Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

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Patrick Dougherty

New Stickwork Sculpture by Patrick Dougherty

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Installation: March 12-29, 2019
Exhibit Duration: Patrick Dougherty’s original sculptures are temporary. They last one to two years depending on the severity of the weather.

Located in the sculpture garden. Click here for a Visitor Map.

Patrick Dougherty Returns to the Arboretum in March

Back by popular demand—renowned artist Patrick Dougherty will be returning to the Morris Arboretum for his third visit as an artist-in-residence from March 12-29, to create one of his signature stickwork sculptures. Dougherty’s first exhibit for the Arboretum, Summer Palace, debuted in 2009, followed by Waltz in the Woods in 2015. Once his sculptures are erected, they remain in the garden for approximately one to two years, or as long as they last in the natural elements. Dougherty’s newest creation will open to the public on March 30, 2019.

“The public loves the huge scale of Patrick’s work, which is typically 25-plus feet high, combined with the intimacy of being able to enter the woven structures to peek out through the windows and openings from inside,” says Susan Crane, Morris Arboretum’s Director of Marketing.

Although there’s no telling what Dougherty will ultimately create, the end result is sure to amaze visitors to the Arboretum. Dougherty’s new sculpture will be built in the Madeleine K. Butcher Sculpture Garden, which has perfect site lines to be seen from many points of the garden, like the Wisteria Walk below the Rose Garden and the path along the English Park. This upcoming installation for Morris Arboretum is one of more than 200 pieces Dougherty has designed in public spaces worldwide.

“Patrick’s structures have no nails or hardware that hold them together aside from the strength of the woven sticks and branches,” says Crane. “For a public garden to have such a natural and dramatic piece of art is so special.”

Combining carpentry skills and his love of nature, Dougherty works with volunteers and staff members to create unique site-specific sculptures made solely from twigs, saplings, branches and sticks that take shape as he works. Inspired by the garden’s surroundings, the name of each sculpture is not determined until after the design has been completed.

To see for yourself what Dougherty will design for Morris Arboretum this time around, plan to check out his latest creation which opens on Saturday, March 30.

About the Materials: Willows

A Waltz in the Woods was created from willow saplings. Below are the specific types.

For the Main Towers:
Salix purpurea ‘Fish Creek’ – Fish creekpurple willow, used for the vast majority of the piece.
Zelkova serrata – Japanese zelkova, used as structural pieces.

For Dome Embellishments:
Salix alba 'Britzensis' – Britz white willow
Salix chaenomeloides - willow
Salix gracilistylavar. melanostachys – black bigcatkin willow


Call for Volunteers to Work with Artist, Patrick Dougherty

From March 12th through March 29th Patrick Dougherty will create a NEW original stickwork in the Arboretum’s Sculpture Garden, and Patrick needs volunteers to help him complete the project.

Volunteer shifts are 4 hours long, with a maximum of four volunteers per shift. Shifts are from 8am to noon and 1pm to 5pm.

Patrick requests that volunteers:

  • Have enthusiasm, physical stamina, and the ability to follow directions.
  • Be comfortable on and able to work on scaffolding or ladders.
  • Be sixteen or older. Teens need to be especially dedicated and responsible, and will only be scheduled one at a time.
  • Dress appropriately for working outdoors in the early spring, including sturdy footwear.
  • Bring work gloves, and foul weather gear as work goes on regardless of the weather.
  • Bring pruners if possible for use during the construction.
  • Sign a waiver and release before working on the project.

Please contact Lisa Bailey at or at 215-247-5777, ext. 157 to sign up for a volunteer shift.

Opening Day of the Patrick Dougherty Installation

SATURDAY, MARCH 30 | 10:00am - 4:00pm
Sculpture Garden
Included with garden admission.

Be among the first to view artist Patrick’s Dougherty newest stickworks created specifically for the Arboretum’s Sculpture Garden. At 11am Irish bagpipers will perform at the sculpture site.

About the Artist and Installation

Patrick Dougherty Press

See Patrick Dougherty on WHYY Friday Arts »

See Patrick Dougherty featured in Garden Design Magazine »

See Patrick Dougherty on CBS Sunday Morning »

Learn more about the work of Patrick Dougherty at

This exhibit is supported in part by the Madeline K. Butcher Fine Arts Endowment.

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Alerts & Updates

The Arboretum is open today, February 13th, however the path to the Fernery is closed due to icy conditions.

The Arboretum is open as usual. Click here for hours.

Garden Railway trains are not running Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th due to inclement weather.

Please note: The Rose Garden is closed for maintenance every Thursday morning until noon.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.