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The Scribber: Planting seeds for Penn State, Lancaster arboretums

When the Friends of Tanger Arboretum in Lancaster travel by bus to the Arboretum at Penn State early next week, they hope to bring home some novel landscaping ideas.

Tanger, older but much smaller than Penn State’s arboretum, is undergoing changes following completion of the addition to‘s building on the Campus of History at Marietta and President avenues. Revised landscaping is next on the agenda for the grounds of the historical society and Wheatland, home of President James Buchanan.

One of the trees the bus riders will see in State College is a tall white oak — the first specimen donated to the arboretum. Its donor, George Biemesderfer, will be riding the bus.

Biemesderfer, who founded and operates Green Acres Nursery between Manheim and Lititz, contributed the oak nine years ago. Since that first tree, hundreds more have been planted on 30 acres of what eventually will become nearly 400 acres of trees, botanical gardens, and agricultural and natural areas,

“I call it planting seeds,” says Biemesderfer, an 82-year-old Mount Joy resident who studied landscape architecture at Penn State.

The oak tree seeded the arboretum, which has been financed largely by a $10 million donation from Charles Smith, another Penn State alum. Biemesderfer gave the 30-foot-tall tree in honor of Dr. Charles L. Hosler, Penn State’s senior vice president for research, and the late Mrs. Hosler. Hosler is Biemesderfer’s cousin.

Penn State’s arboretum, Biemesderfer hopes, will in turn seed new growth for the Tanger Arboretum. Biemesderfer is on the board of both and the arboretum that graces much of the county historical society’s grounds.

Working with local landscape architects from Dirk Edson, the boards of Tanger and the historical society plan to redesign a small but impressive arboretum. They are hoping donors will provide new trees.

“People might say we already have trees in the arboretum at Lancaster, but we also have trees that are aging and need to be brought up to date,” Biemesderfer explains.

“This will be an eye-opener to people on the bus. They will say, ‘We can do some of that here.’ ”

The bus trip is scheduled for Oct. 8, and the public is invited. Reservations can be made in person at or by contacting Peggy Raftovich at 392-4633.

Holtwood’s Mo’ne Davis

When Mo’ne Davis, the first girl to win a game at the Little League World Series, donated the jersey she wore during the game to the Baseball Hall of Fame last Thursday, Carol Feiler Rush cheered again.

Rush began cheering when the 13-year-old Davis pitched her Philadelphia team into the world series last summer.

“I was glued to the TV,” says Rush, of Telford, Montgomery County. “I was very impressed with how she handled the game, and with her spirit.”

Rush knows something about young girls and pitching. As 12-year-old Carol Ann Feiler, she became the first girl to play Midget baseball in Lancaster County in the summer of 1961.

She pitched the Holtwood Midget team to a 7-3 record.

“It did a lot to develop my personality and love of sports,” she says. “But this was way before Title IX. My experience with fans was not so positive as Mo’ne’s was.”

Rush explains that while her teammates accepted her and opposing teams respected her, parents of players on other teams were not so kind to a girl pitching to their boys.

That was the only year Rush played baseball. She turned to basketball and tennis at Penn Manor High School and Millersville University.

But she fondly remembers her summer as a pitcher.

“Everybody just played in those days,” she says. “Boys and girls. We just had a good time.”

Jack Brubaker, a retired Lancaster Newspapers staff writer, writes “The Scribbler” column twice a week. He welcomes comments and contributions at or 669-1929.

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