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May 2010



In this issue

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Plant Spotlight on Syringa: The Lovely Lilacs

A Rite of Spring: Lilac Sunday Festivities on May 9

Speakers Explore the Value of Trees and Gardening

Birds and Bards Festival Celebrates Poetry and Nature

Enduring Trees Exhibition Opens May 1

Take an Enriching Walk Among Native Trees

Plant Spotlight on Syringa: The Lovely Lilacs


The placement of the lilac collection along the road on Bussey Hill has made their flowering a very public and highly anticipated spectacle for more than a century. Today the Arboretum grows 422 lilac plants of approximately 194 different kinds. Among these kinds are approximately 154 cultivars, selected by hybridizers for such qualities as fragrance, resistance to disease, and flower color. The amazing range of colors represented at the Arboretum includes rich reds, blues, and purples to soft pinks, whites, mauve, and the delicate, creamy yellow of 'Primrose'. Since different lilacs come into bloom over a five-week period between late April and late May, repeat visits are rewarded with a well-rounded experience of the Arboretum's diverse collection.

Lilacs are the Tree-of-the-Month for May. Stop by the Visitor Center to learn more, or print out an activity guide for kids of all ages.

Explore more of May's plant highlights...

A Rite of Spring: Lilac Sunday Festivities on May 9


Join lilac enthusiasts from all over New England on Sunday, May 9 for Lilac Sunday, the Arnold Arboretum's annual celebration of the genus Syringa. This daylong jubilee features music, dancing, tours, family activities, and (on this special day only) picnicking in the landscape. Enjoy the Arboretum's renowned collection of lilacs and welcome the joyful arrival of spring in all its splendor, which the blossoming lilac has come to symbolize. Activities and refreshments will be available from 10am to 4pm. Become a member of the Arnold Arboretum on Lilac Sunday and receive a free lilac plant of your own!

Find out more about Lilac Sunday...

Speakers Explore the Value of Trees and Gardening


The Arboretum offers several opportunities this May to learn about plants, their importance to the well-being of humans, and their critical role in the world we inhabit. Artist and landscape designer Topher Delaney discusses how gardens can promote healing and serve as sanctuaries in a talk at Trinity Church on May 4. On May 20, botanist Diana Bereford-Kroeger will use the Arboretum landscape as her classroom to discuss trees from around the world and their contributions to our environment. Later that evening, join her in the Hunnewell Building for a discussion about her research on trees, her thoughts on reforesting the globe, and ideas for how trees can be used to counter climate change. If you missed the pair of April lectures by senior research scientist Peter Del Tredici, you'll have another chance to hear his fascinating presentation about wild urban plants on May 13.

Browse all May Adult Education classes...

Birds and Bards Festival Celebrates Poetry and Nature


Enjoy the weekend of May 13-16 exploring birds, poetry, and nature in over 1,100 acres of greenspace along Boston's Emerald Necklace. The Birds and Bards Festival offers events at multiple sites, including guided walks, fun family activities, and evening events. At the Arboretum, join docent and bird expert Robert Mayer for an early morning bird walk in the landscape on Thursday, May 13 at 7am. On Saturday, May 15, enjoy a lyrical exploration of the Arboretum with visitor education assistant Sheryl White, who will present a multi-sensory, interactive poetry walk starting at 2pm. Both events are free; no registration required.

See more May events and free activities...

Enduring Trees Exhibition Opens May 1


Though inspired by scenes of nature, the work of Hungarian-born artist Zsuzsanna Szegedi steps beyond a straightforward representation of our environment to explore our complex relationships with it. In her exhibition, Enduring Trees, opening in the Hunnewell Building on May 1 with a public reception, bold color and strong brushwork are employed to suggest the linked contrasts we share with nature: protected and wild, together and alone, light and dark. The exhibition includes works from her Presence/Absence project and the tree paintings she created during her artist-in-residence last year at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA.

Learn more about current and upcoming art shows...

Take an Enriching Walk Among Native Trees


Imagine travelling back in time to visit our landscape 100, 200, or even 2,000 years ago. What trees grew here, and how did indigenous populations use them for food, tools, and shelter? This spring and summer, a selection of our native trees and shrubs are featured in a self-guided landscape tour, Walk with Natives. Members will find it in the spring issue of Silva, or you can download and print the tour map and activity from the link below. Look for plants marked with signage using the symbol above, and call 617.895.4085 on your cell phone to hear interesting historical and horticultural details narrated by members of the Arboretum staff.

See the Walk with Natives tour activity...

All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except garden image by Topher Delaney, Birds & Bards image courtesy of the Birds & Bards Festival, and exhibition image courtesy of Zsuzsanna Szegedi.

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Get connected with the Arboretum's online community of friends and supporters. Follow the Arboretum on the social networking websites Facebook and Twitter to keep current with seasonal plant highlights, upcoming programs and classes, and interesting news from the plant world. In turn, our visitors and colleagues can respond to Arboretum postings, and even share their own photos, links, and comments. Find us today on Facebook and Twitter, and keep the Arnold Arboretum conveniently at your fingertips.

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