Spring and activities bloom at Medford Leas

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Every spring, the Barton Arboretum of Medford Leas comes alive — literally. The beautiful plants, flowers and trees blossom, and so do the opportunities to learn about them. The “Pathways to Learning at Medford Leas” programs, many offered at no cost, encourage residents and the public to learn about and enjoy nature in a variety of ways from early March through May.

Nature enthusiasts will love the annual Lewis W. Barton Lecture, this year with speaker Anthony S. Aiello, the Gayle E. Maloney Director of Horticulture and Curator of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.

Aiello’s topic, “Plant Exploration in a Changing World: Collecting in the 21st Century,” will include how domestic and international plant exploration can expand the range of plant choices in our region, as well as address environmental and biological challenges currently facing plants in the landscape, on April 2. He also will describe the process of plant exploration, and profile promising plants that have resulted from three decades of exploration by the Morris Arboretum and its partners.

The lecture will run from 11 a.m. until noon at the Medford Leas’ Theater, after which a light lunch will be provided and guests are encouraged to tour the arboretum and browse the Al Fresco Shop. There is no cost to participate, but the deadline to register for the annual lecture is March 25.

Looking to actually go to the Morris Arboretum with friends and fellow plant lovers? Medford Leas is organizing a day-trip on May 26, from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Spend hours exploring the 92-acre lush and colorful gardens, discovering your favorite garden spaces as you explore 12,000 labeled plants, trees, and flowers. Lunch, transportation, and entrance fees are included in the $75 registration, which must be completed by May 20.

Medford Leas will again offer “Daffodil Daze Walks” at its Lois Forrest Nature Center on April 6, or April 13, from 10 a.m. until noon. Enjoy the beauty of the spring season and be inspired by the Ilgenfritz Daffodil Collection on a guided walk with the Medford Leas horticulturalist and residents. Thousands of daffodils beckon and promise to inspire at this program, which is being offered at no cost.

If improving your own garden is your goal, attend the “Pruning In Your Home Garden,” program, back by popular demand, on April 25. Ken Hutz of Ken Hutz & Company will lead this interactive program, teaching the proper pruning techniques for the care of ornamental tree and shrubs, as well as how and when to prune. This will be hosted at the Medford Leas’ Lois Forrest Nature Center from 10 a.m. until noon, and costs $10. Register by April 22 to secure a spot.

In addition, the Native Plant Society will host its annual meeting at Medford Leas, focusing on “America’s Forgotten Fruit” on March 5, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Andy Moore, author of PawPaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit, will lead the program, as well as a variety of other speakers who are dedicated native plant enthusiasts.

Find out more about the current activities of the society, which is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation, protection, and study of the native flora of New Jersey. The cost for members of the society is $35 and non-members $55 — lunch is included and all are welcome.

For a full listing of lectures and programs, or to register for a program, visit www.medfordleas.org or call (609) 654–3588.