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The Slayton Arboretum will host summer activ­ities for children and fam­ilies of the com­munity. Laurie Rosenberg | Courtesy

This summer, the Slayton Arboretum will provide a variety of summer pro­grams for children and fam­ilies in the com­munity.

Hor­ti­cul­turist and Program Coor­di­nator at Slayton Arboretum Laurie Rosenberg said the arboretum has pro­vided pro­grams open to the com­munity during all seasons.

“We have a variety of summer events, and they’re all open to the com­munity,” Rosenberg said. “We’ve been doing them for decades.”

When Rosenberg began working at Hillsdale in 2013, she started the day camp in the summer for kids, and each day has activ­ities based on a dif­ferent theme.

Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Chem­istry Christopher Hamilton said all three of his children have attended the summer camp in pre­vious years.

“My daughter Keira has really loved the camps. She’s done them every year that she can,” Hamilton said. “She really appre­ciates the time that Laurie spends on those.”

Hamilton said the pro­grams are great for children, and he encourages people in the com­munity to take their children to the day camps.

“It’s a great oppor­tunity for kids to get out of the house and do some­thing dif­ferent,” Hamilton said. “It’s edu­ca­tional but also fun.”

For the first time, Rosenberg said the arboretum will put on a “Campfire Series” beginning in June on Father’s Day.

“It’s going to be a dad’s joke-a-thon and bar­beque,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg said the series will extend with events in July, Sep­tember, and October. July will feature a cabaret-themed evening with per­formers from a local theatre, Sep­tember will be cof­fee­house-themed and open to college stu­dents, and October is going to share scary folk­tales.

In addition to the day camps and camp­fires, the arboretum will con­tinue its “Stories in the Garden Program” into the summer months. The program takes place on the first Tuesday of every month except for January, Feb­ruary, and March due to weather. Rosenberg said this program is for preschool-age kids and their parents.

“It’s a program that empha­sizes reading because we have a children’s library,” Rosenberg said. “Each month has a dif­ferent theme based on the book that we read. We’ll sing songs, read poems, or do a craft activity. There’s usually a snack and activ­ities out on the trails in the arboretum.”

On May 11, the arboretum will have a plant sale, and all of the pro­ceeds will go toward the summer children’s pro­grams to reduce costs for par­tic­i­pants.

Hor­ti­cul­turist Angie Girdham began growing the plants for the sale in Hillsdale’s green­house during the middle of December.

“Every single crop has very spe­cific require­ments to grow, so that they will all be in bloom for the sale,” Girdham said.

Each year, Girdham said she grows around 80 vari­eties of plants.

“My biggest chal­lenge is keeping track of all the dif­ferent plants and all of their needs and being able to make sure that I’m giving each plant the attention it needs,” Girdham said.  

Girdham said she enjoys her job and looks forward to the Mother’s Day sale.

“It’s nice to interact with the com­munity,” Girdham said.

Rosenberg said the arboretum will also put on its first-ever Mother’s Day tea party on May 12. The afternoon tea costs $10 per person and will take place from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

“It will include tea at the stone lab, which is at the entrance of the arboretum,” Rosenberg said. “And there will be refresh­ments and a wild­flower walk.”

During the wild­flower walk on Mother’s Day, Rosenberg said she expects to see Vir­ginia blue­bells, mayflowers, spring beauty, bloodroot, and trout lily flowers all in bloom.

Rosenberg also said the arboretum is full of crabapple shrubs and viburnum, along with the flow­ering trees of dogwood and redbud.

Later in the summer, Rosenberg said the arboretum will have a peony display.

“We have a lot of peonies,” Rosenberg said. “But they usually don’t start blooming until June.”