Sunday, April 19, 2015

New Morris center

This is the work-in-progress over at Morris Arboretum - phase I of a new horticultural and education complex. The hort staff is expected to move in sometime in January, a welcome development for folks who basically work in a scrum now. This is going up at the arboretum's Bloomfield Farm, set on 75 acres across Northwestern Avenue from the 92-acre gardens. Morris also plans to add a new building for classes, conferences and private events, but that's on hold while fundraisers get busy. Tough time to be raising money, for sure.

New Morris center

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

This is the work-in-progress over at Morris Arboretum - phase I of a new horticultural and education complex. The hort staff is expected to move in sometime in January, a welcome development for folks who basically work in a scrum  now. This is going up at the arboretum's Bloomfield Farm, set on 75 acres across Northwestern Avenue from the 92-acre gardens. Morris also plans to add a new building for classes, conferences and private events, but that's on hold while fundraisers get busy. Tough time to be raising money, for sure.

But the good/better news at the arboretum is the big jump in attendance over the last year - 74 percent - and a similar boost in membership. There are probably a couple of reasons for this, one being the idea that more folks are looking for things to do that don't entail a long drive and a hotel. Another is Morris' "Out on a Limb" exhibit, which is a huge hit. I visited on a quiet Tuesday morning in summer, figuring the place would be empty, and was surprised to find the "tree house" packed with families. Hanging out - literally - over the Wissahickon makes me a little queasy, but it appeared I was the only one getting dizzy. More power to everyone else. 

About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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