John Abbuhl stands at the entrance to the Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands. He's made over 3,200 plantings over the decades in the preserve, which today has species from all over the globe for the public's enjoyment and enrichment. The Arboretum is holding a unique concert on Sept. 25 to benefit victims of Tropical Storm Irene.
Photo by Charles Wiff.
BETHLEHEM John Abbuhl knows his trees.
Walking through the forest near his Slingerlands home, he points them out one by one. An umbrella magnolia doesn't escape his gaze, nor does a great fir reaching into the sky or small ferns lining the ground. He calls them out by common and scientific name.
Perhaps what's more impressive than Abbuhl's encyclopedic knowledge is that he's responsible for much of the varied and beautiful landscape at his doorstep, having planted over 3,200 trees there over the decades. He also welcomes the public to enjoy the dozens of unique species from all over the world.
Abbuhl is the founder of the Pine Hollow Arboretum, 25 acres of ponds, nature trails and a remarkable bounty of flora. It's a little-known treasure sitting off of Maple Avenue, not far from the bustling Price Chopper plaza, though it's doubtful you'd know it sitting next to a serene, sun-splashed koi pond.
The Arboretum has been growing since Abbuhl bought his home in 1966 while he was working as a pediatrician. It grew and grew as a his hobby, and now it exists as a nonprofit entity. He's hoping the community will avail itself of this resource.
“As a growing organization, we need to increase our membership, make ourselves more visible, to make the community understand whatever our worth is,” Abbuhl said.
The Arboretum is hosting a unique musical evening in hopes of doing just that. On Sunday, Sept. 25, it will host the Duo Marchand, playing Renaissance-period music with a natural theme.
The event had originally been planned as a fundraiser for the Arboretum's operations, but after Tropical Storm Irene devastated parts of the Capital District, the decision was made to shift the focus and donate the proceeds to relief efforts.
“It's the right thing to do,” said Abbuhl. “We suffered very little ourselves here from this whole event, in contrast to what's gone on around us.”