Past Events


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands president Karen Linder led a fact-filled and fascinating nature walk in the Mapleton Preserve, in a search for signs of what our local wildlife is having for Thanksgiving dinner. A wonderful time was had by all!


Photos by Robert von Zumbusch and Tari Pantaleo




Saturday, September 24, 2016

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands trustees and volunteers gathered for an afternoon of stewardship in the Mapleton Preserve, former home site of Princeton Nurseries. They cleared brush, vines, and bamboo from ornamental trees, tidied up the butterfly garden,  cleaned the Clivus Multrum, and collected litter.  Our heartfelt thanks go to our hard-working crew!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dr. James Lendemer, a lichenologist from the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, gave a slide talk on the fascinating and little known world of lichens.  James-LendemerbyAndrei-MoroMost people have seen lichens, but few people know much about these small plantlike beings that have no roots, stems or leaves– despite the fact that over 5,000 species of lichen and related fungi have been documented in North America.  Lichens are a fusion of two unrelated organisms, usually a fungus with a green algae or cyanobacteria, or sometimes both.  Some lichens are believed to be among the oldest living organisms on the planet.

Photo of James Lendemer by Andrei Moroz

Most lichens grow slowly, often only in a narrow range of habitat conditions. This makes them especially susceptible to habitat disruption. Because many species are sensitive to air pollution,  lichens are used throughout the world to assess and monitor air quality. They are an important part of the food chain, are used as nesting materials, dyes, and medicines, and serve as an important food source for reindeer and caribou.

For those who would like to further pursue the subject, below are links to lichen sites, graciously provided by one of our members.

Chrysler Herbarium and Mycological Collection of Rutgers

USDA: Lichens–Did You Know?

Uses of Lichens

Lichens of North America


Saturday, April 30, 2016

FPNL-Arbor-Day-003We honored the memory of our friend Dave Reed of Mapleton Nurseries with the planting of a pink dogwood. Dave was a wonderful friend to FPNL: an advisor on tree-related issues, a supplier and planter of trees for the Flemer Arboretum, and a host for some of our events. He was ever generous with his time and experience. His wife and three sons were in attendance.

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Bob Wells of Wells Tree & Landscape prefaced his guided walk with a fascinating excursion into the geology of New Jersey and how the ancient past determined the topography and soil composition of the land on which we stood.








The walk began in the heart of the Mapleton Preserve and looped through the canal side of Mapleton Road and the former Mapleton Nurseries. Above, he shows how “knocking on wood” can reveal the extent of interior decay or hollowness in a tree.

P4301036Bill-Flemer Bill Flemer (right), grandson of the founder of Princeton Nurseries, was able to provide some inside history on the family business, complementing the information shared by Bob Wells (left).

Photos courtesy of Pamela Machold, Robert von Zumbusch, and Tari Pantaleo






Bob pointed out some special trees–sciadopsis and willow oaks, hazelnut, photina, bitternut hickory, osage orange (or “ghost tree”), ginkgo, white oaks and red oaks (the latter dying, unfortunately, from bacterial leaf scorch), among others. He offered basic ID techniques, and explored the importance of trees to the environment and to our well being, also discussing threats posed by changes in climate to trees and their co-dependent insects.



Following the walk, two of the participants went in search of the local eagles, and obtained this great shot of one of the parents standing guard over the nest!

Eagle photo courtesy of Richard Polk


Saturday, March 19, 2016

On Martin Luther King Day, we made excellent progress in cutting down a swath of bamboo to make way for new wires that will bring electricity to power a security system for the Propagation House.  Now we’ve finished the job!  A dozen energetic volunteers cut, dragged, and stacked a mountain of bamboo, and created a clear channel for the lines.

P3210940The cut stalks are strong and lightweight, and may be taken home for fashioning into garden stakes, trellises, fencing, wind chimes, or flutes.  The public is invited to make imaginative reuse of this organic debris.



Monday, January 18, 2016

Sixty-plus volunteers reported for duty in the Mapleton Preserve in sub-freezing temperatures and sunshine to make this our most productive Martin Luther King Day of Service ever!  They removed small trees, brush, and vines from around the nursery buildings and chain link fencing, gave breathing room to ginkgos and bonfire maples, cleared a swath of bamboo (in anticipation of running a new electric line to the Propagation House to power a security system), and collected trash in the Preserve and along Mapleton Road.

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Our hardy corps included FPNL members and perennial Day of Service participants, neighbors, four  students from Rutgers, a large, cheerful group from HOPE worldwide, and newly elected Assemblyman (and South Brunswick resident) Andrew Zwicker.  Bob Wells and employees of Wells Tree and Landscape volunteered their time and equipment to do some serious chipping of the fruits of our labors.  We are deeply grateful to all of our enthusiastic volunteers for all that they accomplished.




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Below, some of the HOPE worldwide volunteers warm up in the Education Building (formerly Princeton Nurseries’ blacksmith shop) after their prodigious efforts!



Friday, January 1, 2016

P1010843Three score and ten walkers and five dogs joined President Karen Linder for a hike in the Mapleton Preserve on the bright and chilly inaugural day of the year. The walk started with a loop around the Princeton Nurseries warehouse buildings and propagation house, followed the ginkgo row to a left along the nursery road that runs alongside the Arboretum, and continued across Mapleton Road to the former nursery seedbeds. The return route skirted the D&R Canal to the turning basin, and led back to the Preserve along the path that should be called the  “Osage Orange Trail”  due to the profusion of osage oranges littering the ground!


Photo by Rich Cleary