Springing to Life: A Photo Essay

Thu., Jun. 10, 2021

By Alyssa Zearley, Nursery Technician

Late Spring is always a beautiful time of year at the Holden Arboretum. The same is true for our nursery production area. The rains and warmth have ushered in blooms and new growth.

Rhododendrons blooming in our shade structure. The nursery is nestled in the middle of open fields, forest, and wetlands. It’s a beautiful place to work, especially this time of year.

Wildflower blooms host many bees and butterflies.

One of the wetlands on site. However, the plants aren’t the only things springing to life! The animals have returned around the nursery and made themselves at home. One of my favorite sights is the green heron flying between the ponds around the nursery. Turtles are also a common sight.

A painted turtle walks along the shade structure while making its way through the nursery.

A large American toad found near the pond. The animals are also finding spaces within the nursery. House finches, house sparrows, and starlings have all built nests in the nursery’s buildings and structures.

The house sparrows have set up shop in the chimneys of the polytunnel furnaces.

The tree container area. The tree container area has proven to be surprisingly good habitat for bird nests. Apparently the birds like this mini “forest!”
A nest of chipping sparrow eggs.
A nest of chipping sparrow hatchlings. They grow up so fast!

Can you spot the killdeer nest? It’s well camouflaged in the gravel floor in the tree container area.

Like the rest of the arboretum, the nursery exists within natural areas. The animal visitors are good reminders of why my role in the nursery is a worthwhile one. I am developing an integrated pest management program to help protect our plants from harmful pests. This program also incorporates lower-risk practices and eliminates the use of particularly harmful chemicals. By using these strategies to manage plant pests, we can minimize harm to the surrounding natural areas.

Alyssa Zearley

Alyssa Zearley

Nursery Technician

Alyssa Zearley is a nursery technician at Holden Forests & Gardens. She is developing an integrated pest management program for the arboretum’s nursery. Alyssa has a M.S. in Environment and Natural Resources and a B.S. in Plant Health Management from The Ohio State University.


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