September 2012 Cuttings

September 2012 Cuttings

"Cuttings" is your source for garden updates and horticultural tips from the Reeves-Reed Arboretum's horticulture staff.  Check back monthly to find out what's blooming at the Arboretum, get the inside scoop on upcoming events, and learn some timely tips you can put to use in your own garden.


In the Gardens: Hoop House Dreams

Our wildest dreams are coming true – thanks to a generous grant from the Summit Garden Club, Reeves-Reed Arboretum is getting a hoop house!  What, you may ask, is a hoop house, and why are we so excited about it?  A hoop house is an unheated greenhouse structure designed to create warm conditions by passively gathering heat from the sun.  It's the perfect environment for overwintering potted trees, shrubs, and perennials that need to go dormant during the winter but would be damaged if left outside fully exposed to the cold.  Instead of glass panels, a hoop house is covered with flexible plastic sheeting, which can be rolled up to provide air circulation in the warmer months.  Professional plant nurseries use hoop houses to overwinter plant stock, as well as to "grow on" plants so they reach sizes suitable for sale.  Vegetable farmers also use hoop houses to extend the growing season with early spring and late fall plantings of tender crops.

Building the hoop house has been a fun project for us – it's exciting to see progress after each day of work, and we're even beginning to understand the directions that came with the kit we purchased!  We hope to be finished with construction by the second week in September, and we hope you'll swing by the Arboretum to take a peek!

Facilities Manager Peter Richardson and Manager of Horticulture Shari Edelson laying out the baseboards for the new hoop house (photo: Julieanne Frascinella)

Shari, Peter, and Lead Horticulturist Julieanne Frascinella taking a break from construction (photo: Jackie Kondel)

September Garden Tips: Time to Order Flower Bulbs!

If you think it's too early to start planning for next spring's bulb display in your garden, think again!  September is the ideal time to place your order through your favorite bulb supplier or gardening catalog.  Why order bulbs now?  Well, spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips must be planted in the fall in order to bloom reliably the following spring.  In addition, many suppliers sell out of popular bulb varieties early in the autumn, so placing your order in September ensures that you'll get the best pick of what's available.  Most suppliers will hold onto your bulbs until fall planting season arrives (early October here in northern New Jersey), so you can drop them in the ground as soon as you receive them.

Narcissus 'February Gold,' one of the heirloom daffodil varieties we've ordered this fall Introduced in 1923, 'February Gold' was one of the bulb varieties originally planted by Mrs. Susan Reeves in the Arboretum's Daffodil Bowl.


Volunteer in our Gardens!

Join our “growing” volunteer posse! (Photo: Reeves-Reed Arboretum archives)

Are you looking to lend a hand at Reeves-Reed Arboretum this fall? We're hosting volunteer work sessions throughout the autumn months!  Join us on the following upcoming dates for a morning or afternoon of outdoor garden work:

Saturday Volunteer Sessions

  • Saturday, September 8 – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm – Late-Summer Spruce-Up
  • Saturday, September 15 – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm – Woodland Trail Session
  • Saturday, October 13 – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm – Fall Garden Clean-Up


New! Tuesday Afternoon Volunteer Group Forming!

  • Tuesdays beginning September 11 – 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Beginning Tuesday, September 11 and continuing on Tuesday afternoons throughout the fall, we'll be seeking volunteers to help us keep the Arboretum beautiful. If you've been wanting to volunteer at Reeves-Reed but have a hectic weekend schedule, we're hoping you'll be able to join us for this new weekday opportunity! This fall, the new Tuesday Afternoon group will be helping us plant daffodil bulbs, propagate plants in our greenhouse, and more! We hope to see you there.

To sign up, or to learn about other volunteer opportunities at the Arboretum, please contact Lisa Martin at