Dear Friends of the Arboretum,
A new season, another transition into a different quality of color, rhythm, and stage of life; yet a blazing beauty to behold…..this is autumn.
Other sights that you may see here now as you walk the trails this fall are two families of deer. Two mothers and their fawns moved into the Arboretum this summer when new construction displaced them from the wild green space across the street from our entrances. Along with many ducks that moved in the deer began living here and bedding down in our landscape beds while enjoying a diet of daylily flowers, violets and hosta plants all summer, oh my! We find this new challenge quite discouraging but, call us crazy, we are hoping that they will move on for winter.
Our Trail Scout program took on new life as well this summer with four dedicated volunteers: Craig Chandler, Mark Briehl, Burt Blessing and David Forrer, showing up twice a month, to help us maintain our trail edges, the forest understory, our chestnut plantings, and to assist with pruning. Much gratitude and thanks for their dedication to making ongoing improvements to the Arboretum.
There is also much beauty to behold inside the Frances Plecker Education Center with photographs by Celia Culver Rutt gracing the walls here. She is donating all sales from this very affordable show to the Arboretum's 2019 Explorer Camp. Her small format and vibrantly colorful photographs of flowers and wildlife are on display through October.
Look for additional types of plants being sold this year at Arboretum plant sales and at the Education Center as we offer students at JMU some much needed indoor greenery. We will be adding small, low-light houseplants to our offerings beginning in September at our fall plant sale, and throughout the year. Maybe you’ll want to adopt one or two yourself.
When you come to visit this fall please do stop at the Children’s Garden, next to the Pavilion, and try hopping the expanded Stump Jump feature there. You don’t want to skip it!
We’ve begun moving the circle gardens, currently located in the floodway, up to higher ground as they are experiencing increased flooding seasonally. The hardscape for the lovely Shalom garden is in place along with the bench, statue, and plaque. It offers an enhanced sense of place on the hillside to sit and enjoy the peace, with a view of the stream and pond area. Come and sit a spell...
This is the season that the Arboretum nods towards two visionaries who created the Arboretum and who continued to love and support it for decades to follow. Dr. Ronald Carrier (Sept. 2018) and Dr. Norlyn Bodkin (Sept. 2014) both passed away in the month of September, and we honor them as two memorable leaders here at JMU; instrumental in the life of the Arboretum.
It was Dr. Norlyn Bodkin’s vision and proposal that led to the creation of the Arboretum while he served as the Arboretum’s first director. What started as Newman Woods and 26 acres is now 125 acres of woodland sanctuary bursting forth with color each spring from thousands of native and non-native wildflowers planted under the watchful care of Dr. Bodkin’s active mind, hands, sweat, and assistance from countless volunteers and students in the 80’s and 90’s. Come stroll the Bodkin Oak Hickory Forest this fall as the leaves begin their fiery transformation into the next season.
For a fuller picture of a day in the life of Dr. Bodkin read the fun article written while on a field trip with him over 25 years ago by Pam Brock. Plant Taxonomy at 60 mph
Dr. Ronald Carrier, JMU’s 4th President, supported the Arboretum and the vision behind it from its first inception in the mid-1980’s. He continued to uplift it for it for the next 29 years with many annual supportive gifts and as advocate of the efforts of an evolving, beloved public garden. He and Edith made the naming of the Arboretum possible with two sizable gifts resulting in the birth of the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at JMU.
“It remains personally one of my proudest, most sentimental legacies, evoking and embodying as it does for me my love for Edith.”
-Dr. Ronald Carrier, Building James Madison University
Become a Friend of the Arboretum
Have you thought about becoming a 'Friend of the Arboretum' but unsure of how to contribute? A simple donation of $35 or more per year qualifies you as a Friend of the Arboretum Member!
Benefits to membership include:
10% Discount on EJC Arboretum Plant Purchases, T-Shirts and Cards: Shop our Fall Plant & Bulb Sale 9/28 - 10/6 and use your discount for our variety of native perennials, ferns, shrubs, trees and new to this year, houseplants!
Reciprocal Admissions Program: A current EJCA membership card entitles you to special admission privileges and discounts at 300 gardens throughout North America and the Cayman Islands. These include 9 public gardens in Virginia alone, among them: the Norfolk Botanical Garden, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Maymont, Green Spring Gardens, and Glen Burnie Gardens at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.
For a complete garden list, visit: American Horticultural Society's Reciprocal Admission Program
Subscription to Better Homes & Gardens or Martha Stewart Living: Free one-year, digital or print magazine.
For full event descriptions & details, please visit our events pages!
Fall Plant & Bulb Sale
Friday October 28 - Saturday October 6 | 9 AM - 3 PM
*Closed Sunday September 30
Join us for our annual Fall Plant & Bulb Sale! Friday September 28 - Saturday October 6 (closed Sunday 9/30) from 9 AM - 3 PM. Shop from a wide array of native plants: bulbs, fall-flowering perennials, ferns, shrubs, trees, and houseplants! This ongoing sale takes place in the Frances Plecker Education Center and on the Ernst Tree Terrace. Parking available along University Blvd (between our two stone gates), within Arboretum lots, and in designated Arboretum spaces in lot R-5.
Fall Tai Chi
Friday, September 28 | 12:30 - 1:30 PM | $12
Join instructor Grayson Pritchard of Blue Heron Healing Arts for Friday lunchtime sessions of light exercise among the trees and stillness in the EJC Arboretum! These are outdoor sessions and intended to be on the lawn or within the Arboretum, see rain dates below. 9/28 rain date will be 10/5. Meet at the Frances Plecker Education Center.
The Herp Hop!
Saturday, October 6 | 12 PM - 1 PM
Explore the world of herpetology by getting up close and personal with amphibians and reptiles (herps!) at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum this fall! Join the JMU Herpetology Outreach Program for an afternoon exploring the native creatures of the Arboretum through a storytime, craft, and an engaging live animal presentation. No registration required. Meet at the Jurney Stage Garden.
Volunteer Meet & Greet
Tuesday, October 2 | 12 - 1:30 PM | Free!
Have you thought about volunteering at the Arboretum and want to know more? Meet our team of dedicated volunteers over lunch and find out how you can join, learn about volunteer benefits, and enjoy a special tour of the Arboretum!
JMU Staff Community Service Day
Wednesday, October 10 | 9 AM - 12 PM or 1 PM - 4 PM
Are you a member of JMU’s Full Time Classified Staff? Did you know that you are allotted Community Service Leave each year that can be used right here in the Arboretum? Join us in spending a partial day working outside in the gardens! Come prepared to work in clothes that may get dirty. Gloves and other necessary tools will be provided, light rain or shine.
Brown Bag Lunch Lecture: Virginia Wilderness Committee
Wednesday, October 10 | 12 PM - 1 PM (Pavilion)
Join us for a special Brown Bag Lunch Lecture with Virginia Wilderness Committee from 12 - 1 PM in the Pavilion! We'll learn about Virginia Wilderness Committee's mission and ways to get involved.
Remarkable Trees Field Trip
Saturday, October 20 | 8 AM - 5 PM | $15
Join Arboretum Director, Jan Sievers Mahon, for a day trip to Blandy Experimental Farm and State Arboretum for a part walking/part driving tour of their Champion Trees, their conifer collection (including a 83-85+ old Umbrella Pine), a 300-tree ginkgo grove, and a 36-tree Cedar of Lebanon allee. We'll stop for lunch at Dirt Farm Brewing Company (cost not included). Then on to Sky Meadows State Park to visit their two historic Kentucky Coffeetrees at the Mt. Bleak House (1860's farm house) and walk to several overlooks with spectacular views of the valley.
Children's Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 20 | 11 AM - 2 PM
Come enjoy a beautiful fall afternoon with your family at our 10th Annual Children's Harvest Festival! Crafts, storytime, live music, hay rides, and a petting zoo, free and open to the public! (Hay rides $3)
Fall Color Carriage Rides
Sunday, October 21 | 1 - 4 PM
$18/Adult, $12/Child, $75/Private Carriage
Enjoy the Arboretum’s fall color beauty with a horse-drawn carriage ride!
Call for reservations (540)-568-3194
Adult Nature Journaling Workshop
Instructor | Kelli Hertzler
Wednesday, October 24 | 1 PM - 4 PM | $35
Learn the basics of nature journaling in this one-session class where you will be equipped with tips, how-tos and inspiring ideas to kick-start what may become a life-long hobby.