BOSTON, MA— Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum invites nature lovers of all ages to relish the sights and scents of spring this May 12—Mother’s Day—at the 114th celebration of Lilac Sunday.

Lilac Collection Bussey Hill
The Arboretum’s extensive, Nationally Accredited lilac collection grows along Bussey Hill Road and provides several weeks of flowering in May.

Lilac Sunday showcases Boston’s outdoor tree museum and learning landscape as the spring flowering season hits its stride, offering fun, free explorations for the entire family. The event features ongoing tours of the Arboretum’s lilacs and other plant collections, as well as children’s and Mother’s Day activities, a meditation station, and picnicking on this day only. Visitors may also enjoy a host of self-guided tours, including a lilac tour, via the Arboretum website and its Expeditions app.

The tradition of Lilac Sunday began more than a century ago to highlight the Arboretum’s beloved lilacs growing on Bussey Hill, a superb collection of more than 400 plants representing 173 different kinds of lilacs. For more information about lilacs and the Arboretum’s world-class collection, visit the lilac resources on the Arboretum website.

  • What:  Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University; see full event schedule.
  • When:  10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on May 12, Mother’s Day. The grounds are open to the public, dawn until dusk, year round. Picnicking allowed on this day only.
  • Where:  Tours and event activities focus on the lilac collection on Bussey Hill Road, which can be accessed from the Arborway Gate, the Forest Hills Gate, and the Centre Street Gate. Street parking is limited. Use of public transportation is encouraged.

Founded in 1872 as the first public arboretum in North America, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a leading center for the study of biodiversity and a treasured Boston landscape open free to the public year round. One of the most comprehensive and best-documented collections of temperate woody plants in the world, the Arboretum promotes the understanding and appreciation of plants through world-class research, horticulture, and educational programs for all ages.