2020 End of Year Appeal
2020 has proven to be a challenging year for everyone. Yet despite the many constraints we have worked relentlessly to help the gardens flourish. Due to social distancing and the limitations on large gatherings we pivoted from giving our in person talks, tours and horticultural classes, to Zoom lectures and weekend registration for privately scheduled garden visits from early May through October.
Having the gardens open by appointment only has allowed us more time to put in a greater diversity of trees and shrubs with a focus on endangered plants such as Chinese Ironwood (Parrotia sunaequalis) and Virginia Roundleaf Birch (Betula uber). One of the most important goals we accomplished this year was the removal of large boulders sticking out of the ground that presented obstacles to safely walking around the gardens. This year has also provided us the opportunity to expand the gravel paths in both the Field and the Property gardens in order to allow better accessibility to more areas of the gardens.
Because of the pandemic visitors have had to self-tour the gardens which has made us more aware of the need for additional educational signage. Fortunately, a Hortus board member wrote us a grant to get an additional 200 signs for the woody taxa collection which we will begin to install in 2021.
As some of you know we started the gardens twenty years ago as an inspiration source for our artwork. As part of our commitment to the arts we offered artist residencies at Hortus for the second year in a row. We were able to offer three visual artists and one writer a week long residency at the Barnette, the Hortus garden guest house.
Thank you to everyone who was able to visit Hortus this past season and used the gardens as a place for meeting up with friends, celebrating birthdays, buying plants, tasting food, mental health, or just to smell the flowers. Your donations to the gardens this past season helped us pay our small staff to keep the gardens maintained and keep them looking their best.
For 2021 our main goals are to build a small greeting center instead of the temporary tent that we have been using the past few years. This small pavilion will serve as the visitors main point of entry to the South gardens. The other goal is to install a well that will be the main source of water for all of the South garden.
Our long term goal for the gardens is to leave Hortus Arboretum and Botanical Gardens to Ulster County since it currently does not have an official arboretum-botanical garden. Our primary mission is to continue to build up the most diversity of plant life that can be grown in the Hudson Valley and we rely on your continuing support to help us grow.
These difficult times have revealed how essential Hortus is for so many visitors and the outpouring of community encouragement we have received has been inspiring. We are determined to remain resilient during this unprecedented time and we ask you to support our work as generously as you can.