What is up with the blue tree?

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

One of the newest editions to the Swarthmore campus is the “blue tree” in front of Kohlberg. And many of our readers wanted to know what brought about this transformation. It turns out that the dead “Maackia chinensis” was painted by the Scott Arboretum’s Curatorial Intern, Todd Rounsaville. According to Todd, neither he nor the arboretum can take credit for the idea. The inspiration came from a British botanist who unexpectedly had a tree die in his garden only a few days before a group was coming for a tour. In an attempt to disguise the tree, since there was no time to remove it, he painted it. Under similar circumstances, the Scott Arboretum decided to coat the tree in the Cosby Courtyard. Blue was chosen for the color because according to Todd, “It is a color generally underrepresented in the garden.” After 16 cans of spray paint and a few hours of hard work, it sure is hard to miss!

Things abruptly changing color and you want to know why? Anything else on campus bothering you? Ask the Gazette at dailygazette [at] swarthmore.edu and we’ll find out for you.


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