Sunday, June 18, 2023

Nature Walk Led by Sarah Roberts

Thanks to Sarah Roberts, native plant advocate, for leading a June 4 nature walk at Herrontown Woods. Sarah and her husband Larry tend to a beautiful garden in their backyard in Montgomery. 

The walk was organized by FOHW board member Inge Regan (left). That's Sarah in the middle. 

Serving ably as a sort of sweeper for the walk was Inge's son, Aidan, who walked ahead of the group, pruning back any foliage overhanging the trail--a bit like those team members with the brooms in curling. 

Nature walks at Herrontown Woods tend to happen on first Sundays. Check events at for details. 

Friday, June 16, 2023

New at the Barden: Installations and June Blooms

We recently completed some new installations at our award-winning Botanical Art Garden (BArden for short). One involved great effort; both involved considerable doses of serendipity. 

Our new gathering platform is now complete, made largely of scavenged materials. It is a layer cake of reuse, with repurposed boards and flooring supported by long, sturdy pallets stretched across two fallen pine trees. The rustic railings are crafted from well-preserved eastern red cedars that died long ago in the nearby woods after being shaded out by taller trees. 

Thanks to FOHW board member Scott Sillars for applying his skill and determination to completing this project. Maybe we should call it "Scott's Landing."

If you're sitting in the gazebo at the Barden and suddenly hear a soft chime in the distance, it is almost certainly coming from a newly acquired grandfather's clock. I had spotted it, put out with the trash on Snowden Lane, and thought "Wow! A grandfather clock on the curb!" But it wasn't of the quality that you'd want in your house. It took our caretaker, Andrew Thornton, to see the potential new career for this discard at the Barden. The dial even says "Country Time." 

Every garden clock deserves a nice roof, and we just happened to have a spare roof lying around, scavenged from discarded play equipment earlier this year. Hopefully the roof is sufficient to keep ol' granddad chiming.
Among the flowers blooming at the Barden:

Elderberry -- we're hoping to serve an elder flower beverage at the Veblen Birthday Bash, 4-8pm on June 24 next to Veblen House.
Common milkweed. We also have purple milkweed at the Barden, which has a deeper color to the flower.
Fringed loosestrife, whose shy flowers point down.

Lots of sundrop blooms this year. The closely related evening primrose will bloom later in the season.
Up at Veblen House, in the stone circle horse run, is moth mullein, a non-native. Wooly mullein is another non native that blooms later.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Veblen Birthday Bash on Saturday, June 24, 4-8

Join us on the Veblen House grounds to celebrate summer and the birthdays of the Veblens, who donated Herrontown Woods as Princeton's first nature preserve. Dinner is potluck, so please bring a dish if you wish to partake. We'll provide drinks and appetizers, ping pong, badminton and other lawn games. We're also working on special beverages with locally harvested elder flower and spicebush, which may be available for the sampling.

Park in the driveway at 452 Herrontown Road, or walk up the orange trail from the main parking lot for Herrontown Woods, off Snowden.

Oswald Veblen was born on June 24, 1880, in Decorah, Iowa. Elizabeth was born a year or two later, on June 22 in Yorkshire, England. They found each other in Princeton, and together they had a transformative impact, on Princeton and the world beyond.