fall in all of her glory.

Let me share an update about the At Home in the Woods Family Garden. We’d hoped to be starting construction on the project this fall, but due to the budget cuts at the University, and the unknowns about just how deep those cuts will go and how they may affect university personnel, the University has asked us to put that project on hold for a time until we have better news for staff and programming across campus. Hopefully, it won’t be more than a year (sometime in 2021), before we resume the project.

In the meantime, we’ve stepped up our focus on the Herb Garden here with lots of harvesting and clean-up going on, planning for planting next spring (including some Chinese herbs, and ayurvedic herbs), and new workshops being offered to raise money for the new design and plans for the Herb Garden to be transformed into a wonderfully beautiful and medicinal garden space that is healing for the body and on the soul. This space will not be just a wellness garden based on what plants are showcased in the beds but also a wellness space by virtue of the experience of the feature and how it feels to be in it and to move through the garden.

Herb Garden lavender flowers
Proposed Design for Herb Garden
Conceptual drawings

The design includes a timber-frame gazebo with gardens above and below; stone steps, stone walls and seats, with space for garden sculpture. It includes irrigation, lighting, and a small endowment for ongoing maintenance. Sited just below University Blvd. this garden will be a show-piece garden. We are currently looking for donors and for volunteers to help us with all stages of the project…..current garden maintenance, assisting with planting bed changes for the coming year in the spring, conducting workshops, fundraising to jump start the new design project, and a donor/donors to support the project. If you or your organization would like to take part please give us a call.

We are very excited to be hosting three programs this fall made up of our board, volunteers, and community members who will attend a series of inclusion and diversity discussions leading to a visioning/brain-storming process of re-imagining our Arboretum organization to better reflect our community, and to better serve our community. We are using the Of/By/For All initiative as a model to do this work. Please view their website and/or video clip below (view minutes 12:30 - 23:50) and if it strikes a chord please call us soon to find out more about these offerings.

View minutes 12:30 - 23:50

Our plant, bulb, and houseplant sales continue through October or the first frost, whichever happens first. Please support the Arboretum with a purchase of your favorite trees, shrubs, & perennials or bulbs and houseplants. You can come shop by appointment if you prefer. Look for our online shopping to resume next spring. We also offer gift certificates if you’d like to send a friend a surprise gift for plant shopping. Consider us when looking for plants for your fall planting projects. Look for our perennials planted in newly adopted sustainable coir (coconut fiber) pots.

Coir pots that can be planted directly into the ground or added to the compost pile

We invite you to take the longer walk into the Arboretum the next time that you visit just for the fun of it. Now, all of the many parking spaces up at the R-5 lot, at the top of the Arboretum, are available for Arboretum parking. You’ll get some extra walking in and see an often unvisited side of the Arboretum as you stroll down the hill to the main trail connection through the woods. It’s a perfect season for longer walks and new discoveries here within this 125 acre woodland sanctuary.

View from the top of the hill at R-5 parking lot

Be well, and happy trail walking,

Jan Sievers Mahon, Arboretum Director

Fall Blooms

Author | Morgan Paixao

As the weather turns cooler and the mornings begin with a crisp start, a new season is underway, and with it, a new palette of color and texture enters the landscape. With the growing season coming to a close, this final burst of food for pollinators is a magnificent show of bounty. Purple and yellow hues dapple fields and streambeds; Aromatic Aster, New York Ironweed, and Goldenrod are among these showy and robust plants.

New York Ironweed, Vernonia noveboracensis

New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is named after English botanist, William Vernon, who studied plants throughout North America in the late 1700s. The common name 'ironweed' refers to the strong stem and roots of the plants. This sturdy specimen is clump-forming and thrives in damp meadows. The purple flowers adorning the top are in the composite family (Virginia Native Plant Society).

Ironweed is one of my favorite fall blooms, with its lovely deep purple flowers and uniquely recognizable stems. I remember when I first learned about it, I began to see it everywhere. One such clump I always looked forward to seeing bloom, it was in a beautiful low meadow, surrounded by picturesque farmhouses and Massanutten mountain in the background.

Another late-season, showy bloomer is goldenrod (Solidago). A plant many love to hate because of a simple mix-up! Goldenrod is often blamed for fall allergies, but in fact the culprit for many a seasonal sniffle is ragweed. Ragweed produces an extremely high proportion of pollen and of the individuals who suffer from seasonal allergies, 75% are allergic to ragweed (Allergy Choices Blog). So why is goldenrod to blame? One reason could be because of goldenrod's prolific blooms, they are standouts in a landscape and bloom at the same time of year as ragweed as well as having a similar structure.

So how can we turn this wonderful plant's reputation around? Well, let's start with celebrating it's benefits!

  • Goldenrod has healing properties, indigenous communities chewed the leaves to help alleviate sore throats. It is also known to help with urinary tract infections and can benefit the kidney.
  • The flowers can be used to make yellow dye.
  • The leaves and flowers can be dried and used to make an anti-allergin tea which clears sinuses and may help combat sneezing/red eyes during the fall season. Tea can be brewed along with mint leaves and honey!
  • Goldenrod makes for a beautiful and lasting cut flower!

Plant Sales through October!

Did you miss our official Fall Plant & Bulb Sale last week? Don't fret, we still have some plants available and ready to be planted this fall! Stop by the Frances Plecker Education Center to view a selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs! We also have a wide variety of houseplants available at this time!

Want a more in-depth shopping experience? Make an appointment at our nursery ($50 minimum) by calling our office at 540-568-3194!

Early Autumn in the Arboretum

Thank you to our donors!

Each Fall we have the wonderful opportunity to take a look back on the last fiscal year (July 2019 - June 2020), and recognize all of our donor contributions, big and small. Especially during this difficult time of COVID-19, each gift is greatly appreciated and keeps the Arboretum moving forward with our mission of serving as a public garden that preserves native plants species, provides opportunities for research, and promotes knowledge of the botanical and natural world for people of all ages.

$50,000 & Up

Dr. Ronald and Mrs. Edith J. Carrier

$5,000 & Up

Dr. Deanna Bowman | Anonymous

$1,000 & Up

Mrs. Eileen Flynn & Mr. Daniel Flynn Jr. | Mr. Brian Thomas | Ms. Gail Napora & Mr. Nicholas Napora | Mr. Michael R. Stiller | David Family Charitable Foundation | Anonymous

$300 & Up

Mr. Donald E. Showalter & Mrs. Marlene C. Showalter | Mr. Roland David Berg & Mrs. Elizabeth Uhlman Berg | Mrs. Susan Brown & Mr. Michael Brown | Mrs. Towana Moore & Mr. Mack Moore III | Ms. Kathy Thompson & Mr. Tommy Thompson | Ms. Barbara Shifflett | Mrs. Stacey Lyn Anthony & Mr. Christopher Edward Anthony | Mr. Andrew Mitchell Daniel & Mrs. Jennifer Daniel | Ms. Judy Ligon

$100 & Up

Mrs. Jane L. Bosley & Mr. William Hoover Bosley | Mrs. Pamela Brock & Mr. J. Chrisman Brock | Dr. Robert Showalter & Mrs. Charity S. Showalter | Dr. Charles H. Henderson, III & Mrs. Mary Henderson | Mrs. Teru K. Gilbert & Mr. Charles Kenneth Gilbert | Mrs. Frances M. Helvin & Mr. Stephen H. Helvin | Mrs. Brenda L. McDannald & Mr. H. S. McDannald | Mrs. Charlotte K. Roberts | Ms. Milla Sue Wisecarver | Mr. Mark Dunbar & Mrs. Leslie Dunbar | Ms. Launie LaVonne Lambert | Dr. Sandra F. McDonald | Mr. M. Clay Moritz, Jr. & Ms. Diane S. Moritz | Mr. Wayne Thomas Olson | Mr. Richard Lyons & Ms. Virginia Lyons | Mr. Jude Connor Fernan & Mrs. Karen Wolff Fernan | Mr. William Fridley & Mrs. Peggy Fridley | Ms. Beverly Alene Stickles & Mr. Edward N. Wright | Mrs. Susan Diane Deputy & Dr. Glenn Deputy | Mr. Peter G. Salmon & Ms. Jane Salmon | Mr. Philip F. Stokes | Mr. William Henry & Conley Mrs. M. Susan Conley | Mrs. Phyllis Y. Coulter & Mr. Jerry L. Coulter | Mrs. Jane Hollingsworth & Mr. Peter Hollingsworth | Ms. Anne Murphy | Dr. Pamela Ungar & Mr. Phillip Ungar | Mr. Edwin Bumbaugh & Ms. Jane Cox | Mrs. Kay F. Acker & Mr. James B. Acker | Mrs. Terri Lynne Chiriboga & Dr. Carlos Julio Chiriboga | Ms. Julia Coronado & Mr. Carlos Coronado | Mrs. Patricia A. Dickey & Mr. Frank Douglass Dickey | Mrs. Robin L. Dyer & Mr. Tom Dyer | Mr. Randall L. Emry | Mrs. Julie Frattarola & Dr. John Frattarola | Ms. Kathleen Marie Green | Dr. Roger Allan Hall & Mrs. Brenda N. Hall | Mrs. Deborah Ann Kirkman & Mr. William Worth Kirkman | Mrs. Susan J. Lawrence & Dr. David Joseph Lawrence | Mrs. Sherry M. Leffel & Mr. Eugene C. Leffel, Jr. | Mr. Thomas C. Mack & Mrs. Lesley P. Mack | Dr. Conley K. McMullen | Mrs. Nicola Mehan & Mr. Christopher Francis Mehan | Mrs. Lorie Miller & Mr. Rob Miller Jr | Mrs. Lisa N. Reppert & Mr. Scott C. Reppert | Mrs. Pamela J. Sanders & Mr. Greg Sanders | Spotswood Garden Club | Mrs. Jonda A. Taylor & Mr. Larry A. Taylor | Mrs. Christina B. Updike & Mr. Phillip W. Updike | Mrs. Lillie R. Wauford & Mr. Mark Leslie Wauford

$50 & Up

Ms. Sarah Domingus & Mr. Jeff Domingus | Lisle Family Trust Ms. Carroll Lisle | Dr. Lincoln Gray & Ms. Pam Gray | Dr. Stephen Rinehart & Mrs. Laura Rinehart | Ms. Janet W. Shifflett & Mr. Ron Shifflett | Mr. John W. Curle | Mr. Neal Menefee & Mrs. Ann L. Menefee | Mrs. Kathryn Whitby Mulvihill & Mr. Douglas E. Mulvihill | Dr. Elizabeth Katherine Broderick | Mrs. Laura Dansby & Mr. Harry Bishop Dansby | Dr. Joanne Veal Gabbin & Dr. Alexander L. Gabbin | Ms. Rosemary Grace | Ms. Stacy Sutherland Hansen | Mrs. Sharon W. Hopson & Mr. Craig Hopson | Mrs. Glenda Kohlhafer-Regan & Mr. Harvey Regan | Mrs. Luanne S. Kolleda | Ms. Ann-marie Alford Latchum & Mr. Jeffrey H. Latchum | Dr. Lori Pyle | Dr. John W. Rader & Mrs. Mary Ellen Rader | Mrs. Linda Jo Ruegg & Mr. Fillmer Churchill Ruegg | Ms. Camille Spain | Mrs. Marcie Tepley & Mr. Dale Tepley | Ms. Sheree Will & Mr. Gregory Will | Mrs. Margaret Joan Zuanich-Bunker & Mr. Merton William Bunker

Under $50

Mr. Eric M. Miller & Mrs. Jennifer S. Miller | Ms. Elaine Smith | Ms. Eleanor Baker | Mr. John Bauman & Ms. Mary V. Bauman | Ms. Sherrie Bishop | Mrs. Teresa Marguerite Blecksmith & Mr. Robert Allen Blecksmith | Ms. Alison Bodkin | Ms. Mary Louise Bowman | Ms. Debby J. Boyle | Mr. Mark Briehl & Mrs. Pam Briehl | Mr. Joseph Cole | Mrs. Karen F. Craun & Mr. William Daniel Craun, Jr. | Mr. John W. Daly & Mrs. Vicky Strickland | Ms. Rhoda T. Derstine | Mr. Damian Dirscherl | Ms. Amy Goswick | Mrs. Erin Nicole Kent | Dr. Cindy A. Klevickis & Mr. Stephen C. Klevickis | Ms. Karen Milne | Ms. Ellen O'Kane Motley & Mr. Michael Motley | Ms. Cynthia Neilsdttr | Mr. Cody Oliver | Mrs. Jennifer Parker & Dr. David Leroy Parker | Ms. Debra Aileen Spurgeon | Mr. Lloyd L. Willis & Mrs. Margaret Willis | Mr. Bob Wood & Ms. Cheryl Wood | Mr. Steve Boynton | Ms. Ingrid Edna DeSanctis | Dr. Richard D. Foust, Jr & Mrs. Glenda S. Foust | Mr. George Harada & Mrs. Stella Harada | Mrs. Martha M. Kidd & Mr. Donald E. Kidd | Ms. Susan Odom | Mr. William C. Parker & Mrs. Margaret Wichael Parker | Mrs. Maria Paulus & Mr. John Paulus | Ms. Keala Timko | Ms. Kristi McDonnell | Ms. Susan Alger | Ms. Betty L. Barrack | Mr. Scott W. Berger | Ms. Anita Brown | Mr. Matthew V. Bruffey | Ms. Holly Neece Newton | Mr. Eric Nickel & Mrs. Jaclyn Nickel | Ms. Barbara S. Panigot & Mr. Joseph Panigot | Ms. Ann Radloff | Mrs. Cheryl S. Richards & Mr. Peter L. Richards | Mr. Matthew Schwab | Ms. Cathy Thomas & Mr. Jay Thomas | Ms. Donna Wampler | Ms. Jan Sievers Mahon | Mr. Michael Flaherty Jr. |Dr. Mary Kathryn Handley

Kind Words

This place is amazing! You need at least a couple hours to really explore all the nooks and crannies of the garden. Aside from the garden, there are really pretty songbirds in the trees. ~ Vanessa

Try it out! Beautiful setting, fun outing with kids. We had fun. ~ Eric

This is such a pretty and relaxing place to visit. Met up with some friends and had a picnic lunch. It's dog friendly which was great since we were visiting from out of state and had our dog with us. Nice pathways to walk on. ~ Theresa

Jill Jensen

Multimedia Artist | Sept - Oct Exhibition

Tree of Life woodcut print-4 seasons in Virginia

Painting, printmaking and drawing have been cornerstones of Jill Jensen’s work. She has used them separately to create finished works of art and since 1998 has combined them in her fiber based work. Beginning in June 2001, Jensen started a weekly practice of making small art quilts and journaling on the back side of the quilt. One shape is chosen for the entire year. In 2017 she decided to create her weekly quilts as a single timeline to mark the passage of the year. Excited with how this timeline worked, she is continuing to use this method to carry on with her journaling and maintaining a regular studio practice.

“My work combines my love of bold graphic images and intense color. Relief printing in a variety of forms (woodcut and linocut) provide me with the opportunity to create very bold images with sharp contours and positive and negative spaces. I enjoy the process of designing and carving the printing plates. Printing these plates, some of which are quite large onto white fabric provides its own unique challenges compared to printing on paper. I then complete my vision with the application of color through paint. In this way, I can combine the crisp black images with flowing color. Stitching adds the final layer. I use my stitched lines to add additional imagery or to enhance the overall theme.”

Upcoming Events


The Herb & Stone Series: Rosemary & Amethyst

Wednesday, Oct. 14 | 12 PM - 1 PM | $24 Registration

Join Herbalist Jen Tullo of Cyanwood Cottage and Stone-Worker Cheryl Martin for a 1-hour introduction workshop to Rosemary and Amethyst

Participants will walk through the beautiful EJC Arboretum Herb Garden and discover the protective, warming, earth-medicine of Rosemary. Jen will explain the basics of ethical harvesting, mindful medicinal practices, and how to preserve Rosemary in oil for use in salves, balms, and other skincare remedies. Complimenting the healing and energetic properties of Rosemary, is Amethyst. Cheryl will teach participants how to use Amethyst for energetic healing, space-clearing and in spiritual practice.

The workshop includes printed instructional material, a simple rosemary salve, an amethyst stone, and a custom botanical coloring page of Rosemary and Amethyst, created by local artist Molly Whitmore.


Sound Bathing

Instructor & Sound Healer | Connie Magee

Oct 14 & Oct 21 | 12 PM - 1 PM | $20 per session

Join Sound Healer and Yoga & Meditation Teacher Connie Magee for an etheric journey in the woods. Trees provide healing medicine for the soul, and the otherworldly tones of two large gongs and chimes provide a magical soundscape that dances within the sounds of nature. Find a comfortable spot on your yoga mat or lawn chair, settle into a guided mind-body meditation, and drift away. You'll notice the birds and woodland creatures connecting to the vibrations, and you will deeply relax and tune in simultaneously.

Please meet Connie on the Ernst Tree Terrace adjacent to the Frances Plecker Education Center.


Evening Tai Chi

Grayson Pritchard | Blue Heron Healing Arts

Friday, Oct 9 | 5 PM - 6 PM | $15

Join instructor Grayson Pritchard of Blue Heron Healing Arts for an early evening session of light exercise among the trees and stillness in the EJC Arboretum! This is an outdoor event and intended to be on the lawn or within the Arboretum. Meet at the steps of the Frances Plecker Education Center