It’s almost lilac season at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Due to the pandemic and in support of public health, the Arboretum will not hold any public programming or Lilac Sunday events this Mother’s Day.

However, the lilacs will still put on a spectacular show as a diversity species and cultivated varieties begin and continue to bloom over the next several weeks. Visitors are encouraged to come explore spring flowering at the Arboretum anytime your schedule permits this spring. Every day in May is Mother’s Day at the Arnold Arboretum!

There is so much to see in May in the Arboretum’s Living Collections and across its 281-acre landscape: Visitors can stop by the Nationally Accredited collection of lilacs growing on Bussey Hill that blooms throughout the month; the crabapple collection that bursts into blossom on Peters Hill in early May; the famous dove trees that make the Explorers Garden particularly vibrant mid-month; or the rhododendron collection that blooms from late May to early June.

For those looking to take a tour of the Arboretum in-person or online, the Arboretum encourages exploration through its virtual walks, guided tours, the Expeditions mobile app, and other digital learning resources. In-person and online visitors are encouraged to share photos with #AAlilacs, and the Arboretum will share them over the next few weeks.

Common lilacs (Syringa vulgaris, 364-2012) flower in 200-year-old hedge on Bussey Hill.
Common lilacs (Syringa vulgaris, 364-2012) flower in 200-year-old hedge on Bussey Hill. Jonathan Damery.

The Arboretum of Harvard University is a museum of trees teaching the world about plants―a free and open cultural institution and greenspace where people can deepen their connections with nature and one another. “For many, education starts at the Arboretum, where visitors are encouraged to notice the beauty, power, and relevance of the plants around them,” said Director Ned Friedman. “That’s how the idea of every day in May is Mother’s Day came to be. The Arboretum offers lessons to everyone who visits, from the toddler playing with a pinecone to the casual commuter to the world-renowned plant scientist.”

In keeping with CDC and Harvard COVID-19 guidelines for large gatherings, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University will not hold Lilac Sunday 2021. Formal events and public programming related to the Arboretum’s celebration of lilacs have been postponed until spring 2022, when the Arnold Arboretum will celebrate its sesquicentennial and 112th observance of Lilac Sunday. Learn more about the Arboretum’s lilacs, guidelines for visiting, and ways to explore flowering at the Arboretum this spring at