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IN THE FIELD: Suburban Oasis

June 27, 2013 30 comments

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Last week I visited another arboretum here in southeastern Pennsylvania. The lush gardens are tucked away in a heavily populated area, but once inside the gates, the hustle bustle of the urban area is easily forgotten.

The botanical gardens consist of roughly 20 acres of native trees, shrubs, flowers, and ferns.  Along with the native plants, there are also rhododendrons and azaleas from around the world, planted in gardens under the old growth trees. The abundance of shade provided by the trees, maintain optimum conditions for the understory plants do exceptionally well.

Bog gardens flank the banks of a pond, and native wildflower gardens are planted in full sun. I took this photo of a prickly pear cactus, Opuntia humifusa, which was situated in dappled shade from a nearby honey locust tree.

It was quite warm in the sun that day, so I made my way back to the paved pathways that meander through the woods. The deep shade was a welcome relief from the early summer heat. And that’s when I came across this swamp azalea, Rhododendron viscosum ‘oblongifolium’. The blooming season was finished for the azaleas, but this one shrub was persevering to give one last show before the hot summer temperatures are in full swing.

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