Garden News
June 29, 2015 – There are some new and returning sights in the gardens. The butterfly milkweed, native to Nebraska, was planted last season near the main entrance to the Discovery Garden. It started blooming a few weeks ago and will continue to bloom all summer.
Part of the landscape bed in the Discovery Garden has been recently renovated and turned into a rain garden (Kyle Johnson mentioned plans for the rain garden in this blog post from October). It has been built to look like a dry creek bed. On a rainy day, the rain garden turns into a sustainable creek bed.

Two western kingbirds have decided to make Joslyn their summer home for the third year in a row. Pictured here in the American yellowwood tree is one half of the pair of western kingbirds. See if you can spot them on your next visit to the gardens!

In April, the Omaha World Herald had a feature on Kyle, his work, his philosophy on maintaining the Museum's predominantly organic campus. If you missed the article, you can read it online here.

September 26, 2014 – Anyone who enjoys working outdoors and getting their hands dirty can help keep Joslyn's campus beautiful. Click here for information on becoming a Landscape Maintenance Volunteer.

September 25, 2014
– On Friday, October 3, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum is offering free arboretum tours at six gardens in Omaha. The gardens on the tour are all Landscape Steward sites of the NSA. Participants are encouraged to come with questions, or even photos, for discussion during the informal tours. Free coffee and donuts will be available at the first tour stop (9 am at Basswood Lodge), and a free barbecue will follow the last stop on the tour (4-6 pm at the Omaha Public Power District Arboretum). Joslyn’s tour starts at 1 pm at the Reflecting Pool.

For more information and for the complete tour schedule, please click here.

September 12, 2014
– On Wednesday morning, September 10th, with the help of about 8 students from Blackburn High School and some of Joslyn’s own staff, 15 oak trees were planted on the north side of Joslyn’s Parking Garden as part of the ReTree Nebraska grant.

All of the oak trees we are planting were obtained from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum greenhouse currently located on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Although currently accommodated by UNL, the NSA is an independent, non-profit organization. The NSA grows a wide variety of trees, and everything they grow is from seed (mostly collected by them personally) as opposed to being propagated by cuttings, tissue culture, or grafting like almost all other commercially grown plants on the market. Growing from seed maintains good genetic diversity, as opposed to other 'cloning' methods such as growing from cuttings. If you have bought a tree or shrub lately, chances are likely it is a clone.

Below is a site map of the oaks by Joslyn's Landscape Maintenance Technician Kyle Johnson. As you check out the new trees, here is some information to keep in mind:
  • The 5 lefler oaks are naturally occurring hybrids that were found in Lincoln, and Joslyn has 5 of only a handful that exist.
  • The relic burr oak was grown from seed collected from Burr Oak Canyon, which is one of the last known pockets of native burr oak in the area—a group believed to have been growing in that spot for 5-10,000 years!
  • The tanniniferous oak was grown from seed obtained from Poland and is likely the only one planted in the state of Nebraska.

New Acquisition Now on View

August 22, 2014 Joslyn Art Museum has installed a new bronze work in its Peter Kiewit Foundation Sculpture Garden — Magdalena Abakanowicz’s Single (1994). A recent gift of Gail and Michael Yanney, Lisa and Bill Roskens, and Mary and Charlie Roskens, the work is the first by Abakanowicz in Joslyn’s collection. Single is on view now in Garden Gallery 1 (the northeast area of the garden).

Born in Falentyn, Poland, in 1930, Abakanowicz (pronounced ah-bah-can-oh-vitch) began making sculptures in the 1950s as a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She quickly garnered critical acclaim for her fiber-based installations and hanging textiles that reflected on her childhood experiences living in Nazi and Soviet-occupied Poland. In the 1970s, Abakanowicz turned her attention toward the human form. She is perhaps most well-known for portraying headless bodies, which are meant to echo the human inclination to follow charismatic leaders blindly, a phenomenon the artist witnessed first-hand during World War II. When Abakanowicz began to receive commissions to create public art installations, she expanded her materials beyond textiles to include bronze, wood, stone, and clay. Her outdoor projects in recent decades have featured multiple identical figures, all oversized and often positioned in rows, to underscore the widespread dehumanization that accompanies totalitarian political systems. Joslyn’s new work is a single example of her bronze-cast, headless bodies.

Abakanowicz’s work can be found in public collections internationally, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; among many others.

Joslyn’s executive director and CEO Jack Becker noted the significance of the acquisition. “We are delighted to add one of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s figures to Joslyn’s collection. A major contemporary sculptor, Abakanowicz’s work is unmistakable. Each of her figures is completely unique, but headless, and often gathered together, her works explore themes of quantity, crowds, anonymity, and “the countless.” The meaning of her work gives viewers much to think about, and we thank Michael and Gail Yanney, Lisa and Bill Roskens, and Mary and Charlie Roskens for this important gift.”

What's Pictured:
(Above) Magdalena Abakanowicz (Polish, born 1930), Single, 1994, bronze, Gift of Gail and Michael Yanney, Lisa and Bill Roskens, and Mary and Charlie Roskens, 2014.11

April 24, 2014
Omaha Public Power District’s Tree Promotion Program was designed to “actively promote the planting of trees, and to provide education concerning the value, selection, placement and welfare of trees.” Joslyn Art Museum is one of this year’s grant recipients, and as a result of this grant, will be adding nine new trees to the Discovery Garden.

There are three types of trees that the Museum is hoping to plant (depending on availability), all of which are very uncommon in the Omaha landscape. This includes the Korean Fir, the Seven Son Flower, and the Shellbark Hickory (pictured below).

The Korean Fir is a very unique and interesting small to medium-size evergreen, the Seven Son Flower will replace the existing Sumac in the Discovery Garden, and the Shellbark Hickory is a very slow growing tree, which is an investment for people to enjoy many years from now.

January 15, 2014 —
Joslyn Art Museum’s sculpture garden is now part of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Inc.’s (NSA) Landscape Steward Affiliation Program. The Museum’s seven plus acre open-air campus features over 20 sculptures, positioned in its parking garden, along the entrance drives, and in two primary gardens: the Peter Kiewit Foundation Sculpture Garden and the Dorothy and Stanley Truhlsen Discovery Garden. The focal point of a 2009 campus redevelopment and beautification plan, the landscaped gardens have dramatically enhanced the face of Joslyn’s grounds with their vast array of trees and other landscape plants and strong examples of formal and informal landscape design. To qualify as a NSA Landscape Steward, a site must be a managed landscape (public or private) exhibiting excellence in design, plant diversity, and maintenance. The Joslyn sculpture garden is one of 17 Omaha area sites to earn the distinction.

A wide variety of shrubs, perennials, and ornamental grasses can be found throughout Joslyn’s campus. The most noteworthy element of diversity is evident in the tree collection. There are currently 36 different species of trees represented at the Museum. Highlights include the American Yellowwood, Tuliptree, Ginkgo, White Fringetree, Katsura, Whitebud, Ironwood, Bristlecone Pine, Japanese Zelkova, London Planetree, Kentucky Coffeetree, Russian Bald Cypress, Paperbark Maple, and Horsechestnut.

Maintenance of the Museum sculpture garden has unique challenges due to the large presence of sculptures, walkways, lighting, and thousands of linear feet of bed lines, and approaches are adopted to maximize simplicity, efficiency, and sustainability. Over the past season, the Museum made a major shift from a traditional, synthetic-based lawn and landscape care program to one that is predominantly organic. The new program includes the use of compost and compost tea produced on-site, as well as a dramatic reduction in the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Almost all ornamental grasses and shrubs are left over the winter to provide winter texture and color. As old plants are replaced, new selections are made based on the right plant/right place philosophy. New plants installed at the Museum tend to be chosen based on the qualifications of being low-maintenance, hardy, rabbit resistant, and native when applicable.

Joslyn Art Museum sculpture gardens are open daily, 7 am to 11 pm, year round. Admission is free.

Click here for a press release with details about Joslyn's NSA affiliation.

Click the NSA logo to learn more about the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Inc.

Joslyn’s organic lawn care program supported in part by Omaha Organics Lawn Care.