Preparing Your Garden for Winter

October is at an end and the harvest is almost complete, so it’s time to prepare your garden for winter. The steps you take this fall will ensure a beautiful and vibrant spring! Here are a couple of tips to do now:

  • If you plan to put in a new flower bed next spring, cover that area now with mulch or cardboard to discourage emergent weed growth when the ground warms up in the spring. Be sure to lay the mulch down on soil that is already weeded and lay down a 2-3 inch layer of mulch.

  • Make sure to do one last heavy-duty watering for all the shrubs and trees before the ground freezes. Water acts as an insulator and plant cells that are filled with water will be stronger against the cold.

  • Protect small trees or shrubs from extreme cold by surrounding them with a cylinder of snow fencing and packing straw or shredded leaves inside the cylinder.

  • Empty all of your outdoor containers to keep them from cracking in the cold temperatures, even better if you can store them upside down.

  • Mow your lawn as late into the fall as the grass grows. Grass left too long when deep snow arrives can develop brown patches in the spring.

It’s a lot of work now, but it’ll save you a lot of time, energy, and maybe even some of your plants once spring arrives.

Sensory Garden: A Garden That is Accessible for All

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There are many types of gardens out there. Perennial gardens, vegetable gardens, pollinator gardens, the possibilities are endless! But one type of garden is starting to attract more attention: a Sensory Garden.

A Sensory Garden is unique from traditional gardens, as it is designed specifically to stimulate the Five Senses: Seeing, Hearing, Smelling, Touching and Tasting. It provides visitors with an interactive journey through the senses by having plants and materials of different textures, colors, scents, sounds and heights. For example, there can be one section or station in the Garden designed to stimulate Hearing. To accomplish this, there can be a water feature or plants that generate sound when the wind blows or make noises when you rub the foliage together.

Additionally, Sensory Gardens are often set up to accommodate wheelchair access and other accessibility needs.

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The primary goal of a Sensory Garden is to make nature accessible (and fun!) for everyone, regardless of their abilities. Interacting with nature can improve your mood, cognitive function, and your overall physical health. But not everyone can encounter nature in the same way and Sensory Gardens help to address that.

Studies have shown that Sensory Gardens in particular have therapeutic benefits, especially for children with special needs. Children who have sensory processing disorders, for example, can use a Sensory Garden as a calming and gentle way to explore their senses without feeling overwhelmed by them. Adults suffering from the effects of dementia can also benefit from a Sensory Garden, because it helps elicit positive emotions in a safe environment.

That’s why the Bartlett Arboretum is thrilled to be developing a new Sensory Garden on its property! The plans include a variety of plants and features, including van and wheelchair accessibility parking.

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To raise funds for this special project, the Bartlett will host its “Fall for the Bartlett” Gala on Thursday, October 17 at the Rockrimmon Country Club in Stamford, CT from 6:30 - 9:30 PM. The Bartlett thanks all its sponsors and partners for supporting its efforts to make nature accessible for all.

Tickets for the Gala are still available. Please visit the Bartlett website for details:

5 Things You Need To Know About Honey by Marina Marchese

5 Things You Need To Know About Honey by Marina Marchese

C. Marina Marchese is the designer and beekeeper behind the beloved brand Red Bee Honey, and the author of Honeybee: Lessons from An Accidental Beekeeper and co-author of The Honey Connoisseur: Selecting, Tasting, and Pairing Honey. She is a member of The Italian National Registry of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey and founder of The American Honey Tasting Society. You can meet Marina at our Honey Harvest Festival on September 14th, where she will participate in our Q&A panel.

The Bartlett LOVES Summer Camp!

We are already four weeks into our 2019 Summer Camp and it has been an incredible time for all. Our campers are thriving as they learn all about the natural world. They are tracking animals, exploring the outdoors, creating and building crafts, playing games, and making new friends. Click on our video to learn more about the Bartlett’s summer immersion experience:

And don’t forget, there’s still time to register your kids for the final weeks of our camp! It is open 9AM - 3PM, Monday through Friday, for children entering kindergarten up to 5th grade. Each week offers a different theme for kids to learn and experience only at the Bartlett. And our members receive a special discount offer!

Eagle Scout Projects at the Bartlett

The Bartlett Arboretum is home to a wide variety of plants, trees, and species. It is also home to a few Eagle Scout projects! An Eagle Scout Service Project is the opportunity for a Boy Scout to demonstrate leadership of others, while performing a project for the benefit of his community. Completing an Eagle Project is required in order for Boy Scouts to attain the coveted Eagle Scout rank.

Aidan Orr of Troop 11 in Stamford, CT recently completed his Eagle project by building four trail kiosks throughout the property, noting where the visitor is and directions to various trails. The most prominent kiosk is next to Red Oak Trail in the visitors parking lot.


J.B. Coleman of Stamford, CT completed his Eagle Project doing remediation of Winged Euonymous at the Bartlett Arboretum. He also created an informative video below about the invasive species.

The project took over a year to complete! In speaking of his experience, J.B. shared, “I learned so much working on the project.”

Finally, Grady Orr of Troop 9 in Stamford, CT put together a crew of volunteers to build a boardwalk along the hiking trails.

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After successfully completing these projects, J.B. Coleman and Grady Orr recently received their Eagle Scout awards! We are so proud of these young men and are delighted that their projects will be enjoyed by all who come to the Bartlett for many years to come.

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Come See New Plants in the Vegetable Garden

The Bartlett Arboretum has all new kinds veggies in the vegetable garden! Be on the lookout for asparagus, kale, onion, and carrots, among many others. We are especially proud of all our pepper varieties, like sweet Valencia bell pepper, super chilly pepper, sweet banana peppers, Carmen pepper, Tabasco pepper and revolution sweet pepper.

And don’t forget about the fruits too - June is picking season for strawberries!

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This Wednesday, we will also be having our first Vegetable Garden tour of the season! It’s the perfect opportunity to learn planting techniques, soil prep, and planting timing from our experienced volunteers. There will be a second tour in the fall to discuss harvesting, plant growth, and pest problems. Reserve your spot today and get your own vegetable garden in top shape for the year!

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Frogs Frolicking in the Forest!

It’s frog breeding season at the Bartlett! Now is the perfect opportunity to see plenty of frogs peaking their heads out of the water or hopping along the marshy trails. There are even more tadpoles swimming in the ponds, ranging from all sizes and ages. From freshly hatched to almost full-sized frogs!


Frogs and tadpoles can be found in Forsyth Pond along the Pond Trail, or off of the boardwalks on Wetland Walk. You can usually find them along the edges of the water. Just be careful not to walk too loudly or they’ll be scared off - and scare you too!


Oliver Sacks: The Healing Powers of Gardens

This is an excerpt from “Everything in Its Place,” a posthumous collection of writings by Dr. Sacks. It appeared in the New York Times April 18th. We wanted to share this article as we too believe in the healing powers of gardens!

As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible. All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging. In 40 years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.

The wonder of gardens was introduced to me very early, before the war, when my mother or Auntie Len would take me to the great botanical garden at Kew. We had common ferns in our garden, but not the gold and silver ferns, the water ferns, the filmy ferns, the tree ferns I first saw at Kew. It was at Kew that I saw the gigantic leaf of the great Amazon water lily, Victoria regia, and like many children of my era, I was sat upon one of these giant lily pads as a baby.

As a student at Oxford, I discovered with delight a very different garden — the Oxford Botanic Garden, one of the first walled gardens established in Europe. It pleased me to think that Boyle, Hooke, Willis and other Oxford figures might have walked and meditated there in the 17th century.

I try to visit botanical gardens wherever I travel, seeing them as reflections of their times and cultures, no less than living museums or libraries of plants. I felt this strongly in the beautiful 17th-century Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam, coeval with its neighbor, the great Portuguese Synagogue, and liked to imagine how Spinoza might have enjoyed the former after he had been excommunicated by the latter — was his vision of “Deus sive Natura” in part inspired by the Hortus?

The botanical garden in Padua is even older, going right back to the 1540s, and medieval in its design. Here Europeans got their first look at plants from the Americas and the Orient, plant forms stranger than anything they had ever seen or dreamed of. It was here, too, that Goethe, looking at a palm, conceived his theory of the metamorphoses of plants.

When I travel with fellow swimmers and divers to the Cayman Islands, to Curacao, to Cuba, wherever — I seek out botanical gardens, counterpoints to the exquisite underwater gardens I see when I snorkel or scuba above them.

I have lived in New York City for 50 years, and living here is sometimes made bearable for me only by its gardens. This has been true for my patients, too. When I worked at Beth Abraham, a hospital just across the road from the New York Botanical Garden, I found that there was nothing long-shut-in patients loved more than a visit to the garden — they spoke of the hospital and the garden as two different worlds.

I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.

My friend Lowell has moderately severe Tourette’s syndrome. In his usual busy, city environment, he has hundreds of tics and verbal ejaculations each day — grunting, jumping, touching things compulsively. I was therefore amazed one day when we were hiking in a desert to realize that his tics had completely disappeared. The remoteness and uncrowdedness of the scene, combined with some ineffable calming effect of nature, served to defuse his ticcing, to “normalize” his neurological state, at least for a time.

An elderly lady with Parkinson’s disease, whom I met in Guam, often found herself frozen, unable to initiate movement — a common problem for those with parkinsonism. But once we led her out into the garden, where plants and a rock garden provided a varied landscape, she was galvanized by this, and could rapidly, unaided, climb up the rocks and down again.

Article from the New York Times. Click here for original article.

Cooking with Culinary Herbs this Thanksgiving

Cooking with Culinary Herbs this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving season is almost upon us, and that comes along with the best part of the holiday—the food! Thanksgiving dinner is known to be the most anticipated meal of the year, partially due to all of the rich seasonings and flavors that come along with it. Several of these mouthwatering flavors are attributed to culinary herbs, many of which can be found at the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens' very own herb collection.

Bartlett Through the Eyes of a Second Grader this Fall

Bartlett Through the Eyes of a Second Grader this Fall

Thousands of Stamford’s bright second graders visit the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens twice per year, eager and ready to learn about the plants around them. While some have already begun learning about plants in the classroom and others have no prior background knowledge, the Bartlett Arboretum offers several fun and interactive activities to enrich their understanding of the environment.