Monday, December 21, 2009


I remember my first visit, as a 9 year old more than 30 years ago, to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) like it was yesterday. I desperately wanted to be an archeologist and search for dinosaurs around the planet and visiting the Museum was like going to a candy store. For every fossilized dinosaur I saw that day I imagined two more that I could have discovered. I imagined going back in time to what the Earth could have been like during the time of the dinosaurs and in my mind’s eye I could stand and watch an amazing clash of these titans.

I also have another very distinct memory of that day. It was the day that I first became awed by any member of the plant world, and more specifically, the day that I began to love trees.

If you haven’t visited the museum and you love trees, or if you just have a general neutrality about trees you will want to visit the display of a cross-section of a Giant Sequoia tree cut down in 1891 that lived to be more than 1,300 years old. This specimen, that once stood more than 300 feet tall, inspired words like “proud,” and “majestic,” but it also inspired an overwhelming sense of humility. This specimen reminded me of what a big, beautiful, and wondrous planet we live on and it led me to perspective on the significance of a species that lives for 10 to 20 times or more than that of man. Humility wasn’t a word that I was familiar with then, but on that day I discovered what it meant. (see:
I also remember being saddened by the demise of this tree, but even more I remember being elated that there were several more specimens still alive that were older and taller. I have not yet visited California to see these amazing wonders, but it is on the top of my list of places to go and soon.

As I stared in awed reverence at the display I quickly realized the impossibility of trying to count the rings of this tree. Fortunately, the museum marked significant dates in human history with their corresponding chronologic ring along the cross sectional girth. To think that this tree stood serenely on the western coast of this “new” land when Christopher Columbus set foot for the first time on its soil is fascinating and even at this point in time, this tree was nearly 1,000 years old.

I was deeply moved for reasons that I couldn’t understand (after all, I was only 9). I tried to imagine what it must be like to be an organism that witnessed 1,300 years of history. How many snow storms, lightning strikes, new and extinct species of animal and plant, and human events had this organism been present to observe? Even at 9 I had a concept of trees not being sentient in the sense of being able to make observations, but knowing and imagining are two different things. In my imagination, this tree was like a wise elder friend silently, but positively ‘there’ whenever one would want to, or need to visit. I imagined myself lying by myself in a forest of these quiet giants simply staring at their majesty and the sky through their branches. It’s hard to imagine what stress feels in this context. One simply goes to a place where stressors just don’t seem important.

After a few minutes I came to realize the conspicuous quiet of the display despite the ten or so other visitors who, like me, were simply in awe. I was comforted in knowing that I was not alone in this quiet celebration of a species that wasn’t ‘us.’

Today, some 32 or so years later, I still love trees. Among some of my favorites are many trees who I would guess remain largely inconspicuous to most. The love that I have for trees has an additional dimension now though. As much as I still find peace and calm when I walk among trees, I also revere trees for the interdependence that we humans have with them.


As I write this, leaders from around the world (119 countries to be precise) have gathered in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference ( and all hopes from around the world point to interventions that will have a dynamic impact on our entire planet.

Among these is the preservation of trees. The photo to the right demonstrates deforestation in Brazil. This entire region was once covered with rainforest, but as a result of the different
governmental policies and lack of protections it is now all too evident where deforestation exists. Let this picture serve as an indication of what irresponsible actions look like. Let this picture also serve as cause for hope that we all can recognize how responsible action can inform policy and cause positive change that reaches far into the future.

Closer to Home

For lovers of trees who would like to celebrate and enjoy a prime example of how we can live responsibly and celebrate our interdependence with trees I would encourage a visit to the Pine Hollow Arboretum. With nearly 3,000 plantings of trees and shrubs that are zoned for this region the Arboretum is a place that I find inspirational. Dr. John Abbuhl’s effort to cultivate the Arboretum enters its 45th year and if one isn’t inspired by the level of detail of the site, s/he will be after talking with John about any of the species planted here.

Among my favorites are the Metasequoia, cousin to the Giant Sequoia. John has several planted that, although nearly 30 years old and almost 75 feet tall, are in their infancy! One can’t help but wonder what historical events these great trees will witness. Oh, and they aren’t even the tallest trees in the Arboretum…yet!

For readers who would like more information on subjects like this one please read the words of E.O. Wilson ( ), and Wangari Maathai (

Michael Klugman
K-12 Science Supervisor
Bethlehem Central School District

Photos in the left hand column can be enlarged by clicking on the photo. Photo credits for this post (from top of column) Metasequoia at Pine Hollow, Giant Sequoia from and

Monday, December 7, 2009


View at Maple Avenue Trail
Tao of Pine Hollow (see the ying and yang symbol in this photo?)

"All Dressed Up With No Place To Go"

Cherry Tree on Japanese Hill

Snow Top Hats On Seedheads

Translucent Snow Branch

The first snow, a moist enmeshing cover, came to Pine Hollow on December 5th. These photos were taken on December 6, 2009 around 10 am to 10:30 am Sunday morning. (all photos in lefthand column can be enlarged by clicking on them)

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) an evergreen of straight-grained soft wood with little resin. The tree is most prominent on our arboretum landscape. They can live upwards of 450 years but none of our specimens approach that age. Unlike so many imported species we have here, the Eastern White Pines are native, what I call volunteers, and the north section of the arboretum is a natural forest area of approximately five acres with numerous 90-100 year-old trees forming an impressive overstory. Underneath is found a forest floor environment which suits many other native plants, scrubs and second growth trees. Contrast the neat even rows of a pine tree plantation with the multi-trunked organic forms of the pines of our Natural Forest Area. Common names for these trees are northern white pine, soft pine and Weymouth pine. They range through-out eastern North America from Ontario, around the whole Great Lakes and down the Appalachian mountain range to northern Georgia. A variety grows in the mountains of southern Mexico and Guatemala. White pine is now naturalizing along the mountain slopes of the Czech Republic and southern Poland.

The Weymouth pine name for our native (I better say American) tree is an interesting story. The large straight trees that greeted the European settlers were considered "vital" military and commerical resources to the English Government. They were used as masts and keel of sailing ships. In 1620, Captain Weymouth planted the white pine species in England without success. The white pine blister rust disease did not allow their usable growth. England by necessity remained dependent on our native trees. Forests of white pines were declared to be "Kingtrees" and even individual trees were selected with the "broad arrow" axe mark reserving them for the British Royal Navy. This reserving of the best trees fed into the growing resentment of American settlers of their Colonial status. The first flag of the American Revolutionary War had a white pine emblem. During the actual war period the patriots use to challenge each other to see how many Kingtrees a single man could axe and haul.

The white pine has an older sacred history as the Great Tree of Peace for the Haudenosaunne. These native peoples include those who lived in the region where Pine Hollow Arboretum now exists. Legend has it that the Haudenosaunne were living in a dark violent period with war among their five nations. A messager of peace was sent by the creator to bring a way for people to find a Great Law of Peace. The Eastern White Pine became known as The Great Tree of Peace. It was a symbol because being very tall it could be seen from afar. Needles were in clusters of five like the five nations bound together as one. The needles stayed green. Even as seasons change the tree stays green and so shall the Great Peace stay. The white pine was uprooted and into the hole made by the roots were cast down weapons. Buried were greed, hate and jealousy. The tree was placed up again and as tree roots spread in all four directions so was the Great Law of Peace to be spread. On top of the tree sits an eagle. The eagle a watcher to warn of any approaching danger.

I thought the white pine forest here might have been a product of the wave of Conservation Corps seedling tree plantings which were prevalent in New York State in the 1920s-1940s. Not so, according to John Abbuhl. He told me they are first growth, natural seeded in abandoned farm fields. There are a few white pines found in different border areas of the arboretum that are a bit older, from 100 to 120 years old. White pine are scattered through-out the arboretum and observation shows mixed results based on how wet one finds the soil. When the soil is too wet the white pine grow stunted, size limited. Intermediate wet soil allows large tree growth however these trees get wind thrown in spring. A whole tree will be blown down. You see them lying sideways with the whole root section lifted up and away from the land. The hills and drained land are suited to long term growth. John Abbuhl envisions the day when Pine Hollow Arboretum is known as home to a Virgin Forest of White Pine. In talking with John I was surprised to learn a Virgin Forest is defined as one of trees at least 200 years-old. I thought Virgin meant before the coming of the Norman and his sawmill to Albany County and the cutting down of all the big trees to built ships and houses. So John is right, someday there will be a white pine forest here of 200 year-old trees. A baby born this year might see it. Pines grow in open fields, fire areas and where there are landslides and blowdowns. In a deep forest cover there is not enough light for pine seedlings. A White Pine forest is not a climax forest. In tree succession oaks come in under it and in northern environs maples. yellow birch and ash. In the Albany Pine Bush pitchpine is climax because of fire. So imagine you could have a 200 year-old forest of white pine tress that is not a climax forest, that is not permanent, that is going to be replaced.

---Alan Casline

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


In 1941 Gan Duo, a botanist, came upon a village in west-central China. The villagers there had a small shrine at the base of a large tree of a then unknown species. The villagers worshiped a god they believed lived inside the tree. So was found the first and at the time only live example of a tree known then through its fossil record, the metasequoia (metasequoia glyptoboides) Seeds were collected on later expeditions and a large grove discovered deep in an isolated valley. The native trees are rare. Only a small population was ever known. Found on the Sichuan-Hubei border country, the center of population for the metasequoia was about 6,000 large trees and most of them were logged in the early 1950s. According to The Gymnosperm Database the conservation status of native metasequoia is critically endangered. The tree is known as a fossil or relic tree. One that had world wide distribution 100 million years ago. A common name for it is "Dinosaur Tree" It is thought that the third ice age, 3 million years ago almost drove the tree to extinction. Today the metasequoia is widely planted as an ornamental, especially prized because of its "rapid growth". It is reported that several million trees (most from root cuttings) are planted in China each year. The tree has been introduced in over fifty countries. Other common names for the metasequoia are "Dawn Redwood" and "Water Fir" (SHUI SHANC in Chinese).

John with 2009 metasequoia planting (rust colored)

Experts describe a tree with "a tapering trunk broadening to the buttressed base, conical when young, developing a broad, rounded crown with age." How old the trees live to is not known. The age of over 400 years is attributed to the old tree first found in the village in China. As Pine Hollow Arboretum's John Abbuhl asked "Does anyone know of any who stopped growing and succumbed to old age?"
Not every tree species is going to have equal success at an arboretum and we are lucky here at Pine Hollow Arboretum to have conditions that nurture the metasequoia. The Metasequoia Field is a favorite stopping place for visitors and the trees themselves are attractive for many of the children that visit with their parents or with school groups. Their native habitats in China are shady, moist sites, such as ravine stream banks. They like to have their feet wet but not as wet as some other species like the Bald Cypress, a swamp tree that also seems to do well here. John Abbuhl said that like all redwoods, the metasequoia like moist deep soil. He said it seems our soil and water are perfect conditions for them to do well. Another part of the interesting history of the metasequoia is because of Red China's closed to the West policies
the only available trees came from seed brought out of China in 1946 and propagated by the Arnold Arboretum. Our trees come from this genetic stock. As might be expected, western stock suffers from inbreeding depression. Currently Dawes Arboretum has young plantings from new seed stock which can be used to improve the genetic mix at some time in the future. We have six metasequoia growing at Pine Hollow Arboretum. Three were planted in 1968-70 purchased from Jeffer's Nursery in Slingerlands, New York. Another was planted some time later in the early 1980's with one failure because of mouse griddling the first winter. Last year and this year new young trees were planted. The tallest (but not the oldest) tree is about sixty feet tall. The original tree has the largest trunk, about five feet around. This tree is producing cones but as of yet no seedlings. Of the oldest three trees, the third has started a growth spurt. John Abbuhl thinks it was perhaps in too wet of a spot but now as its root system has spread it is reaching more optimal balance of soil and water. The largest know metasequoias are about 160 feet tall with a trunk diameter greater than 8 feet. Those are in China, of course. In North America, the Pine Hollow Arboretum trees are very respectable, among the larger sized. There are numbers of older trees but not all of them are in such perfect settings.

--- Alan Casline

Monday, August 17, 2009


Front Pond, 6:15 pm, August 14, 2009

The tour of the arboretum was much more than we expected. John's dedication and knowledge were very impressive! It's wonderful to be in his company, both as botanist (if he calls himself that) and poet. The audience for the poetry reading seemed to be appreciative of the varied voices and styles. It's a lovely venue for poetry and I recommend that this event be repeated often. The refreshments were a very nice touch - after the walk we were thirsty and hungry - so a big thank you to Kate for her contribution, as well.

---Mimi Moriarty

on the arboretum tour: visting the "Big Pile"

I have already gotten some "feed back" from non poet neighbors who loved it! I think it is very exciting to merge all these different talents and interests.

---Kay Abbuhl

poets: (front row L. to R.) Joyce Schreiber, Marion Menna, Mimi Moriarty
(row two) Susan Morse, Rachael Ikins
(row three) Ron Pavoldi, Obeeduid, Alan Casline

Thanks all for one of the best poetry readings I have ever been a part of . It was right up there with the Smitty's Tavern reading this spring. I thought the audience was the best collective group I have ever read to. I like our "poets reading for other poets" readings very much but this one had a broader appeal, maybe because of the site and the mix of mailing lists and publicity. (both the TU and Metroland didn't list it but I guess the Delmar Spotlight and Altamont Enterprise did.) The crowd was so attentive and into it -- it was like they were adding clarity and meaning to the poems just by the power of their listening. I thought poets were on as well; with content, selection and presentation. The new Rootdrinker Institute PA did a fine job too. Thanks to John and Kate for once again making folks feel welcome on their turf.
--- Alan Casline

Thursday, July 30, 2009



Celebrate nature with poetry at the beautiful Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands, New York.

A late summer Friday evening event sponsored by the Arboretum will feature John Abbuhl and Alan Casline from the Arboretum and a host of other local poets. The event is being held indoors at the Pine Hollow Arboretum building at 16 Maple Ave. on Friday, August 14, 2009 beginning at 7:30pm and ending at 10 pm. Early arrivals are welcome to sign-in at the headquarters and visit the grounds. Light refreshments will be provided by the Arboretum members. Poets scheduled to appear are Ron Pavoldi, Rachael Ikins, Marion Menna, Susan Morse, Alan Casline, Tim Verhaegen, John Abbuhl, Mimi Moriarty, Tim Lake, Edie Abrams, Obeeduid, Joyce Schreiber and others. The contents of this event are biodegradable and will leave only wordprints.

Contact Alan Casline at or Pine Hollow Arboretum at for more information.


What am I? I am what is
that I have helped along
the children that have grown to be
and have begot their own.

I am the grasses and the trees
a landscape all its own
that shows its flowers to the world
and pleasures those that see.

And I’ve been there with helping hand
to save a special land
so those that come in future days
can sense that fortune favored them,

By saving beauty to behold
above a daily life
and thus give meaning much apart
from what all, that’s only strife.

For vision is a gift of mind
that comes from all before
and flowers at each future time
connecting all that’s right.

John W. Abbuhl
24 May’03


hillside maples

forest of plantings

photo of Dad

bucket to move small trees

shovel a stave

one hand holds straight the tree top

gentle urge to grow

one of these tall trees

is the one in the photo

still reckoned young

twenty-five years later

Alan Casline
September 23, 2008
Springs Hollow, New York

Monday, July 20, 2009


Sunday Art Works at Arboretum (pun intended). A pun uses a word or phrase in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings. "Art Works" as in all the works of art displayed at 16 Maple Avenue, a rich selection in a great variety of mediums and art works as the show at Pine Hollow Arboretum worked successfully in bringing well over a hundred people to our grounds. Most of them enjoyed the trees, ponds, sunshine and fresh air as well as the talented local artists who were kind enough to display their art work. Mike Harrison added greatly to the event by donating his music in the form of singing voice and guitar playing. The guy barely took a break. He played some chords from the sixties that he claimed he is the only one who remembers. As a friend of the Arboretum, Mike be sure to let us know when your recording project is done. Right at 2 pm the crowd started arriving. Many timed it so they could take the arboretum tour guided by John Abbuhl. A hour and a half later, John came striding up the hill and told us he had 36 people on his tour. It would have been more but a few people were so sweet we had to keep them on ice and away from the wild life(bees). Lots of others took the self-guided tour. I heard two tell John they had covered 95% of the entire property. Those two better become members of the Arboretum. We need them as volunteers! One hoped for side-shoot from the day will be new members and new volunteers. It was a steady stream of people all day but our Board and members had time to enjoy the day too. Board member Audrey Hawkins summed it up well when she said, "Kudos to us all and especially Virginia Acquario for organizing and coordinating the event! It was a pleasure to see so many people enjoying the Arboretum, from small children to the elderly with canes. I heard a lot of "WOWS" ! I never knew that such a large tract of land existed back here with such beautiful trees. John 's passion has been viewed by lots more lucky folks."
Poetry here on Friday August 14, 2009 at 7:30 pm.
--- Alan Casline

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Art at the Arboretum

Pine Hollow Arboretum
an exhibit of visual arts
by local artists
at the Arboretum

Maple Avenue entrance
16 Maple Avenue
Sunday July 19, 2009
from 2 to 5 pm
Public Welcome

light refreshments
music by Mike Harrison

children’s clothesline art show
Merrick Hosford
Phoebe Hosford
Joseph Acquario
Lora Acquario
Stephenanie Acquario
Lian Creaser
Justin Creaser
Gavin Creaser
Brenden Creaser
Stephen Acquario
Jack Acquario

Featured Local Artists

Robert E. Lynck
Ellie Prakken
Mike Whalen
Penny Koberger
Evonne Lutkus
Tom Bailey
Laura Strong
Virginia Acquario
Alan Casline
Joyce Schreiber
Daniel Schreiber
Barbara Hatch Vink
Tom Corrado
Rachael Ikins
William Hetzer
Celia Whalen
Denie Whalen
M.J. Adelman

Guided tours led by Pine Hollow Arboretum
planter & founder John Abbuhl
at 2:30 and at 4:00 pm

Monday, June 15, 2009


We at the Pine Hollow Arboretum invited our neighbors to an Open House . We invited then to visit with the promise that we would love to show them around. On Sunday June 14, 2009 (with the nicest stretch of weather on a raining weekend) we had visitors come by to enjoy the sunshine and our many trails found on 25 acres of trees in a natural setting. We had 38 visitors, mostly from right around the Arboretum which made it a great success from our public relations stand point. Without exception they were enthusiastic and anxious to support the mission and kept talking about ways to help in the future. We have several tours planned for neighbors who could not come this weekend and a meeting with the Science Supervisor for the Bethlehem School District who wants to tour and then work on a curriculum for students of varying levels. All in a good direction and feeling of support! Thanks again for a successful Open House.
--- Kate Abbuhl

Couldn't make it to the Open House. Send us your e-mail address if you want to stay informed about opportunities and events
Keep viewing our blog for news on upcoming events.

Access and Educational tours by appointment.
Call (518) 439-6472

Slingerlands now has a unique forest environment, which we hope to preserve in perpetuity for the benefit of our community, town and bioregion. If you don't know about the Pine Hollow Arboretum let us introduce ourselves to you, our neighbors. We want you to know about what we are doing, how we aspire to be a world-class environmental education resource and suggest ways you might become involved as the organization takes shape and begins to grow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Click on map to get larger image. Any photo or illustration in the left-hand column can be enlargered by clicking on it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yellowwood, A Rare Tree -- Now In Bloom

American Yellowwood ( Cladrastis kentukea) is a mid-sized deciduous tree. Apparently it also has the scientific name Cladrastic lutea. Common names besides Yellowwood are Gopherwood and Vergilia. Andre Micheaux, the French botanist discovered the Yellowwood Tree near Fort Blount, Tennessee in 1796. I don't think it is considered likely that it is the Gopherwood mentioned in the Bible as the material that the Tower of Babel and Noah's Ark were made of. It could be where the common name came from however. American Yellowwood is called "One of the rarested trees in the eastern United States." Not native to our biota, an article I read said "many people have never seen the tree in bloom." A North Carolina botanist wrote he found only one in the wild after years of looking. Native habitate for the tree is wide but there are only a few trees scattered over large areas mostly in the upper South and in the Ozark region of Arkansas. In the wild the tree is imperiled or vulnerable. Officially the species is classified as Endangered by Illinois and Threatened by Indiana. Rare in the wild and seldom planted in yards.

Pine Hollow Arboretum is fortunate to have a mature example of this beautiful tree. The tree has wisteria-like foot-long flowers usually white but they can be pink. They do not bloom every year. The fruits are long bean-like pods. The plant is part of the Legume family and is therefore distantly related to Locusta and Red Buds. Dye makers have used the bright yellow heart wood to make yellow dye. Great chance to come by and see a mature tree in full bloom which is a stunning sight.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Signs Delivered

I finished up on the signs for the Arboretum today and brought them over to be set up. John and Kate weren't around so I just went and put them up myself. I forgot to bring my map but I think I remembered where everything was. Here is the result. (see photo above) Thanks, Alan Casline

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lots of color still coming

As you walk aroung the property,there are many blooms on Rhododendrons, Horse chestnusts, and Pink Locusts...not to mention the Azalias and Primroses that are still here in spite of wind and rain...and then there is the spectaculr "Tricolor Beech" so... we welcome all to share this beauty!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


John W. Abbuhl is the builder of Pine Hollow Arboretum. He has been busy this spring adding new trees to the collection but I was still able to sit down for an interview with him one day before he "disappeared." I've been told that unless you keep him in your sight at all times he will not be there when you turn around. I understand the urge to get off on a task, to put the day to a good purpose. Here is the result of the interview:
-- Alan Casline

What was your first dream?
As a child, thinking of owning or being in charge of an expansive piece of land. The land would be up a hill and there were other people participating. "Paying out my own eg0" I grew up looking at a hill behind the house - no posted land in the 1930's. Later in life there was the opportunity to create a thousand acre preserve in the Catskills with the Cornwallville Conservation Corp.
What authors, education, teachers, mentors helped you on the pursuit of your dream?
I really can't answer that. I'm very internalized - can't think of any person who stimulated me to do what I'm doing. Father was an English teacher at R.P.I.. He didn't believe in radio except for news and prize fighting. The environmental influence of childhood is important but also I believe the genetic make-up of the individual determines alot of what someone is. You operate within your talents. Of course there is still an effect from your environment. I always spent alot of time thinking. I wouldn't go off with a book. I would sit there and think.
What happened when the forces seemed overwhelming, the obstacles too great for you to reach your dream, what did you do in reaction to that?
My glass is always "half-full". All obstacles are surmountable. Figure a way to try and get around it. That's the story of Cornwallville Conservation Corp. There were major obstacles which only could have been surmounted by me. Pine Hollow Arboretum is not going to fail and if it does fail its back-up is going to recreate it.
What are your current dreams?
The Arboretum.
Also I am more and more interested in some of my writing, the small short essays. It is hard to do it all with writing poetry. The essays are all dated and progress as I continue with them.
I am interested in philosophy - reality - truth. We have a culture of not respecting the truth. My concept is God is truth and cannot be separated from it. Faith is an important thing but faith has got to be compatable with truth, When you reach the unknown that's when faith comes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lots of blooms

We have had a wonderful sequence of blooms this past week... some magnolias are finishing, the crab apples have and are spectacular, along with the lilacs, and the azalias around the house are coming in to full bloom. the azalias in the field are a bit behind. As you walk out the "nature" trail towards the Metasequia field you will see the Primroses on the edge of the stream... there are many !! Lots to see and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Magnolia update

This wonderful warm weather has hastened the blooms on the early magnolias and they are now mostly surrounding those trees on the ground! But the next batch are coming fast! these are the deep red/purple colors that we refer to as the middle magnolias... they are around the magnolia field and looking beautiful.. (John refers to them as the 4 sisters) If the weather cools a bit they may last better! the prim roses off the "Nature trail" are beginning and they too will be beautiful in several more days. Have a wonderful tour! Kay

Monday, April 27, 2009

Click on image of map for larger image. Any photo or illustration in the left-hand collumn can be enlarged by clicking on it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The walk is beautiful with much to see, especially magnolias, but not yet Azalias...they are in bud in the field so designated, but not ready to bloom for a week or so....they come as quickly as the magnolias go.... so keep tuned in! Kay

April Late Morning Walk

Azaleas where are the azaleas? White magnolia are in bloom, trees in celebration. I remember azaleas from hiking in the Taconic range near Brace Mountain. Somehow they had gotten free and whole mountain sides were covered and in flower. So critical to arrive on the right day, so I told myself got to get over to Pine Hollow Arboretum. Hiking boots on, as it is still a little wet (have to ask John, might be drainage from last few days of rain). There are lots of dry trails like the ridge up Japanese Hill and along Fir Trail towards Pine Hollow Road side of Arboretum and the one right out and up close to flowering trees in Magnolia Field. So I do know what azaleas look like and I guess it is still early for them? John said these are the early magnolias, which implies "later" ones. Gold and yellow koa are out in Front Pond. The benches look so inviting. This is the fourth time I've visited the Arboretum and I'm beginning to see how trail system works. I am going to paint some simple signs. I like to take a map and find geographic features that I orient in the direction I'm facing. John is right when he said you have to actually walk the trails to make sense of where to put up signs for direction. Here are some photos from today.
--- Best, Alan Casline