A special ceremony was held on Arbor Day at Bailey Arboretum in Lattingtown in honor of its recognition as an accredited arboretum. A Nassau County park, Bailey is the first and only accredited arboretum in the New York metropolitan area. A select group of volunteers, executive directors and others dedicated to Bailey’s cause participated in the invite-only event on a chilly morning.
“Bailey Arboretum is a museum of rare trees and shrubs with 125 different varieties and species and we have now documented this and shared it in an international database,” said Margaret Stacey, president of the Friends of Bailey Arboretum. “We have become another Long Island gem for which Nassau County should be duly proud.”
Bailey was awarded a Level 11 accreditation by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program, meaning that it is now recognized as an accredited arboretum in The Morton Register of Arboreta. The 45-acre site is administered by the Friends of Bailey Arboretum and includes a 200-year-old manor house, an educational center and seven acres of landscaped grounds, managed ponds and wetlands.
“ArbNet accreditation enables us to clearly define our role and position among other public gardens, focus our objectives and enter into a network of other like-minded groups,” said Stacey.
Parks Commissioner Brian Nugent, representing County Executive Ed Mangano, thanked the group for its work in getting the 104-year-old arboretum to this level.
“The Friends of Bailey Arboretum has been the standard that we base our Friends’ groups with,” said Nugent. “The passion that this board shows is really what makes it what it is here. In the past we’ve seen other properties not nearly in the same shape as this and it really is a testament to them.”
Stacey gave some history on Arbor Day and the background on the arboretum. The property was originally a working farm bought by Frank Bailey in 1911, who began collecting exotic trees and shrubs and transformed it into his private garden. She noted that Arbor Day was started 143 years by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska; his son, Joy, founded the Morton Salt Company and opened the Morton Arboretum in Illinois in 1922. She said Bailey had a connection to the Morton family and some of the trees from that property were given to Bailey. One of Bailey’s claim to fame is its Metasequoia, the largest tree in the world.
The event concluded with the planting of the lace bark pine tree, a tree that is native to northwestern and central China.
“What’s special about this tree—and it’s the only one on this property—is the exfoliating bark,” said Mike Maron, superintendent of the arboretum. “As it matures, you’ll get more hues of greens, grays and browns. It’s definitely a special tree.”