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Paperbark Maple: A Winter Showstopper
The winter landscape sometimes makes us work harder than other times of the year. I am not referring to shoveling snow, but to searching for beauty in the places less obvious. I know we are all waiting for the snow to melt to enjoy the colorful displays of bulbs that Bayard Cutting Arboretum is known for. However, this is a time the garden asks us to be patient and learn to appreciate the subtle, understated beauty of winter. We pay more attention to texture, shape, and composition. We take notice of cones, buds, and bark.
One of the marvels of the winter landscape is Acer griseum, the paperbark maple. This medium sized tree is a favorite for many reasons. It displays strong uniform branching that forms an oval crown. The size and habit make it the perfect specimen tree for tighter spaces. The leaves of this maple species are uniquely trifoliate, having three distinct leaflets, unlike the simple leaf form of our native maples. Its’ fall color should also be noted, ranging from bright orange to deep red. However, the most significant attribute of the paperbark maple is clearly the exfoliating bark that it is named for. The peeling bark is layered in different textures, wavering in shades of brown and green. This botanical curiosity makes the paperbark maple shine against a blank canvas of snow.
Acer griseum has long been sought after and up until recently has been tough to find in the nursery trade. The rarity of this plant can be largely attributed to its unique flowers that do not always produce viable seed, making it more difficult to propagate. E.H. Wilson introduced Acer griseum from China to the United States in 1901 and 1907 for the Arnold Arboretum. It is believed that most of the germplasm in the western hemisphere comes from two trees at Arnold Arboretum that were a result of the expedition. With that being said, the paperbark maples of Bayard Cutting Arboretum are descendants of those two trees.
In 2009, Acer griseum was placed on the Maple Red List. It is currently endangered in its native habitat of China, largely because of deforestation. This demonstrates the great importance of conservation efforts of cultivated plants in places like Bayard Cutting Arboretum. These efforts contribute to the preservation of endangered species.

Please take a moment to appreciate the subtle beauty and importance of the paperbark maples of Bayard Cutting Arboretum. There is one in the Conifer Garden (1990-SGP2104), one along the path in the Pinetum Extension (2002-NPE224), and a recently planted paperbark maple hybrid, Acer griseum x maximowiczianum ‘Cinnamon Girl’ outside the Pinetum Extension along the service road (2020-0072).
-Kevin Wiecks, Landscape Curator
Selecting Paint Colors
for the Manor House
We are often asked what paint colors are used in our restoration projects and how they are chosen. In a word – ‘CAREFULLY’.  
We conduct a great deal of research regarding Victorian color choices, as well as look for clues in the layers of paint removed from our walls. In some cases, we take a chip to our favorite paint store, East Islip Paints, for a custom match. This happened to be the case in Bronson’s room.
For some, we take time (and patience) in sampling Benjamin Moore’s historic colors and select beautiful, soothing tones such as Yarmouth Blue [HC-150] for the walls (which complement the iridescent glass tiles of the fireplace surround) and a lovely warm trim color of Manchester Tan [HC-81]. These were selected for Justine’s room as are many of our rooms using the Benjamin Moore HC series.
Other times, it’s just plain old serendipity! Like when we were searching for a hallway wall color that would convey richness and match the unique tiffany glass windows. These windows have bamboo reeds and when we matched up our color choice swatch and looked at the back for its name guess what? – it was BAMBOO REED by Valspar! I love when that happens.
Stay tuned for more updates on our ongoing projects to restore the Manor House rooms in our next newsletter. Thank you for your support!
-M. Valentin
Historic Donation: The Portrait of Maria Bronson
In 2020, a portrait of Maria Bronson was graciously donated to Bayard Cutting Arboretum. Maria Bronson was Mrs. Cutting’s grandmother (1793-1851). She married into the Murray Family in 1814 and had one son and eight grandchildren, one being Mrs. Cutting. The donor stated that Mrs. Cutting gifted this portrait to her nephew, James Gordon Murray. Learn more about Maria Bronson and the Murray family here

The oil painting of Maria Bronson was by the prolific portrait artist, George Alexander Healy. He was a highly esteemed artist well known for his political portraits in the 1800s. Healy studied art in Europe, where he was influenced heavily by the French and starting to be commissioned for portraits. He painted world leaders and dignitaries such as Pope Pius IX and King Louis-Philippe of France. Most notably, Healy painted seven American presidential portraits including the iconic portrait of Abraham Lincoln. In the height of his career, Healy was commissioned 50 portraits a year. Many of his pieces can be seen in Washington DC, including “The Peacemakers”.
The historical significance to the Cutting Family and world-renowned artist makes this portrait a valuable addition to the arboretum. We sent the portrait to Peebles Island Resource Center in upstate New York.The conservator, Mary Bethljeski, wrote a detailed critique of the painting with guidelines for conservation.The Maria Bronson canvas is believed by the donor to be in the original frame. While the portrait is in good condition, it shows stress cracks and lumps in the paint. It also requires a thorough cleaning, as it has collected dust and grime. The portrait will be restored by Bethljeski and her team and returned to Bayard Cutting Arboretum for display.

The portrait will likely be placed in the second-floor hallway. We are honored to receive this piece of valuable family history and look forward to showcasing its beauty.

-Lee Kennedy and Joy Arden
Woman of the Year Honoree
In honor of Women's History Month, we would like to congratulate our staff member, Joy Arden, for being awarded
2021 Woman of Parks by the
The Women’s Council of Long Island State Parks!
Staff Photo of the Month
Johnny Korkodilos, CSA Field Manager
A peaceful sunrise overlooking the Conifer Garden.
Upcoming Event
Dates: Saturday, March 6th at 10:30 am
Saturday, April 3rd at 10:30 am (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, May 1st at 10:30 am
Cost per person: $40 (50% going to BCA Natural Heritage Trust Fund)
For more info and to sign up: Wild Heart Nature Connection
Attendance is capped at 10. Masks required.
Help Support Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Tax deductible donations can also be made by check payable to
Natural Heritage Trust and mailed to
Bayard Cutting Arboretum, PO Box 907, Great River, NY 11739