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GCA Iselin Fellow Uses Techniques from Around the World to Care for US Landscapes


June 06, 2024

Japanese horticultural practices preserve at-risk legacy cherry trees at US National Arboretum

Hans Friedl, 2023 Garden Club of America Hope Goddard Iselin Fellow in Public Horticulture, says GCA’s scholarship allowed him “to continue field research in expanding the way we care for trees and each other here in the United States.” The recent graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in landscape architecture worked with Japanese master gardener Kurato Fujimoto to conserve at-risk legacy cherry trees at the US National Arboretum by implementing Japanese horticultural practices.

Using “hoozue,” Friedl and his team built wooden crutches to support compromised branches from below. “The technical horticultural work,” explains Friedl, "is an investigation in applying methods and practices from around the world in efforts to care responsibly for landscapes and the trees within them.” 

Friedl’s field work provided a unique perspective: “There is a different level of understanding of ‘care.’” Looking at the newly supported trees and observers’ reactions to the braces, Friedl explains, “It makes you ask a larger question about the importance of this tree. These trees start telling a different story about what it means to take care of essentially our relatives and neighbors. They tell a story of stability and care.”

The permanent braces can be seen at the US National Arboretum. Friedl’s other projects can be seen at Dumbarton Oaks Garden, also in Washington DC, and Roger Williams Park in Providence, RI.

Since 2013, the Iselin Fellowship has funded graduate students to further public horticulture studies through experiential learning at recognized public gardens, botanic gardens, arboretums, or public horticulture institutions within the US. The GCA Scholarship Committee works with the American Public Gardens Association to select award recipients. 2024 Iselin Fellows will be announced this summer.





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