Archive for the ‘Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum’ Category

Attention friends! Find out about your new cards here!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

In early summer, all of our members will be issued with new cards to enable entry through the Welcome Building. When you receive your new bar-coded cards, your old style cards will no longer be valid. Each member will have a new card with their name on which is not transferable. If you have not already told us your first name(s), please send it and your membership number to membership@fowa.org.uk so that we can process your new cards.

Welcome Building artist impression

Each member parent or member grandparent will be able to bring in their own children or grandchildren (aged 18 and under) and up to three dogs.

The Welcome Building will be open at 9am each morning, when the arboretum opens. Throughout the year, the Welcome Building will close at 5pm.

In the summer months Friends will be able to enter the arboretum after 5pm using their automated cards, although the rest of the building will be shut.

Important for you to know

To enable smooth operations at the Welcome Building for our current members and new joiners, Forestry Commission staff at Westonbirt will have access to some information that you have already given the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum charity so that we can administer your membership. Membership personal data remains the property of the Friends, is stored by the Friends and will not be transferred to or held by the Forestry Commission. If you have any queries in this respect, please email charity@fowa.org.uk.

Jacqueline Dalton,
Charity Manager

Recycling really helps!

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

John Kendall

By John Kendall, Volunteer at Westonbirt.

Did you know that by recycling your printer cartridges and mobile phones you can not only help the environment but also protect Westonbirt Arboretum?

I don’t use many printer inks and I am unlikely to change my mobile phone for a while but I was staggered to discover that taking part in the Recycling Scheme has already raised over £1600 for the Arboretum since January 2013!  It is very rewarding to know that by recycling my old printer cartridges I am helping to support the Westonbirt treescape at the same time.

It’s so easy! I go to the arboretum quite regularly so I just drop my used cartridges into one of the collection boxes in the Great Oak Hall, the Shop or Plant Centre. You can also pick up a freepost envelope at the Information Desk or order online and post up to three cartridges for free!  It is amazing how simple the process is.

I have been visiting the Arboretum for over twenty years and I always come away from there feeling enriched and so much better for my visit. It is wonderful to be able to contribute to the care of this unique and diverse tree garden by recycling. 

John is a supporter of our recycling scheme.  Click here to join him…

Dear Father Christmas

Friday, December 13th, 2013

I have been a really good girl all year and so I wondered if you would be able to add one more present to your list? I would really love a new mobile phone, perhaps a smart phone ( as the screen on mine is cracked) please.

And in return I will recycle my old phone through Recycle4Charity.co.uk  and raise some money for the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum. Did you know they have raised over £1400 since last Christmas through recycling?

Actually Father Christmas, please could you pass on to all your contacts that a recycled mobile phone could raise as much as £70 for Westonbirt and its free and really easy! Just register on www.recycle4charity.co.uk/Register/C38708. They collect printer inkjet cartridges too!

Thank you and Happy Christmas!

Louisa

Louisa, Fundraising team.

Raising our sights!

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Volunteers helping with the Westonbirt Project had a unique opportunity recently to have a look at the view from the Treetop Walkway, before we even have a Treetop Walkway!A big thank you to the tree team for letting us borrow the cherry picker.

 Volunteers looking at the view from the walkway

It was fantastic to get up into the trees and see first hand what an amazing experience the Walkway will provide.  To find out more about our plans for a Treetop Walkway, the route it will take and how you can get involved, please come along to one of our information events

A friendly thanks!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

By Bev Starkings, membership co-ordinator for Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

fowa tent

The Friends had their first marquee dedicated to Membership at Treefest last month and it was a fantastic success. So we would like to thank all who made it happen and helped out.

We took a phenomenal 146 memberships during the weekend! It was wonderful to meet and talk to our members and explain how much their subscription makes a difference to Westonbirt Arboretum.

We were delighted with the positive comments about how much they were enjoying this year’s Treefest and how enthusiastic they are about the Westonbirt Project. A very positive and enjoyable experience!

For more information about the benefits of membership take a look at our webpage

5 Random Facts I learnt on our USA Trip, by Louise Bird, Head of Fundraising

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum’s Head of Fundraising, Louise Bird, and the Forestry Commission’s communications team at Westonbirt, Katrina Podlewska and Gina Mills, recently visited the USA, meeting their counterparts at arboretums and botanic gardens to find out who their visitors are, how they fundraise, and to learn from some of the best. The trip was funded by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum.

Louise Bird and Katrina Podlewska at Arnold Arboretum, Boston

Even though the purpose of our trip was to learn about how they do fundraising, marketing and communications across the Atlantic, it was inevitable that we were going to glean a lot of information about trees.

I can now identify at least 5 different species of tree (an oak was about the best of my ability before I left home), know the state trees of the 5 states we visited (starting with the Ulmus americana of Massachussets and ending with the Quercus alba of Illinois) and have learnt 5 new things about how trees are used (ranging from curing scurvy to making baseball bats).

Then there are the ‘random’ facts, tidbits of information that I picked up along the way…

1. On our journey from New York to Cleveland we saw approximately 2,787,840,000 trees (we did the maths!)
2. New York City’s 592,130 trees are estimated to give $122million worth of annual benefits to the city residents
3. Americans invested in trees as a way of getting their money out of the UK after the war (the Holden Arboretum’s founder brought back English Oaks)
4. Penn’s Wood is the translation of the Latin word Pennsylvania
5. The buckeye got its name from the native Americans who thought that the nut resembled the eye of a buck deer.

It’s who you know! by Louise Bird, Head of Fundraising

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum’s Head of Fundraising, Louise Bird, and the Forestry Commission’s communications team at Westonbirt, Katrina Podlewska and Gina Mills, are currently in the USA, visiting their counterparts at arboretums and botanic gardens to find out who their visitors are, how they fundraise, and to learn from some of the best. The trip has been funded by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum.

Polly Hill Arboretum

It was lovely to meet Tim and Karin from the Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha’s Vineyard. They were really generous with their time, talking to us about the work they do to both raise money for the arboretum and to raise the arboretum’s local and international profile. It was really interesting to hear just how intrinsically linked the 2 things are linked.

For a small arboretum they have been doing a fantastic job of fundraising. The secret of their growing success… people who already know and love and support Polly Hill arboretum championing it to their friends and peers who they think would love and support the arboretum if they got to know it too. It’s text book major donor fundraising and it works. (Well done to them for just raising $17 million to create an endowment for the arboretum!)

Links
Polly Hill Arboretum website: www.pollyhillarboretum.org

Places with personality, by Gina Mills, Marketing Officer

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum’s Head of Fundraising, Louise Bird, and the Forestry Commission’s communications team at Westonbirt, Katrina Podlewska and Gina Mills, are currently in the USA, visiting their counterparts at arboretums and botanic gardens to find out who their visitors are, how they fundraise, and to learn from some of the best. The trip has been funded by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum.

The house where Polly Hill lived - now a library
The really striking thing about yesterday’s visit to the Polly Hill Arboretum was the parallels to be found with Westonbirt, despite the fact that the arboretums themselves are over 100 years apart in age.

An avenue of trees with a distinctive Martha's Vineyard dry stone wall behind it

The Polly Hill Arboretum was started by the late Polly Hill in 1958, when she inherited the farm that had been in her family for generations – like Westonbirt’s creator Robert Holford, the blank canvas for the arboretum she created was family land. Unlike him, she started her arboretum by planting seeds from scratch herself and waiting for them to germinate.

Rhododendron at Polly Hill Arboretum
Caring for the Polly Hill Arboretum also has parallels with Westonbirt. Like us, they try and honor the vision of their original creator. For example, they will never plant trees on the expanse of meadowland that lies at the back of the house she lived in, because her mother wanted to keep it this way and so did she.

Shingled barn at Polly Hill Arboretum
This former family farm is scattered with shingled outbuildings and houses dating to the 1700s. Polly Hill Arboretum is one of the few properties of this age open to the public on Martha’s Vineyard, and is another key reason to visit for many.

View into the conifer collection at Polly Hill Arboretum
Her distinctive approach is the reason that her arboretum is so unique. In a similar way Robert Holford’s adherence to the Picturesque principles of landscape design make Westonbirt such a unique experience, although Polly Hill’s approach does take a little more of the botanical order of things into account than Holford’s aesthetic approach.

The visitor centre at Polly Hill Arboretum
Another important personality at Polly Hill Arboretum is the late Dr David H. Smith. He was absolutely instrumental in making Polly Hill Arboretum into the public garden it is today. His interest in the work that Polly was doing blossomed into a great friendship. His generosity ensured that her vision of sharing her passion for plants and learning was realised.

Links
Polly Hill Arboretum website: www.pollyhillarboretum.org

Gifts that keep on giving! by Louise Bird, Head of Fundraising

Friday, May 24th, 2013

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum’s Head of Fundraising, Louise Bird, and the Forestry Commission’s communications team at Westonbirt, Katrina Podlewska and Gina Mills, are currently in the USA, visiting their counterparts at arboretums and botanic gardens to find out who their visitors visitors are, how they fundraise, and to learn from some of the best. The trip has been funded by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum.

When it comes to raising money it is generally accepted that the Americans know what they are doing, which is why our trip to the States is going to be such a great learning experience. Yesterday’s visit to the Arnold Arboretum certainly set me thinking.

Around 90% of the arboretum’s costs are covered by its endowment… the gift that keeps on giving. The Holfords gave us Westonbirt Arboretum – what are we going to give the next generation?  Is it time to set up our own endowment, not only to give us better financial security but also to make sure our trees are loved and protected for ever more?

The Arnold Arboretum is free to enter.  Its members are members simply because they love the place and want to support it. Their membership is a gift to the arboretum and a gift to everybody in Boston who considers the arboretum to be “their backyard”.

Corylopsis (Hazel) bonsai tree

This Corylopsis (Hazel) bonsai tree is one of the trees in the Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection, donated to the Arnold Arboretum and enjoyed by thousands of visitors.

A trip to The Arnold Arboretum, Boston USA, by Gina Mills and Katrina Podlewska

Friday, May 24th, 2013

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum’s Head of Fundraising, Louise Bird, and the Forestry Commission’s communications team at Westonbirt, Katrina Podlewska and Gina Mills, are currently in the USA, visiting their counterparts at arboretums and botanic gardens to find out who their visitors visitors are, how they fundraise, and to learn from some of the best. The trip has been funded by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum.

The Arnold Arboretum of the University of Havard is a 281 acre arboretum established in 1872. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – one half of the team that designed Central Park in New York City – and welcomes 250,000 visitors a year.

Arnold Arboretum - wayfinding map

The Arnold Arboretum has many historical similarities to Westonbirt; both share tales of Victorian seed collecting, Victorian landscape design and a desire to share trees with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year through learning and science.

However, whilst Westonbirt focuses on the Picturesque planting principles, the Arnold uses the Bentham and Hooker style; providing an evolutionary journey for the visitor.

Arnold Arboretum - Magnolia 'Silver Parasol' M.hypoleuca x M.tripetala. Magnoliacae - magnolia family

The result is an arboretum focused on collections and families. Taking visitors on a tour through plant history – the prehistoric magnolias feature early on, passing through tulip trees, cedars, redwoods and maples, before coming to the spring favourites, the lilacs.

Lilac (Syringa)

Lilacs seem to be to Arnold as Japanese Maples are to Westonbirt – one of the most beloved of all of their plant collections. Every year in mid-May, the collection is celebrated on ‘Lilac Sunday’, a celebration of the 200+ kinds of lilacs which has taken place since 1908.

Calycanthus ‘Michael Lindsey’

We really enjoyed seeing Calycanthus ‘Michael Lindsey’, a cultivar of Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus), memorable because of the scent that is released from the petals when crushed which seemed particularly heady in the current humidity of Boston. Look out for Westonbirt’s very own bubblegum-sweet Calycanthus occidentalis on Loop Walk.