Landis Arboretum

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
In a previous blog post I mentioned a photographer friend who has been a wealth of information about local areas of interest, especially to those of us who are "shutter happy".   One of the those places was Landis Arboretum in Esperance, NY.  I'd heard of Landis , but even though I am a plant enthusiast, I'd never checked it out.  That is......until last year and again this week.  If you love plants and trees and walking in'll love this post and Landis Arboretum!
See small picture below showing the spruce growing in the joint of this large tree on the right.
Landis Arboretum was the brainchild of Fred Lape, a graduate of Cornell University.  After spending some time teaching at Stanford University and RPI, Fred had the idea to grow every species of woody plant from temperate regions around the world that would survive in the hills of Schoharie County.  It seems Fred was fascinated with all aspects of trees, from their bark to their leaves, so to fulfill his fascination he began growing trees at his childhood home, the 19th century Oaknose Farm.  He continued planting trees and shrubs, keeping meticulous records of  his plantings. 

George Landis, an academic colleague, plant collector and friend of Fred’s, was one of the early enthusiasts who helped bring about the creation of the arboretum.  George Landis passed away in 1950, leaving most of his estate to Fred.  This bequest allowed Fred to focus his energy on planting an arboretum. The Arboretum was established in 1951 and named for the "friend who had made it all possible both in life and in death."  Eventually Fred turned over management of the arboretum to the Board of Trustees prior to his death in 1985.  (Information taken from the Landis Arboretum website)

According to Wikipedia:  The George Landis Arboretum consists of 548 acres, 40 acres of which are devoted to noteworthy collections and gardens overlooking the Schoharie Valley near Esperance, New York, USA. It contains approximately 2,000 labeled specimens, with plantings of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials from around the world. The other areas consist of natural areas, woodlands and open fields, with 13 km (8.1 mi) of trails.

View from Meeting House

One of the lower ponds - Willow Pond

Near each grouping is a mailbox containing printed information of the plantings nearby.

Barn Pond

Willow Pond taken from the area near the Barn Pond

Perennial Garden

More of the spectacular view from the Meeting  House

This photo of the trail map gives you an idea of the number of trails available for your walking pleasure.  I will say I am not in "hiking shape" but I did much better this time than my first.  You don't need to see the whole place to enjoy it and some of the trails involve fairly challenging hills.  One thing I love about Landis is that every trail has benches along it's route so once you tackle a portion, you are rewarded with a place to rest.   We took the Willow Pond Trail (in blue on the right), to the Woodland Trail which (with rest stops) took about an hour.  We rested at every bench -not only for the rest but to enjoy the peaceful quiet and various bird sounds.

During our visit on Monday, very few trees were even in bud and only the daffodils were in bloom.  I would suggest visiting in a couple of weeks, but before black fly season begins.  If you're a bird lover, Landis is the dwelling place for many species of birds less common in our backyards.   They have several bluebird houses and this visit we did get to see a couple of bluebirds.  Last year we were treated to quite a show of barn swallows - which were soaring overhead yesterday.  Also among our finds this year and last were an Eastern Towee, and a yellow-bellied sapsucker and a male and female red-winged blackbird.

Please note:  to view photos larger, click on any one and you'll be taken to a slide show.

Female Red-Winged Blackbird

Mr. Handsome Bluebird!

Now admittedly Landis is an arboretum and is certainly home to all sorts of trees and shrubs, but one doesn't need to be a tree lover to thoroughly enjoy a walk around this magnificent place.  Whether you're in the mood for a walk in the country, or some communication with nature, I think you'll find Landis Arboretum the perfect way to spend an hour or two.   Landis is open daily, dawn to dusk.  They have donations boxes near the parking lot and near the farm house and the suggested donation is $5 per person/$15 per family.  It is well worth it.  Check their website (link below) to learn more about their classes, music concerts and plant sales.


This little spruce is growing in the joint of a large maple seen in the first pic of this post.

If you enjoyed this blog post, please send the link to a friend, share on Facebook, or leave a comment and bookmark for future posts.  Thank you!


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  2. Great job capturing the experience! I've been there and it is definitely worth wandering some of the trails.

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