Every winter, on brisk sunny days (the colder the better), I find myself drawn to Peters Hill. Last week was no exception. An occasional dog walker or jogger—but no one wandering “off-road” amidst the collections. This wonderful sense of solitude is only broken when I lift my gaze and the Boston skyline appears on the horizon. In the middle of a city, it is just the trees and me.

A Peters Hill winter pilgrimage should always include a visit to the honey locust collection (Gleditsia) to admire the magnificent thorns ensheathing (and protecting) the specimens. In the hawthorn (Crataegus) collection, last summer’s fruits hang from gnarled and aged trees, glistening in the sun—scars and dimples prominent. The deep green needles of the evergreen conifers punctuate a landscape of otherwise leafless trees.

peters hill plants by Ned Friedman

Above: Caspian honey locust (Gleditsia caspica, 272-72*B); Lavalle hawthorn (Crataegus x lavallei, 868-56*A); and Nordmann or Caucasian fir (Abies nordmanniana, 1077-69*A) with some amazing epicuticular waxes (the bluish white stripes) on the undersurface of the needles.