Arboretum Upd​ate

November 2008

Initial stage of the gazeboInitial stage of the gazebo.

It has been awhile since I updated the website and there are several bits of news I want to share. The major goal of the Van Camp – maintaining the woody plants in the arboretum, continues on. I plant both native trees and shrubs and the deer keep thinking I’m planting these for their eating pleasure. It is a constant battle, always requiring cages. Fortunately, the Department continues its Fall hunts which help keep the population in check. 

This summer we had to replace nearly every sprinkler head in the irrigation system. Many were damaged or partly buried by the flood of several years ago and we hadn’t realized it. Our well decided to stop working just as the summer heat kicked in, so we had that repaired. Fortunately, the summer rains were plentiful and irrigation was rarely needed.

The gazebo and its first visitorsThe gazebo and its first visitors.

I continue to battle the alkaline soil and water on the site. Our property manager has suggested a fertigation system for the well so we can create a more uniform, neutral soil. I think that will be the next big project, as currently the alkalinity restricts the planting of numerous acid-loving species – many of which I planted several years ago that are not surviving.

I bought, stained, and installed more birdhouses around the corners of the arboretum. We have numerous bluebirds and chickadees that use the area. Van Camp, Martell Forest, building gazebo.One of the fun things I added just this Fall came from an idea of Pam’s. The last time she visited, she made the suggestion of adding a seating area of some kind. So this Spring I contacted an Amish gentleman in northeast Indiana who specializes in making gazebos. I wanted something small but sturdy and he created a one-of-a-kind, 6’x6’ “2-seater”. It was built with treated pine, but in order to maximize its life, I decided to stain it. I liked the idea of color anyway.

Gazebo is finishedGazebo is finished.

Stu Christopher, our assistant manager and master carpenter, built a very substantial elevated foundation which he bolted it to. The good Dr. Weeks helped me stain it, and as you can see, we had our first visitors before the job was even finished! The weather has turned too cold to finish staining the steps, so that will have to wait until Spring.

I expect to have many visitors to the new gazebo since it is located just across the creek from the bridge, in front of the large boulder that marks the arboretum.

Well, that is all the news for this year. Please stop by sometime and see the progress!

Please feel free to contact Sally with any questions regarding this ongoing project.

Sally Weeks, Dendrologist
Manager of the Van Camp Arboretum
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
Phone: 765-494-9416
Fax: 765-494-9461

Arboretum Updates -  August 2012; November 2014

Back to the John Lloyd Van Camp Arboretum memorial page.​​

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

© Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Integrity Statement | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Agricultural Communication

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact us at so we can help.

Sign In