Upcoming Events at the Arboretum

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2016 Valentine's Day Carriage Rides

Saturday February 13 & Sunday February 14, 2016
Saturday evening 6—9 pm, Sunday afternoon 1—4pm



Image of a horse-drawn carriage

Give a "special someone"
the memory of their lifetime!

Create a celebration that goes beyond ordinary to exceptional. In a private luxurious vis-á-vis carriage, riders are drawn by beautiful horses with an experienced coachman.

Celebrate Valentine's Day carriage rides by moonlight, Saturday February 13 & Sunday February 14, 2016 Saturday evening 6—9 pm, Sunday afternoon 1—4pm

Reserve now and make romantic dreams come true!

Purchases support Harrisonburg's favorite place for marriage proposals... the EJC Arboretum!

  • For the Valentine's Day Carriage Rides, Private carriages that seat up to four adults are $75. The private carriage rate will be sold to all group sizes of four adults. Group sizes of four always buy the $75 carriage.
  • Only group sizes of three, two, or one person can buy by the seat. The per person ticket price is $18 adults, $12 kids ten years of age and younger. Infants that ride on an adult lap who are under two years of age are free.
  • The maximum group size per carriage is four for adult riders. Adult riders are anyone eleven years of age or older.
  • The maximum group size per carriage for families is five people IF children are ten years old or younger. For children eleven years and older, adult per person policy stands enforce.
  • Paid reservations are made by phone using any major credit card, or walk-in weekdays, business hours, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, at the Frances Plecker Education Center with cash or check.
  • Walk-up rides days of events might be available but are not guaranteed. Call ahead for walk-up riders. (540) 568-3194.
  • Please arrive at the Frances Plecker Ed Center 10 minutes ahead of your scheduled ride time. Rides leave on an exact 20 minute schedule. There is no guarantee that late arrivals can or will be re-seated on a later ride, and a late arriving party's ride may be forfeit.
  • Each carriage ride is approximately one mile in length and completes a circuit through the arboretum forest on a graveled, unlit route.
  • Moderate inclement weather: carriage roofs go up! Dress for weather forecast! Extreme inclement weather: postponement may be posted on arboretum website, day of. In inclement weather, check the website for an announcement on the day of, www.jmu.edu/arboretum. If no cancellation posts on website by 10:00 am day of, rides proceed.
  • Tickets are transferable! Credit, cash, check carriage ride ticket purchases are non-refundable. Rides support the EJC Arboretum.
  • A negotiable minimum $15 additional charge for private carriages only that are requested after the close of the event's scheduled rides may be negotiated at carriage driver's discretion. (No individual seat rides are sold after close of event schedule.)

Due to extremely low temperatures forecasted for Saturday night, we regretfully must cancel Saturday's rides. Sunday's rides remain scheduled as planned.

Miniature Garden Workshop

Wednesday, February 17, 2016, noon to 1:00 p.m., $35 per person

In the Frances Plecker Education Center

with Landscapes in Miniature owner, Pam Shank

Register for a hands-on workshop that will lead participants through the process of how to make a small miniature indoor garden in a container. Participants will craft their miniature garden in a planter from start to finish, receive tips and complete instructions as their unique garden miniature is underway, and will take home a completed mini garden in a container at the end of the workshop. Plan on playing in the dirt…and dress accordingly. Selections for Mini-Garden's features and plants will vary for individuality! Everything needed to create a mini landscape is included!

Picture of miniature landscape in large pot

Image provided by Landscapes in Miniature and may not represent an exact model of mini garden produced.

Additional mini items will be available to purchase to take home for future additional mini gardens or to exchange mini landscape décor. Also available to purchase: finished mini gardens to use as gifts for friends or for those who can't create their own.

Cost is $35 per person, and includes:

  • Small garden pot
  • Quality potting soil mix
  • Miniature mulch
  • Selection of mini plants
  • Miniature pebbles to use for a gravel path in the mini garden
  • Choice of mini garden furniture
  • Disposable gloves
  • Workspace tabletop supplies to use during workshop

Click here to register for this workshop.

Frances Litten Invitational Dinner

Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 5:30—7:00 pm

In the Festival Conference Center, Ballroom B

FREE admission AND parking in JMU Festival Lot C12! (No parking permit required)

By invitation only, the 9th annual Frances A. Litten Invitational Dinner is a gathering of colleagues and friends of founding arboretum board member and educator, Frances A. Litten.

Frances Litten Botanical Lecture

Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 7:00—8:30 p.m.

In the Festival Conference Center, Ballroom A

FREE admission AND parking in JMU Festival Lot C12! (No parking permit required)

Photo of book cover to Planting in a Post-Wild World

Speaker and co-author of Planting in a Post-Wild World, Claudia West present at the 2016 annual Frances Litten Botanical Lecture on Tuesday, February 23. She will share groundbreaking and powerful landscape design concepts. Offering alternatives to traditional horticulture–Rainer and West's plantings function like a naturally occurring plant community. West is a leading voice in ecological landscape design, and she will reveal how plants fit together in nature and how to use this knowledge to create landscapes that are resilient, beautiful, and diverse. As practical as it will be inspiring, her talk on Planting in a Post–Wild World will reveal her and Mr. Rainer's optimistic philosophy leading the way to the future of planting design. The annual Frances Litten Botanical Lecture is free, No reservation is needed, first come, first seated, Festival Conference Center on the JMU campus starting at 7:00 p.m. Free parking is available.

The Frances Litten Botanical Lecture Series each year is dedicated to the memory of Frances A. Litten, 1929—2005 of Bridgewater, Virginia. Mrs. Litten was born March 18, 1929 in Owenton, Virginia. Married in 1949 to Donald D. Litten, together they raised a family of three children, and became grandparents of six.

A 1949 Graduate of then Madison College, Mrs. Litten was a teacher in both Shenandoah County and Rockingham County. She devoted herself to worthy causes, serving on the Advisory Council of the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and the North River Library. She was active in Greener Harrisonburg and in JMU alumni affairs.

An accomplished horticulturalist, Mrs. Litten was a member and past president of the Round Hill Garden Club. She served on the Board of Directors of the Shenandoah District of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. She was also a flower show judge, accredited by the National Council of Accredited Flower Show Judges.


A new Workshop

Friday, March 18, 2016, noon to 1:00 p.m.

In the Frances Plecker Education Center

Take a peek into the microscopic world of aquatic bacteria!

Be a child scientist for the day with JMU Biology professor Dr. Morgan Steffen, and collect and then examine water samples from the arboretum pond and stream. Elementary school age children will learn how to use a microscope to view and identify the bacteria that live in the water. Wear water friendly shoes or rain boots, and dress for the weather on the day of the workshop. This educational children's workshop is free! A parent or caregiver is welcome to attend with their child. Click here to register for this workshop.

Picture of miniature landscape in large pot

Other Events Coming Soon

  • March 17, 2016, St. Patrick's Highland Strains, Dress for the forecast, and bring lawn chairs or a blanket and a carry–on nonalcoholic picnic dinner for a free public live 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm performance of Highland Celtic music performed by JMU Music degree students. No reservation is needed. Plenty of free parking in Convo Lot G.

  • March 23, 2016, Birding Workshop, Wednesday, noon—1:00 pm in the FPEC. In partnership with the Rockingham Bird Club, an avifauna notable and photographer of Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley avian species Diane Lepkowski, lectures on songbirds to raptors, giving an annual spring lecture and forum discussion in the *FPEC. This workshop partners with guided birding trail walks in April or May.

  • Interested in seeing more of what's coming up next? Please check our Annual Calendar of Events.

     EJC Arboretum Events and Programs are Virginia Green.

    Promotional photographs are taken by staff of arboretum events.
    Written requests to the Web manager to remove a photograph will be honored.