Monday, December 12, 2011

As 2012 approaches, take a moment to remind yourself how fortunate we are to have the Pine Hollow Arboretum. Every day, 3,250 trees are on display throughout the year. Horticultural treasures change and grow each season, in an eco-friendly exhibit carefully tended by curator Dr. John Abbuhl. This magnificent open-air museum is here, in our Town of Bethlehem for everyone to explore.

Throughout the seasons -- artists, poets, music lovers, families, students, teachers, bikers, environmental enthusiasts & others visit the Pine Hollow Arboretum. Many visitors are now friends and members, widening the circle of supporters. Local community organizations and preservation initiatives are also evolving, including the two-mile stretch of the rail trail that opened last summer, from Veterans Park to Kenwood and Grove, running parallel to the Arboretum and adjoining borders with the Slingerlands Historic District.

The Arboretum inspires creativity, introspection, learning and discovery. It interprets how nature helps, hinders and balances the world around us. Just when we think we get it, Mother nature changes the rules. This year taught us powerful lessons in the wake of Hurricane Irene, the floods of 2011 and the value of giving. Maybe we understand a little better now, why we need to protect and preserve what we have.

Happy Holidays…

SLS 12.12.11

Monday, November 7, 2011


Metasequoia branch damaged and removed

An early heavy snow blew in on Saturday October 29, 2011 and left a lot more damage than one would think to the rare collection of trees and scrubs at Pine Hollow Arboretum. The storm was much lighter in the Albany, NY area than in other parts of the Northeast with millions without power due to fallen limbs and trees in the Middle Atlantic and New England States. Only three to five inches of wet snow fell on lower elevations, such as the Slingerlands, NY area where Pine Hollow Arboretum is located. As with all natural phenomenon the storm damage gave us the opportunity to learn from it as well as to see once again an illustration of Nature's landscape shaping ability. According to John Abbuhl, although there was significant damage to a number of our large trees, there does not seem to be any fatal blows struck. Although now shaped differently and in some cases topped-off, all the trees are expected to sprout new growth and continue to thrive. Because their needles had not yet dropped there was damage to a number of lower and upper branches on our big metasequoia in The Metasequoia Field and 80% of the tallest Fastigate Bald Cypress broke off. The top of a Sweetgum and a Sourwood that was in beautiful fall foliage were damaged. The Sourwood was about 12ft. high and lost one of its two double trunks. In front of the VISITOR CENTER more than 75% of a hybrid Kousa and American Dogwood broke from the weight of the wet snow.

damage on hybrid of Kousa and American dogwood

Something that John Abbuhl noticed is quite interesting and points out again the specialness of the Pine Hollow Arboretum landscape. John said there was almost no damage to pine or fir branches. He said the White Pine had already had its needle drop with approximately 50% of needles being shed. Blackgum leaves had dropped and that species had almost no damage from the storm. The oak trees are strong and could take the snow weight without breaking branches.
In fact, there was almost no limb loss on native trees. I take that to show the adaptation of the native species had allowed them to better deal with unexpected but not unknown variation in the usual weather patterns. Although we are impressed with the uniqueness and marvel that species from all over the world can survive at Pine Hollow Arboretum. It is also important to recognize these "special visitors" might need special care to keep them healthy and growing.

---Alan Casline

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Fruits of the Fall" Arboretum Tours

"Fruits of the Fall"

Pine Hollow Arboretum Tours will be presented
on the afternoons of Sat Oct 22, Sunday Oct 23, and Sat, Oct 29, 2011

Start time for all of the tours would be 1:00 pm.


Pine Hollow Arboretum Visitor Center
16 Maple Avenue
Slingerlands, New York 12159
The tours will all be led by arboretum founder and developer Dr. John Abbuhl

John says the following." hard to be specific, but it will include Pawpaw, Persimmon, Apple, Quince, winter berry holly, and whatever else is in bloom... (magnolia seeds are worth looking at as well)"

Please call ahead if you can to reserve a place (518) 439-6472

Thought is the blossom, language the bud, action the fruit behind.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Festival Open House




1-4 PM at 16 Maple Ave






(weather permitting)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Pawpaw Tree Asimina triloba at Pine Hollow Arboretum

Remember when you were a kid in school and were taught the PawPaw Patch Song? You know, “Where, oh where, oh where is Susie? Where, oh where, oh where is Susie? Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch… Pickin’ up pawpaws, put ‘em in a basket… way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.” I know I’m dating myself because my daughter (8th grade) and son (2nd grade) have never heard of the song but I learned it -- way back when. I remember singing the song in grade school but I had no idea what a pawpaw was and didn’t know what one was until today. I was visiting the Arboretum and talking with my father-in-law, John Abbuhl, about fall fruiting trees on the property. He said he has a few and asked me if I had ever seen a pawpaw tree and since I had not, he said “come with me.” We walked down the trail by the pond, over the bridge and there they were. Beginning of Pawpaw grove at Pine Hollow Arboretum

Pawpaw or Asimina Triloba is a deciduous, conical tree grows between 12 to 20 feet. It was first discovered in 1541 by the Spanish explorer, Hernando Desoto on an excursion to the Mississippi Valley but has long been recognized as a source of food by indigenous Americans for centuries before that. Apparently, Lewis and Clark ate them during their epic journey across North America. They are often referred to as Poor Man’s Banana. The tree produces root suckers a few feet from the trunk and when allowed to grow can create a new tree which is why the Arboretum now has a cluster of pawpaws which are located at the eastern end of the magnolia grove near the mid-pond hill. The tree has droopy, oblong shaped green leaves that grow up to 12 inches long. The leaf color is medium green in the summer and turns yellow in the fall. The leaves begin to fall off in mid-autumn and leaf out again in late spring. The pawpaw produces an upside-down maroon flower up to 2 inches across usually during March to May depending on the climate where it’s growing. The pawpaw tree likes filtered sunlight for the first two years after planting then full sun. The deer do not seem to like the leaves or twigs but raccoons, squirrels and foxes will eat the fruit.Pawpaw leaves turning yellow in Autumn

The pawpaw fruit is the largest edible fruit native to America. Each fruit can weigh between 5 to 16 ounces and can be 3 to 6 inches long. They are similar in shape to a potato and can grow in clusters from one to nine fruits. The skin of the pawpaw is thin and edible but people usually peel it off prior to eating. The skin color is green and turns yellow when it is ripe in September - October. When you touch a ripe pawpaw fruit it should be soft to the squeeze. You may think it’s a sign of it being overripe but it’s not. If the skin is brown or black it is overripe. When you cut into a pawpaw you will see two rows of brown/black seeds shaped like lima beans. The color of the pulp can vary from white to orange. The texture of the pulp is soft and creamy much like the consistency of custard. The taste is often compared to bananas with hints of mango and pineapple. Early settlers made jelly with pawpaw and you can also use it in bread, pie or ice cream. If you’re curious about what a pawpaw looks like on the tree, please stop by the Arboretum for a peak at what nature has to offer.

Pawpaw fruit at Pine Hollow Arboretun

----Susan Abbuhl

Friday, September 23, 2011


                                                     color photo   nature does it again, beautiful

Walked the grounds at the arboretum on a sunny late afternoon. I was struck how it is a time of seeds, nuts and fruit. I ran into John Abbuhl planting trees. He took the time to show me the Pawpaw and Persimmons fruits and even the magnolia fruits. (I didn't even know such existed). He had to go back to planting and I continued my enjoyable walk. I had my hiking boots on and I really don't care if I get my feet wet. I noticed the downhill water runoff. As visitors know there are more than ten small ponds at the arboretum, what is less noticeable is the ditching and connecting waterways that help to keep the land underfoot solid and drained relatively quickly.
Here are some photos of my hike. Give yourself a nice walk and stop by the arboretum next time the sun shines.

"Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come."- Chinese proverb
persimmon fruit

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.
- Willa Cather (1873-1947), O Pioneers 1913

magnolia fruit

pawpaw fruit

"Do not be afraid to go out on a limb ... That's where the fruit is."- Anonymous

"Sometimes Thou may'st walk in Groves, which being full of Majestie will much advance the Soul."
- Thomas Vaughan, Anima Magica Abscondita

----- Alan Casline

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Pine Hollow Arboretum is pleased to announce the receipt of two grants, totaling $13,300, from the Bender Family Fund and the Bender Scientific Fund, both of which are managed by the Community Foundation For The Capital Region.

Both the Bender grants will support the arboretum's core mission, which is:

1) to deliver innovative educational programming for adults and students of all ages, in the Town of Bethlehem as well as the greater Capital Region and beyond; and

2) to carry out field based science research, primarily with students, that documents and tracks specific features of the arboretum, both large and small - ranging from individual tree specimens, to soil and pond PH, to ever changing animal, plant and insect life.

"We want to thank the Community Foundation, and especially the Bender Family, for generously providing Pine Hollow our first two grants," says Dr. John Abbuhl, Founder and President of the Pine Hollow Arboretum Board. "Our Board of Directors has worked very hard in the first few years of our organization's existence to lay a strong community based presence from which we can now, thanks to this funding, begin to develop and deliver a wide range of educational programs that revolve around the beauty and majesty of our trees."
The Bender Family released this statement:

“The Trustees are delighted to help “jumpstart” the Community Education Resource Center at the Pine Hill Arboretum. “The important collaboration with Bethlehem Central School District’s Science Education Program will bring hands-on learning to many students across the Capital District in a unique “community” classroom.”

Finally, PHA Board Member, and Bethlehem Central Middle School Principal, Mike Klugman is the Principal Investigator for the Bender Scientific grant:

“PHA provides the Bethlehem community with an invaluable educational and ecological resource and the aim and endeavor of this grant is to enlighten our community on both fronts.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Opening of an Art Show and Sale on Sept 17 + Sept 18 at the Arboretum. This is an amazing exhibit by 25 Local artists who are sharing their interpretation of nature using the Arboretum and elsewhere. The enthusiasm of the artists as they have created their images is contagious! There were no rules,no judges, just for fun! We are so lucky to be able show you such talent! The exhibit will be open every weekend at the Visitors Center (hours 10 AM to 4 PM )for you to enjoy until Oct. 16th. Come see the art, enjoy light refreshments, and if the weather improves enjoy the Arboretum itself with a tour by Dr. Abbuhl on Sat Sept 17 at 1PM We will be happy to welcome people at other times by appointment. call 439-6472


These are very exciting times for Pine Hollow and it seems that everybody is talking about trees these days!

For those fans of PHA who are reading this blog, we are providing links to two recent and excellent shows broadcast on public radio. You can stream these over your computer, or download them on to an MP3 player and podcast while driving, walking or exercising!
OnPoint With Tom Ashbrook originates at WBUR in Boston. A recent show featured the author Richard Horan, who wrote a book called Seeds - Trees That Inspired America's Literary Greats. Horan lives and teaches in upstate NY. As described in the show the author has made arrangements with Brian Sayers, who is President of New York State Arborists, to grow trees from the seeds gathered at or around the homes of important American writers. The "offspring" will eventually be sold to support public education and research activities similar to what we are doing at the Pine Hollow Arboretum.

Philadelphia is a very important city in the history of public horticulture in the United States. WHYY, a public radio station based in that city, recently aired a show, on Radio Times, titled Planting And Protecting Trees. This show featured several important arborists and horticulturists, including Paul Meyer, director of the Morris Arboretum at The University of Pennsylvania and Drew Becher, President of the Pennsylvania Society.

If you do check out these shows, please post your reaction at our blog. Also, please send us any links to "Tree Talk" that you think friends and supporters of Pine Hollow might enjoy and learn from!

Paul Winkeller, PHA Board Member

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Duo Marchand Concert

Proceeds from this concert will be given to area flood
and hurricaine relief organizations

Saturday, August 6, 2011



Friday August 12 , 2011 at 7:00 pm
Pine Hollow Arboretum, 16 Maple Avenue,
Slingerlands, NY

Featuring Poets: Carol Graser, Marion Menna,
John Abbuhl, Therese Broderick, Virginia Acquario, Howard Kogan, Alan Casline, Dennis Sullivan,
Obeeduid, Ron Pavoldi, Mimi Moriarty, Tom Corrado
Catherine Connolly, Jim Williams, Mike Burke

Musical Interludes by Jim Williams

Arboretum Tour at 6:00 pm

A display and book sale of many of the reading poets will also be a feature of the event

For more information phone: (518) 439-6472

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Douglas Fir Tree at Pine Hollow Arboretum (fir on left side of photo)

Fir is derived from the Old English furth or fyrh or the Danish fyrr, meaning "fire", from its use as firewood. The fir at Pine Hollow Arboretum never have to face that fate. Either standing upright for a full thousand year growth or fallen to serve as planting site and nutrients for other growth, the Pine Hollow fir are all granted the natural forest cycle. John Abbuhl pointed out the success of his efforts to create natural conditions and self-seeding trees. The fir tour started near the Enterance Trail, climbed Japaneses Hill, then went by Russian Pond and all along the Fir trail with a brief swing to see speciments near Greenhouse Pond. Of the 46 species of fir tree in the world, we have over 30 different species growing at Pine Hollow Arboretum. We learned to look for upright or downward growing cones, the ridges and nubs of fir needles as well as how soft or sharp the needles might be. It was interesting to observe the deer feeding signs so high up the trunks of young fir due to the tall snow cover of last winter. Fortunately, John told us the trees are not significantly damaged. Some of the trees were so small still that we couldn't see them yet as they are covered with undergrowth. Perhaps by next year they will be tall enough to add to a very enjoyable FIR TOUR.

Note the upward pointing cones. Fir cones point up.

John Abbuhl with magnifier shows needle characteristics

Group examines another different fir

Pine Hollow Fir Tour on the Fir Trail

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A tour of Fir Trees on July 31

There will be a tour at the Arboretum on Sunday July 31, 2011, starting at 1 PM. This will be a chance to learn about the collection of Fir trees and some of their special characteristics. This is a favorite topic of John Abbuhl (the founder) and should be a fun and interesting walk. Other subjects may be included as requested and as time allows. All ages are welcome. The post previous to this is a good introduction...



by John Berninger

May 28, 2011

These are two views of the Candelabra Primrose, which, along with their white relatives, are happily spreading around the wet areas of the Arboretum. Viewed from the side, it is easy to see how they got their name, and the top view remined me of fireworks. these flowers were seen at the edge of the Front Pond.

May 28, 2011

This buttercup was spotted northeast of the Greenhouse pond, with some little purple flowers making a nice background. I am hoping to spend more time walking around the Arboretum and learning the names of the wide variety of flora and fauna to be found here.

June 19, 2011

This is one of the Canada Goose families at the Arboretum, seen here in the Front Pond. The children seem to be very well behaved, due to their attentive parents

July 19, 2011

There was quite a bit of turbulent activity among the Koi fish in the Front Pond.
John Abbuhl thought it was some kind of mating ritual. I think it was either that or a territorial dispute. neither of us had seen them chasing each other around like this before.

June 19, 2011

This rose was seen in the Pine Cove area.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Walking down the Enterance Trail into Pine Hollow Arboretum the shapes of green pines and fir trees open up like gateways to the rich vistas and arranged plantings. As you learn more about the trees on display, the interesting sights take on a more informed aspect. An example are the two matched fir trees growing closely together where the downslope flattens out at the end of the hill Enterance Trail. They are the Grand Fir (Abies grandis) to the left and growing within the Grand Fir's spreading branches, a different fir trunk, the Noble Fir (Abies procera). Arboretum founder and planter John Abbuhl allows that the two trees could of been placed with more distance between them but as they stand they illustrate the famous Aesop fable "The Tortoise and the Hare". Both Firs were planted at the same time. The largest of all firs, the Grand Fir can grow 300 ft. tall. It is a very quick grower and at the Arboretum it dwarfs its fir partner. The Grand Fir is not long lived according to John, with a life span of about 250 years. Next to it, the Noble Fir grows second largest of any fir and lives to a thousand years. The Noble Fir will be standing tall and growing for many hundred years while the Grand Fir next to it will be fallen, decayed and returned to the earth.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


The Golden Chain Tree (Laburnum X Watereri) at Pine Hollow

One of my favorite trees at the Pine Hollow Arboretum is the Golden Chain tree. The reason I love this tree is because when it is in bloom, its blossoms are long clusters of bright yellow flowers that cascade downwards like Chinese lanterns bursting with light. They are magnificent to see and fragrant as well. There are four of them at the arboretum and they can be found in the area near the waterfall.

The Golden Chain tree originated in Europe. The Latin name is Laburnum x Watereri ‘Vossii’. It is an ornamental tree and a member of the pea family. This tree enjoys almost any soil type as long as it is well drained and in full sun or partial shade. At its maturity it will stand 15 - 20 feet in height and produce flower clusters 8 inches long which makes it particularly well suited for bordering garden paths and walkways. It is a favorite flowering tree of English country gardens. While there are a couple different varieties, the ones at the arboretum bloom in the spring. The foliage is trifoliate, somewhat like a clover, and light green in color and can be susceptible to “sunburn” during hot summer days. It has been reported that this tree is sensitive to fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Ironically, they themselves are highly toxic to people or pets if the foliage is ingested in a sizeable quantities. The seeds germinate easily and it can also be propagated by layering or grafting. The Golden Chain tree attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and is deer resistant.

--- Sue Abbuhl

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


The following article written by Pine Hollow Arboretum board member Sheri Sanduski appeared in the May 19th JEWISH WORLD NEWSPAPER. Photographs illustrating the article taken May 28, 2011 by Alan Casline.

It's Eco-Season 2011: grow. breath. learn. discover--Pine Hollow Arboretum
Summer is on our doorstep. You want to discover someplace new. Someplace close to home. A beautiful, safe, exhilarating outdoor adventure to bring your family to explore, or to take in some quiet solace for yourself after a busy day. Discover the possibilities at the Pine Hollow Arboretum, an emerging non profit organization situated in the heart of Slingerlands, New York on a 25-acre tranquil preserve, just a few miles from Albany. The Arboretum is home to a thriving ecosystem of over 3,000 trees from all over the world. The land has been planted over the last forty years by retired Pediatrician Dr. John Abbuhl. As a forever to be undisturbed, living outdoor treasure, the Arboretum features twelve ponds, sweeping groves and meandering traills all waiting for visitors to explore.

Trees planted at the Arboretum, when they succeed, have shown a natural adaption to our region. Trees are an essentialpart of healthy habitats around the world and contribute directly to biodiversity. Tree conservation benefits everyone. people of all ages can appreciate a natural environment like Pine Hollow Arboretum. Fortunately for people from our region, it is literally right in our own backyard. For visitors outside our region, it is a destination worth the trip.

Each season brings its own beauty to the Arboretum. Whether exploring the trails, taking in the blossoms, or simply relaxing with an exquisite view, a new discovery awaits you with each visit. One walking tour provides just a glimpse of all that the horticultural collection has to offer, to learn, explore and energize. Experience the Arboretum and become a member.

The Arboretum is open on weekends from 10:00 am to 4:00 PM from April though October. Tours at other times can be arranged by calling ahead. Grounds are generally open to the public from dawn to dusk each day. Please call ahead if you are interested in visiting the Arboretum on your own. The Entrance Trail slopes downhill from a spot right behind the Visitor Center Building located at 16 Maple Avenue in Slingerlands, New York. Arboretum members, students, and accompanied children are free; there is a $3.00 donation for all others. Please call Kay Abbuhl at (518) 439-6472 to arrange a visit or a tour.

Pine Hollow Arboretum will awaken your senses. Come for a day, connect for a lifetime to enjoy the peace, tranquility and especially, the trees.

-------- Sheri Sanduski

Thursday, May 5, 2011



Barbara Quint talked to Nate Horwitz and me from the bench by the willows at the end of Long Pond. She said there was a pair of Canada Geese who swam close together and had a nest near the pond shore. Two ducks seemed to be in a territorial battle over a third. The large gold koi and large yellow koi were active swimming in and out of shadowy weeds. The water lily leaves have not fully emerged yet and these water plants were most visible as greening yellow stems under the water surface. I encouraged Barbara to return in early summer to see them in flower. She asked how many koi are there in the pond? I don't know. I took some photos of tadpoles. Their external gills soon to be replaced though metamorphosis to the adult bullfrog. Plop, plop, plop as you walked any pond edge showed many small frogs had successfully wintered.

Two successful events brought over seventy-five people of all ages to Pine Hollow Arboretum on the weekend of April 29-May 1, 2011. The Music of Jim Williams and the written talent of the Delmar Writers Group brought out a nice appreciative crowd for the Showcase on Friday night April 29th. John Abbuhl said he parked seventeen cars which means there were more cars then deer at the Arboretum that evening. Marion Menna, Alan Casline, Paul Amidon, Jean Van Dyk, Mimi Moriarty read poetry. Susan Morse and Julie Cushine-Rigg shared some of their prose. It might be close but it appears there were more writers then ducks at the Arboretum.

Jim Willams makes music

poetry crowd at Pine Hollow Arboretum

Susan Morse

Poet Paul Amidon

Mimi Moriarty reads at Pine Hollow Arboretum

Sunday, May 1st was a sunny warm day and many people came by to visit the grounds during our Open House. For some it was a return visit but many had promised themselves in the past they would visit and were happy they had finally made the trek. The familar "I had no idea this was here" echoed in the hollow and up the hills. All were encouraged to come back and see the changing variety of flowering trees as we move into late Spring. It was nice seeing so many folks enjoy the plantings, ponds and trails. I must report, however, despite the large turnout that the frogs still outnumbered people by a large number. Here are some photos of the Open House.

--Alan Casline