Curator's Choice Graphic

About Curator's Choice

This article series describes and chronicles the development of the Walk Across Kentucky Native Plant Collection.

Contact the Author

Curator's Choice is maintained by Emily Ellingson, Curator and Native Plants Collection Manager, at The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky.

For questions, please reach out at the following:

Email: emily.ellingson@uky.edu
Phone: +1 (859) 257-6955

Recent Articles

  • By Emily Ellingson  March 26, 2020

    One of the things that has brought me the greatest joy over the last two months, and especially during these uncertain times, is checking on all our beautiful plants in the greenhouse at the University of Kentucky South Farm. The Walk Across Kentucky (WAKY) native plant collection aims to preserve the genetic diversity and botanical heritage of Kentucky by collecting, growing, and planting...

  • By Emily Ellingson  February 1, 2020

    Due to the warm weather we’ve had in the past month, we’ve been seeing annual plants germinating, early spring bulbs pushing through the soil, and even a few maple buds breaking. However, it is still winter in Kentucky, and the greenest parts of the landscape are still the evergreens. Evergreens fit under the definition of conifers, which are woody trees or shrubs that have...

  • By Emily Ellingson  December 1, 2019

    It seems to be consistently cool in Kentucky and, after the cold snap we had in the middle of November, trees have finally decided it’s time to shut down for the winter. Although some deciduous trees hold on to their leaves in the winter, a trait known as marcescence (the retention of dead plant parts), many trees are now simple skeletons. Although we mourn the loss of lush green leaves and...

  • By Emily Ellingson  November 1, 2019

    This fall, The Arboretum embarked on two collecting trips to gather seeds and plants that will build the foundation for new plantings in the Walk Across Kentucky (WAKY). These wild-collected plants will help us preserve the heritage and genetic diversity and of Kentucky’s flora.

    The first of these collection trips arose from a unique opportunity to collect with a group from the North...

  • By Emily Ellingson  October 1, 2019

    The Walk Across Kentucky (WAKY) native plant collection is a unique and ecologically important plant collection. The WAKY represents plants from all seven physiographic regions of Kentucky, and these plants are wild-collected from across the state. The important goals of The WAKY are to preserve the botanical heritage and genetic diversity of Kentucky’s trees and shrubs. This happens through...

  • By Emily Ellingson  September 1, 2019

    An arboretum is a public garden that focuses on the display of woody plants, such as trees and shrubs. You may be surprised to hear that this also encompasses woody vines (lianas) which, along with perennial herbaceous vines, we grow in increasing numbers in the Walk Across Kentucky (WAKY).  There is a total of 45 native accessioned vines in the WAKY, including naturally regenerating and wild-...

  • By Emily Ellingson  August 1, 2019

    An arboretum is defined as a public garden that educates the public and focuses on the study, display, and conservation of woody plants, such as trees, shrubs, and vines. The Walk Across Kentucky (WAKY) began as an effort to conserve and secure the botanical diversity and heritage of Kentucky through the collection and growing of seeds and plants from the wild. Initial collections focused...

  • By Emily Ellingson  July 1, 2019

    The Arboretum Woods is a 15-acre remnant inner bluegrass woodland, an imperiled plant community in Kentucky, which contains over 90 species of native plants. These woodlands occurred on mesic sites on limestone soils, abundant with phosphorus. They historically had wooded canopies, with a rich understory. Most of these woodlands were developed after European settlement and their plant...