Monday, August 31, 2015

Bailey Arboretum : A Walk in the Woods

    The one-time summer estate of Brooklyn financier Frank Bailey (whose fountain you may be familiar with), Bailey Arboretum sounds too good to be true: 40-odd acres of green peace on the North Shore, open free to the public, with free parking, 7 days a week the year around. And you are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and your dog (on a leash.)
    This is where we went to see Dawn Redwoods on Long Island. ("Surprise! We're not extinct.") And let me tell you, they are something to see:

I found it more or less impossible to frame a shot encompassing a whole specimen. Maybe next time. The ones growing on the estate here were planted from seeds collected in 1947.
Only seven acres are landscaped; the rest consists of rambling woodland paths, none of which are very interesting in late August. Still, they're shady and peaceful:
There is a dedicated children's garden area, and a small number of aviaries housing injured or otherwise-compromised rescued birds. They have a couple of crows (American and Fish), several red-tailed hawks, and a few owls (Great Horned and Barred).

This owl is blind in one eye.

    In my opinion, late August is a cruel month in the great outdoors. The birds are quiet, the insects are loud, and the pond scum is at its peak. So I'll be interested to see what this place is like in other seasons. The redwoods are deciduous!

    It surprised me to read that Bailey declares itself "the only accredited arboretum on Long Island and in the New York Metropolitan area." Say what now?  Planting Fields State Historic Park is a pretender? Bayard Cutting is a wannabe? Apparently they haven't applied for accreditation, which is a designation bestowed by these folk. Even more interesting, there are levels of accreditation, such that a golf course or a cemetery may be granted the status of an arboretum, albeit at a low level. (Maybe there's a tax benefit involved in doing so?) The page listing the levels of accreditation has links to lists of arboreta that meet each level. (Bailey is a Level 2.)
    So I'll be studying that list later, looking for more places to go. In the meantime, why don't you take a walk in the Long Island woods?


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