Click on Programs to see full listing of events.
For a full listing check our calendar-at-a-glance.
Walk Through Imagination, Mid July – Early September
Drawing from Nature, Thursday, August 25, 9:30am – noon SOLD OUT
Family Book Series, Tuesday, August 30, 10:30am, repeats every Tuesday through August
Looking Together, Tuesday, August 30, 2-3pm, and every other Tuesday through September 27
The Spell of the Sensuous, Wednesday, August 31, 7:30pm
Shoreline Ecology, Wednesday, August 31 & Thursday, September 1 SOLD OUT
July 15 – August 31
Once again we welcome back potter Bill O’Callaghan and storyteller Robin Tuck for another version of A Walk through Imagination. This year’s story, “Brother Martin and the Selkies” will lead you on a tour through the magical landscape at the Arboretum. Along the way Bill’s whimsical sculptures tell the tale of a stranded mermaid, an island, and four selkie brothers and a kindly plant- wise monk.
Included with garden admission of $5/free for PHA members and children 12 and under.
The landscape of Martha’s Vineyard—the shape of its coastline, the pattern of its forests, fields, and moorlands, the distribution of its roads, houses, villages, and stone walls—is a product of its past. To interpret the Vineyard today and anticipate future changes, we need to understand that history. Among the best tools available is a map from 1850 created by Henry Whiting, a distinguished topographer with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and co-founder of the MV Agricultural Society.
Copies of this map are available at the Polly Hill Visitor Center or may be purchased by calling the Arboretum. All proceeds from map sales benefit the Arboretum’s research fun to support the development of a modern flora for Martha’s Vineyard and research in plant conservation and forest ecology.
Maps: $35 at Polly Hill
Phone order Maps: $35 plus $4.95 shipping and handling charge (508-693-9426)
Maps also available at Bunch of Grapes, Granary Gallery, and Martha’s Vineyard Museum
Ever consider that ferns might have made a meal for a hungry Triceratops? Or rotting ginkgo fruits, a tasty dinosaur snack? This summer take our new family-friendly, self-guided Dinosaur Plant Tour to discover how plants evolved during the age of the dinosaurs. A special map will guide you to labeled plants color-coded to indicate origins in the Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous periods within the Mesozoic Era. In addition fossils, a timeline, and other facts of interest will be on display at our Visitor Center.
You will learn that plants like dawn redwood, monkey puzzle tree, gingko, and magnolia were here when dinosaurs roamed Earth more than 200 million years ago. Many of these “dinosaur plants” plants can be found at the Polly Hill Arboretum today. Although the dinosaurs met their demise in a dramatic mass extinction, plants persisted. Many evolved in new ways, but other plants remained much the same. These prehistoric plants fascinate us with their beauty, resilience, and more than ancient roots.
Thanks to a generous matching grant from the Cedar Tree Foundation, (the family foundation of Dr. David H. Smith) and generous contributions from our friends; the construction of our much anticipated Education Center & Botany Lab is well underway. This science facility embodies our mission to the fullest extent. The building will provide the space and equipment to advance our plant research and the climate-controlled indoor environment to extend our education programming year-round. Completing the building also honors the spirit of Polly Hill and David Smith, both who sought to share knowledge about plants through education, research, and plant conservation.
We are pleased to announce our listing in the National Register of Historic Places! This formal recognition of the Arboretum’s significance based on national standards honors the exceptional importance of our historic property as well as our preservation efforts, and Polly’s vision for her property.
Read more about our listing here!
PHA staff travel the world in search of seed! This year Curator Tom Clark, Executive Director Tim Boland, and Horticulturist Ian Jochems embarked on botanical road trips in the U.S.A.
In October Tom was on the road in the Carolinas and Georgia focused on locating, documenting, and collecting seed of deciduous azalea species (a particular interest of Polly Hill’s). The trip was underwritten by a $2,500 grant from the American Rhododendron Society Research Foundation awarded to PHA to fund Tom’s proposal. His collection efforts focused on increasing the genetic diversity in cultivation of three rhododendron species threatened in their native habitat: Rhododendron eastmanii, flammeum and vaseyi. 47 collections were made on his trip including some valuable “off-mission” seed of mountain stewartia as well as other rhododendrons. Tom was accompanied by Harold Sweetman, director of the Jenkins Arboretum in Devon, Pennsylvania. This collaborative trip forms the foundation for future trips to continue conservation work in meeting international goals set forth by the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.
Also in October (prime month for seed collection) Tim and Ian participated in a seed collection trip to the Ozark Mountain Region of Arkansas. They collected 34 different taxa of plants ranging from trees to herbaceous plants. A few great finds were maple-leaved oak (Quercus acerifolia) and the Ozark witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis). The maple-leaved oak is listed as a threatened species with only about 200 known living trees. In addition to Tom and Ian, the botanical team for the Ozark trip included Anthony Aiello, director of horticulture and curator at the Morris Arboretum, and Michael Dosmann, curator of living collections at the Arnold Arboretum.
The results of both these collecting trips help us to grow a stronger wild origin plant collection at PHA while helping to preserve wild plant taxa both in fulfilment of our mission. Look for the rest of the story next summer when Tom, Tim, and Ian present their botanical adventures in an evening lecture.
Plants of Winter Interest, Martha’s Vineyard Magazine
The Science of Fall Color, Vineyard Gazette
15 Years and Growing Strong, Read about us in a recent Vineyard Gazette
From Polly’s Garden This is a series of articles written for the Vineyard Gazette for the 2012 summer Tuesday editions of the paper. Tim Boland writes on a variety of plant related topics.
Massachusetts Botanical Gardens
We have recently collaborated with other Massachusetts Botanical Gardens to create a website to promote garden visitation in the state.
Check it out to discover the diversity of gardens in our state!
We have been awarded a Level IV Accreditation through the Morton Arboretum’s Register of Arboreta and Accreditation Program, ArbNet. The purpose of the Register is to identify all of the organizations that collect and display trees, shrubs, and other woody plants for the benefit of the public, science, and conservation. Organizations listed on the register are accredited at different levels depending on degrees of development, capacity, and professionalism. The Polly Hill Arboretum is now recognized amongst other national and international professional public gardens with the highest level of ArbNet accreditation. Level IV Accredited Arboreta have met the highest levels of arboretum standards, including those specified for Level I, II, and III and demonstrate additional institutional capacity to collaborate on scientific and conservation activities related to trees. For more information about the program go to www.arbnet.org