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Plant of the Month

'Golden Desert' Ash
Fraxinus excelsior 'Golden Desert'

Location: Grid T8 east side of the north end of the upper pond

Apparently there is some question about the correct name for this tree, and with just a quick check I can’t find agreement even on the species name. The good news is that all of the possibilities are European species, so at least it is in the right area of the Arboretum!

'Golden Desert' Ash 9-24-14
'Golden Desert' Ash 9-24-14

The two trees in the Arboretum were planted in 1996; so, at 18 years old they are approaching mature size. They are known as a small tree, with golden yellow leaves in the spring, that fade to a greenish yellow during the summer, then turn bright yellow in early fall. Then after the leaves drop the yellow color carries on in the bark of the young twigs.

'Golden Desert' Ash 9-24-14
'Golden Desert' Ash 9-24-14

Another ornamental feature of this tree that shows up after the leaves drop, are the jet black dormant buds, that really show up against the yellow bark on the younger branches. Like many other Ash species, ‘Golden Desert’ has formed a nicely rounded, globe shape with essentially no pruning or training.

Monthly Projects

September has been remarkably warm and dry, especially noticeable after the unusual cool rainy break we had in mid-August. So, we have been spending more time than usual on routine watering and mowing than we usually do in September. It did get cold enough on the night of Spetmber 10 to freeze the tender annuals down by the barn, but most of the geraniums came through fine and even the Coleus up at the top of the Arboretum weren't hurt.

New peony beds 9-24-14
New peony beds 9-24-14

A big project has been starting the construction for the new Peony Walk in the north east corner of the Arboretum. We are planning to plant about 75 Peonies this fall to get the project started. Although there are not the thousands of possibilities of Peonies that there are for Hosta, Daylilies and Iris, there are still lots to choose from. All of these new Peonies will be herbaceous—meaning that they will die back to the ground every fall and then start fresh each spring.

Harley Wright memorial planting 8-23-14
Harley Wright memorial planting 8-23-14

Upcoming Events


UI Retirees Fall Color Tour
Thursday, October 16 10:00 am
Meet at the Arboretum Barn on Palouse River Drive

This is a walking tour of the Arboretum, open to the public.

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