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May 2013


In this issue
  • Message from our Director
  • Spring Planting Unveils Exciting New Additions
  • Enjoy Sights, Scents, and Science on Lilac Sunday
  • New Members Receive 'Olmsted' Lilac With Thanks
  • May Classes Spotlight Trees, Shrubs, and Birds
  • Free Tours Welcome You Back to the Landscape
  • Spotlight on Malus
  • Learning From Leaves: Artist Talk, Demo, and Tour

  • Spring Planting Unveils Exciting New Additions
    spring planting

    It's spring planting season at the Arboretum, and our horticulturists are busy adding many new trees and shrubs to the living collection. Among the "class of 2013" are a number of birches (Betula spp.), hornbeams (Carpinus spp.) and hollies (Ilex spp.), as well as numerous roses that will grace new planting beds in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection. Several of our "national collections" for plant conservation have been expanded, including maple, stewartia, and beech. On Peters Hill, staff established a new grove of Malus sieversii, a species of wild apple believed to be the forebear of all cultivated varieties of the fruit.

    Enjoy Sights, Scents, and Science on Lilac Sunday
    Lilac Sunday 2013

    For more than a century, the Arboretum has invited the public to festively observe the flowering of our spectacular, national collection of species and hybrid lilacs, now numbering some 380 plants of 176 different kinds. This year's event on Sunday, May 12 will focus on lilacs as well as many other plants in concurrent bloom. Enjoy this annual rite of spring with activities from 10am to 4pm including tours, live music, food vendors and picnicking (on this special day only), and science and family activities. Street parking along the Arboretum perimeter is limited, so visitors are encouraged to take public transportation.

    New Members Receive 'Olmsted' Lilac With Thanks
    FLO lilac

    The Arboretum relies on public support to sustain its remarkable plant collections, historical landscape, and programs for public education. Participate in our mission by becoming a member on Lilac Sunday and receive a young lilac plant with our thanks. This year's new member lilac, Syringa vulgaris 'Frederick Law Olmsted', is named for the architect of the Arboretum and dazzles with an abundant display of single white flowers that are quite fragrant. Join the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum and take one home to grow for yourself, or to share with Mom for Mother's Day!

    May Classes Spotlight Trees, Shrubs, and Birds
    Chaenomeles speciosa

    Cultivate your appreciation of plants, nature, and science at the Arboretum. Join Curator of Living Collections Michael Dosmann on May 5 for a field expedition in our landscape focused on outstanding shrubs that bloom in spring. On May 7, Arnoldia Editor Nancy Rose will suggest landscape plants that are appreciated by birds, and on May 16 scientist Lorna Gibson will share her research on woodpeckers. Ginkgo Fest, our symposium featuring lectures by three renowned experts and a tour of the Arboretum collection, has been rescheduled for May 11. Additional lectures this month include Andrew Groover on forest tree evolution and Steven Vogel on the physical fitness of leaves.

    Free Tours Welcome You Back to the Landscape
    Guided Tours

    Take a theme tour this spring and discover something new. Learn how we nurture young plants for the collection at the Dana Greenhouses on May 7 with Oren McBee, and catch the spring migration with birding walks on May 11 and 19. Flowers Change on May 9 invites adults to experience our field studies programs on a walk with Children's Education Manager Nancy Sableski. And on May 19, get a different perspective on how the Arboretum arranges plants systematically with landscape architect and botanical artist David Valbracht, joined by Visitor Education Assistant Maggie Redfern.

    Spotlight on Malus
    Malus 'Blanche Ames'

    Apples and crabapples, members of the genus Malus, bloom in spectacular fashion at this time of year. Our extensive collection of the trees can be attributed to the work of Arboretum plant collectors, genetic scientists, and propagators. Plants bloom in white and shades of red ranging from pale pink to deep purplish rose. Fine examples grow in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection near the ponds and clustered in groves on Peters Hill. Since 2010, the collection on Peters Hill has been the subject of an intensive horticultural and curatorial review to improve its appearance, health, and value to science.

    Learning From Leaves: Artist Talk, Demo, and Tour

    Landscape architect David Valbracht turned to botanical illustration to develop a better method for identifying trees. A guest researcher at the Arboretum, David gathers plant samples from his studies in the collections and arranges them in his studio as they grew in life. For his new exhibition at the Arboretum, Learning from Leaves, David has created "tree portraits" that employ drawing to emphasize observation and identification as well as personal expression. Join David for an artist's talk and demonstration on Thursday, May 2, and a guided landscape tour on Sunday, May 19.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except exhibition image courtesy of the artist.

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    Message from our Director
    Visitor Center

    Since the tragic events in Greater Boston last month, our thoughts have been with those grieving and with the injured, whose journey of healing is just beginning. Though we will never forget that heartbreaking week, the valor and resilience demonstrated by emergency responders and ordinary citizens alike promises that we will emerge as a stronger and more united city. For 140 years, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University has opened its landscape to the public, inviting all to interact with nature and find respite and peace of mind here. Take time to reconnect with the people and places that restore you and bring you joy. Visit the Arboretum and let the coming of spring remind you of nature's constant renewal.

    William (Ned) Friedman, Director and Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

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