The Nannen Arboretum Offers Both Beauty And Knowledge
"An Arboretum is really a collection of trees, shrubs, plant material ,herbs, perennials and demonstration gardens, and it's an educational toll to help people learn what will grow in their own locality."
It is both classroom and sanctuary. Tucked into the Cattaraugus County hills, just outside Ellicottville, the Nannen Arboretum was established in 1960. That was the year William and Sadie Nannen donated eight acres of land to the Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the seeds for the Arboretum were sown. The vision of the Arboretum arrived a little later, with John Ploetz, who was hired as a Horticulture Aide in 1974. Ploetz saw the great potential in the then overgrown acreage, and drew up a plan for the verdant haven that exists today. The Arboretum is a great tool in the belt of gardeners of any level.
Nan Miller, Master Gardener and arboretum volunteer recommends, "If you're planning on doing landscaping in your yard, it's really smart to come see what that plant is going to look like at maturity, because people forget that things are going to grow."
Pat Kerl, also a Master Gardener/Volunteer, agrees, "You wouldn't have to be a gardener, per se, just anyone who has a home, who wants to put in some plantings, would benefit from coming here and seeing how they grow."
The Nannen Arboretum has several different gardens within, from beautiful flower and herb gardens, to groves of towering trees, to a peaceful Japanese Stone Garden...
Kerl tells 2 The Outdoors, "John was very influenced by Japanese landscape, so there's the pond,as well as a Japanese Bridge, a Japanese Stone Garden, it's a very meditative area, so...it's a very unique place."
Adds Miller "John just took great inspiration from a lot of different places, and brought those inspirations here and sort of gave it his own little twist."
For all it's beauty,and the wealth of green knowledge growing within, the Arboretum remains one of Western New York's best kept secrets.
"I don't think anyone realizes it's here up in Buffalo." Says Kerl, "They may come down to go skiing, or go up to the park and hike, but they don't realize this beauty is here, and free...open 365 days a year...dawn to dusk."
"All you have to do is walk", Miller says "and you're gathering a tremendous amount of information, and not only is it beautiful to look at, but you're learning a lot, so I think that's just a big plus of Arboretums."
The Nannen Arboretum is open to the public year round, and is also offering a free lecture series in July and August! You can find more information at their website: www.nannenarboretum.org