|All photos Skinner Arboretum, (near) Inglis, MB. August 22, 2013.|
After the neglected "arboretum" in Birtle, where a third of the trees were dead, a third wrapped in chicken wire, and a third missing their identifying markers, I wasn't expecting much from the Skinner Arboretum.
Or, rather, I was expecting to have my idea of an arboretum - "a place where trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes" (the Aboretum at Penn State) - completely redeemed.
We visited Skinner Arboretum on the last day of our trip to SW Manitoba. And even though hunger/impatience/desire to be home again didn't allow for as full of a ramble as I would have liked, it was still the best walk under the trees we had all week.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Who was Skinner and why did he build a tree museum, you ask?
"Dr. Frank Leith Skinner was one of Canada's most innovative horticulturists and plant propagators. He resided in Dropmore, Manitoba, where his farm served as the natural laboratory for breeding new strains of plants capable of surviving the hash prairie climate. Although he was isolated from other breeders, Dr. Skinner's rugged independence, persistent efforts and patience made him a leading authority on plant hardiness." - Manitoba Dept of Cultural Affairs and Historical Resources publication on Dr Skinner, 1981
There hasn't been active research/cultivation on the Skinner property for many years now. And it seems like the recent work of volunteers to create a garden of native perennials and Canadian roses has become, well, overgrown.
So the woods there are half planted-on-purpose and half growing-wild. But no matter what their origin, in a line or in a clump, the trees and shrubs etcetera were happy. And so the forest there felt eminently natural...especially as compared to the trails at Asesseppi, which were mowed swaths, often with chopped-down trees to either side.
All of which is to say that these yellowy mushrooms were everywhere at the Skinner Arboretum and that I spent a lot of time taking pictures of them. While the girl attempted to catch frogs.