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Managed by Harvard University, the Arnold Arboretum serves as an outdoor museum. The arboretum’s mission is to increase the knowledge of woody plants through research and education.Arnold Arboretum is the oldest public arboretum in North America. Harvard accepted the bequest and officially allocated the site for arboretum in 1874.With the agreement of opening this ground to the public, the arboretum became part of the famous "Emerald Necklace," a 7-mile-long-parkland around much of the Boston area.In 1877, C. The arboretum was established as a leading scientific institution by the development of a comprehensive library and a notable herbarium.This 265-acre botanical garden, owned by the City of Boston, Massachusetts, has living collections that consists of botanical and horticultural taxa and woody species of North America. Collections of historical interest include plants introduced from eastern Asia.Highlights in the plant collection include Acer griseum, Stewartia pseudocamellia, and Hamamelis vernalis.In addition to the above, the garden holds the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Collection of Rosaceous Plants. Its curvilinear design complements the naturalistic style established by Sargent and Olmsted.The collection of shrubs and vines contain Genera Daphne, Viburnum, and Ilex, Clematis, Actinidia, Wisteria, and dwarf members of the acid-loving rhododendron family. Other attractions include the Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection, herbarium collection, more than 380 lilac plants of approximately 180 different kinds, conifers and centenarians.The library at the arboretum contains more than 40,000 volumes and 25,000 photographs and includes an archive that serves as a repository for 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century horticultural and botanical collections.In addition, it offers an internship program, apprenticeship program, and research fellowships. Public programs that include both scholarly and semi-popular works are offered to increase visitor's enjoyment.Educational programs offer school groups and the public a wide range of lectures, courses, and walks focusing on the ecology and cultivation of plants.
Arnold Arboretum: How Frederick Law Olmsted And Charles Sargent Created A National Historic Landmark
“A visitor driving through the arboretum will be able to obtain a general idea of the arborescent vegetation of the north temperate zone without even leaving his carriage,” said Charles Sargent, who was hired as founding director of Boston’s Arnold Arboretum in 1873. “It is hoped that such an arrangement, while avoiding the stiff and formal lines of the conventional botanic garden, will facilitate the comprehensive study of the collections, both in their scientific and picturesque aspects.”
Sargent (1841-1927), an expert on woody plants and a cousin of painter John Singer Sargent, recruited landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903), who had begun developing New York’s Central Park with English architect Calvert Vaux in 1857. Sargent wanted Olmsted to partner with him to design carriage roads through the arboretum to reveal major planting arrangements following the then generally accepted plant taxonomy system of English botanists George Bentham and Joseph Hooker.
“A park and an arboretum seem to me to be so far unlike in purpose that I do not feel sure that I could combine them satisfactorily,” Olmsted wrote to Sargent on July 8, 1874. But he came to warm to the drive-through idea.
Leon Abdalian, “At Arnold Arboretum,” May 1922. (Boston Public Library Arts Department)
Named a National Historic Landmark in 1966, Arnold Arboretum now occupies 281 acres sprouting with some 17,105 accessioned plants representing 3,846 botanical and horticultural taxa. Plantings highlight woody species of North America and eastern Asia, with especially comprehensive plantings of beech, honeysuckle, crabapple, oak, rhododendron, and 397 lilac plants representing 179 kinds.
This spring’s Lilac Sunday, celebrated annually at the Arnold Arboretum since 1908, was planned for May 10, 2020, but has been cancelled to prevent the spread of coronavirus. “The lilacs will bloom as usual over the course of several weeks (typically late April through mid-to-late May),” the institution writes. “We invite you to visit during these weeks of peak lilac bloom, but request that you practice social distancing from one another and respect our plants.”
Much of the land that became the Arnold Arboretum had been part of 278 acres granted to Captain Joseph Weld for his service in the Indian Pequot War by the colonial legislature in 1640. Weld’s son, an officer in the Revolutionary War, sold 120 of the acres to Benjamin Bussey in 1806.
Bussey (1757-1842), a Revolutionary War veteran, goldsmith, merchant and wool mill owner, assembled an estate there through purchases over four decades. He erected a Federal-style mansion and an observatory with two telescopes behind the house. He grew cherry trees and vegetables, raised sheep and cattle, and outfitted the landscape with sculptures.
Leon Abdalian, “Bird’s eye view of the lilacs, Arnold Arboretum,” May 25, 1916. (Boston Public Library Arts Department)
“Some lilacs on the grounds were planted by Bussey soon after purchasing the property, and those same hedgerows can still be seen on the east side of Bussey Hill, not far from the remains of a building foundation from that era,” Richard Schulhoff, then the arboretum’s deputy director, said in a 2009 speech “History of Arnold Arboretum” that he delivered to the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.
Bussey welcomed the public to tour his estate. And at his death in 1842, he donated the property to Harvard College for the promotion of agricultural education. This lead the school to create the Bussey Institute by 1871.
Frederick Law Olmsted, “Map of proposed arboretum, showing its outlines and local connections, with a study for public drive passing through it,” 1879. (Boston Public Library | Norman B. Leventhal Map Center)
Around this time, Harvard received $100,000 from the estate of New Bedford whaling entrepreneur James Arnold (1781-1868). Arnold had wanted the funds to advance horticulture and agriculture. The trustees of his will decided Harvard would be a good institution for this, so gave the money to the school “for the establishment and support of an arboretum which shall contain, as far as practicable, all the trees [and] shrubs … either indigenous or exotic, which can be raised in the open air.”
Olmsted first visited the former Bussey estate in 1874, and focused on the design–part pleasure ground, part encyclopedic tree museum–between 1878 and 1885. Sargent’s problem was how to get it to work financially. Their solution was to cut a deal with the city of Boston.
“The City would gain an extensive and beautiful public ground for a quarter part of what it would otherwise have to pay for it and would be permanently relieved of the larger part of the cost of improving and maintaining it,” Olmsted and Sargent wrote in a November 1880 “Proposition as to a Public Ground to include the Harvard Arboretum.”
Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles Sargent, Proposition as to a Public Ground to include the Harvard Arboretum,” 1880. (Boston Public Library |
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center)
But the Boston City Council declined the proposal in October 1882. Sargent and Olmsted rallied supporters, including a petition drive, which convinced city leaders to change their minds before the close of the year.
Sargent and Olmsted worked out an 1883 lease that would combine city-owned land at the north and south, with the Harvard property in the middle. Harvard would give its land to the city, then lease it back at $1 a year for 1,000 years. Boston would pay for building and maintaining the walls, roads and other infrastructure and provide security. Harvard would oversee the planting and keep the grounds open as a public park, free of charge, from sunrise to sunset every day of the year.
“Parks: View of stone wall and fence in Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain,” ca. 1855–1895. (Boston Public Library Arts Department)
Wooden stakes marked out the planned arboretum. Crews of men and horses and carts constructed roads through the property. Tree planting began in 1885 with beech, ash, elm and hickory. Some of the trees growing today are original plantings.
Olmsted would come to integrate the arboretum into his 7-mile-long “Emerald Necklace” network of parks that he designed for the Boston Parks Department between 1878 and 1892. Sargent would spend more than five decades shaping the Arnold Arboretum.
The Boston Globe opined in 1912: “Prof. Sargent has made of the Arboretum not a formal garden of set walks and arrangement of trees, shrubs and plants, but a natural park with steep cliffs, lofty hills, level stretches and undulating meadows, with brook and ponds and wooden knolls.”
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Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot, Landscape Architects, “Plan of portion of park system from Common to Franklin Park,” 1894. (Boston Public Library |
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center)
• “Arboriculture and Forestry: Prof. Charles Sprague Sargent, Director of the Arnold Arboretum, Has Spent Most of His Life in the Study and Culture of Trees and Shrubs–Served in Civil War. Traveled Extensively To Gather Trees and Plants,” Boston Daily Globe, June 20, 1912.
• “History of Arnold Arboretum” talk by Richard Schulhoff to Jamaica Plain Historical Society, 2009.
Leon Abdalian and George Braun, “Lilac view, Arnold Arboretum,” June 3, 1939. (Boston Public Library Arts Department) Leon Abdalian, “Arnold Arboretum,” May 17, 1950. (Boston Public Library Arts Department) Lilacs at Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Lilacs at Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Geo. H. Walker & Co, “Map of Arnold Arboretum showing location of the trees and shrubs,” 1900. (Boston Public Library | Norman B. Leventhal Map Center) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo) Ruins at Arnold Arboretum, Boston, May 5, 2020. (Greg Cook photo)
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Arnold Arboretum has been a place for Bostonians to find refuge from crowded city life for nearly 150 years, and during the pandemic it offered safe respite to waves of visitors grown weary of the isolation of home.
In fact, an estimated 2-3 million people visited the Arboretum just since the end of March, according to officials. While many outdoor spaces temporarily closed due to coronavirus, this outdoor museum of trees and Frederick Law Olmsted-designed landscape remained open to the public. In addition to the rise in in-person guests, the Arboretum has also drawn a larger audience for its remote programming.
Arboretum Director William “Ned” Friedman, who also serves at the Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, worked with colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School for Public Health early on in the pandemic to maintain proper protocol, like mask wearing and social distancing, to ensure the safety of staff and visitors alike.
“The Arboretum is one of the very few botanical gardens that has remained open throughout the pandemic,” Friedman said. “People are so cooped up. You don’t have anywhere you really can go and feel totally safe and relaxed. Interestingly, these venerable old institutions like the Arboretum that the public often takes for granted turned out to be the one place where you could get a sense of renewal in troubled times.”
“Right now, we’re working to analyze demographic data to help us understand the different audiences who come through our 13 different gates” Friedman said. “We want to understand where people are coming from and make sure we are directing our attention and staff to developing programming that ensures that everyone feels truly welcome.”
Horticulturalist Laura Mele piles some freshly cut limbs at the Arnold Arboretum.
“We’re working with demographic data to track how people come through different gates [but] the spitball numbers are phenomenal,” Friedman said. “We want to understand where people are coming from and make sure we are directing our attention and providing programming so that everyone feels invited.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, the Arboretum’s on-site staff was reduced from 20 full-time members to two to four per day, while remaining employees worked remotely from home. The full staff returned to the grounds in the summer when operations were expanded, but with shifts adjusted to minimize overlap.
Arboretum horticulturist Laura Mele is one of the staff members responsible for managing the care of plants in her assigned zone on Peters Hill, including pruning, mulching, pest management, and maintaining plant health. Though she said her responsibilities have largely remained the same during the pandemic, it has been a difficult adjustment to work separately from her teammates.
“I am grateful that I am able to work every day in a safe manner [but] it has been hard to be at work with people without actually being at work with them,” Mele said. “I can go many days without seeing some co-workers, and even then, it’s a wave from afar. Pre-pandemic, the amount of comradery and team-building at the Arboretum was very palpable and one of my favorite things about the job.”
Horticulturist Brendan Keegan said it’s been “increasingly difficult to remember what work was like prior to the pandemic,” but he has found great value in the influx of new visitors.
Rachel Lawlor carries an armload of cuttings.
“The pandemic highlighted how much I underestimated the value of public urban green space to our visitors,” Keegan said. “Especially during the early stages of the lockdown, when many other parks and outdoor areas were closed, you could tell that people were driving in from around the city just for an opportunity to get outside.”
Being in contact with nature provides many physical and mental health benefits. In an April 2020 Washington Post op-ed written by Friedman, Professor of Epidemiology Marc Lipsitch, and Associate Professor of Exposure Assessment Science Joseph Allen, the three discussed positive effects such as decreased negative thoughts, reduced symptoms of ADD and ADHD in children, decreased stress, and reduced mental fatigue.
“There are real, tangible, measurable benefits of spending modest amounts of time in the natural world,” Friedman said. “Access to nature is a human right, especially in cities. It’s about your personal well-being.”
Friedman said the Arboretum is also looking to keep some of the programs developed during the past year. Before, most of its programming took place in classrooms or in person and on-site, but online webinars have allowed thousands more people to access the events.
“We’re thinking about how to take what we’ve learned from the pandemic and advance our digital communications strategy so that we can reach everyone around the world,” Friedman said.
Keegan said he has also enjoyed connecting with a more international audience through these virtual events.
“It’s funny to think that in the past these types of presentations primarily attracted a few dozen people from surrounding neighborhoods,” he said. “Now that they are remote, the exact same topic today might draw in hundreds of attendees, including people not just from different neighborhoods but from different countries as well.”
The Arboretum is now planning for a new mobile visitor center, which will include books, digital monitors, and maps, all manned by staff.
“The old model for a visitor center was you come to us, and the new model is that we’re going to come to you,” Friedman said. “We are going to be rotating our mobile visitor center to each of our gates and adjacent neighborhoods to meet many more of our neighbors and help them deepen their relationship with the Arboretum and derive more benefits from their experience.”
They ravish the eye. They intoxicate the nose. For more than a century, susceptible folk have come in mid May to a “Lilac Sunday” festival at the Arnold Arboretum to revel in one of North America’s oldest and largest collections of lilacs. (The ladies above are taking them in in 1926.) Grouped together today are more than 375 lilac bushes of 180 kinds. They include both pure species and nearly 140 cultivars, plants selected and named because of certain horticultural merits—color, scent, flower size, or habit of growth.
Although lilacs have adorned the American landscape for many years—George Washington and Thomas Jefferson write of planting them—like most of us they are not native here. Of the 20-plus species, two come from Europe, the rest from Asia. The common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, is an East European. It was so energetically grown and selected by French nurserymen that that country earned a reputation for fine lilacs, the so-called French hybrids. Now Russian, American, and Canadian hybridizers have joined the party.
In 1978, John H. Alexander III, plant propagator of the Arnold Arboretum, searched a list of seed offered for sharing by the Botanical Garden of the Chinese Botanical Academy in Beijing. On it was a lilac it was of uncertain identity, but Alexander wanted to grow it anyway. He sent for the seed and planted it in Boston the next year. Eighteen seeds germinated. One of the resulting plants turned out to be exceptional, and he introduced it as Syringa x chinensis ‘Lilac Sunday’. “With the number of lilac cultivars approaching a thousand,” he wrote in a 1997 issue of the arboretum’s magazine Arnoldia, “the decision to add yet another can’t be taken lightly, even though…S. x chinensis can claim less than 20 cultivars.” Alexander selected ‘Lilac Sunday’ for its fragrance, color, abundance of flower, and especially its growth habit: it produces flower panicles not only at the branch tips, like the common lilac, but along the stems, weighing the arching branches down with blossom. ‘Lilac Sunday’ struts its stuff above left. Get the full impact—scheduled this year for Mother’s Day, May 13—at the one-hundred-and-fourth Lilac Sunday.
Egyptian Pharaohs planted exotic trees and cared for them they brought ebony wood from the Sudan, and pine and cedar from Syria [ citation needed ] . Hatshepsut's expedition to Punt returned bearing thirty-one live frankincense trees, the roots of which were carefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage this was the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported that Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her Deir el Bahri mortuary temple complex. 
In an arboretum a wide variety of trees and shrubs are cultivated. Typically the individual trees are labelled for identification. The trees may also be organised in a way to aid their study or growth.
Many tree collections have been claimed as the first arboretum, in most cases, however, the term has been applied retrospectively as it did not come into use until the later eighteenth century.
Probably the most important early proponent of the arboretum in the English-speaking transatlantic world was the prolific landscape gardener and writer, John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843) who undertook many gardening commissions and published the Gardener's Magazine, Encyclopaedia of Gardening and other major works. Loudon's Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, 8 vols., (1838) is probably the most significant work on the subject in British history and included an account of all trees and shrubs that were hardy in the British climate, an international history of arboriculture, an assessment of the cultural, economic and industrial value of trees and four volumes of plates. Loudon urged that a national arboretum be created and called for arboreta and other systematic collections to be established in public parks, private gardens, country estates and other places. He regarded the Derby Arboretum (1840) as the most important landscape-gardening commission of the latter part of his career because it demonstrated the benefits of a public arboretum (for more details see below). Commenting on Loddiges' famous Hackney Botanic Garden arboretum, begun in 1816, which was a commercial nursery that subsequently opened free to the public, for educational benefit, every Sunday, Loudon wrote: "The arboretum looks better this season than it has ever done since it was planted. The more lofty trees suffered from the late high winds, but not materially. We walked round the two outer spirals of this coil of trees and shrubs viz. from Acer to Quercus. There is no garden scene about London so interesting". A plan of Loddiges' arboretum was included in The Encyclopaedia of Gardening, 1834 edition. Leaves from Loddiges' arboretum and in some instances entire trees, were studiously drawn to illustrate Loudon's encyclopaedic book Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum which also incorporated drawings from other early botanic gardens and parklands throughout the United Kingdom. 
One example of an early European tree collection is the Trsteno Arboretum, near Dubrovnik in Croatia. The date of its founding is unknown, but it was already in existence by 1492, when a 15 m (49 ft) span aqueduct to irrigate the arboretum was constructed this aqueduct is still in use. The garden was created by the prominent local Gučetić/Gozze family. It suffered two major disasters in the 1990s but its two unique and ancient Oriental Planes remained standing.
Asia – India Edit
The arboretum at Ooty was established in 1992 with an aim of conserving native and indigenous trees it occupies 1.58 hectares (3.9 acres) near Ooty lake. It was established during the year 1992 and maintained by Department of Horticulture with Hill Area Development Programme funds. The micro watershed area leading to Ooty lake where the arboretum is now located, had been neglected and the feeder line feeding water to Ooty was contaminated with urban waste and agricultural chemicals. The area is the natural habitats of both indigenous and migratory birds. During the year 2005–2006, it was rehabilitated with funds provided by the Hill Area Development Programme (Rs 1,250,000) by providing permanent fencing, a footpath, and other infrastructure facilities.
Both indigenous and exotic tree species are included about 80 trees were previously present, [ clarification needed ] including the following species: Alnus nepalensis, Calistemon lanceolatus, Cupressus macrocarpa, Eugenia apiculata, Hypericum hookerianum, Podocarpus elongata, Populus deltoides, Quercus macrocarpa, Salix babylonica, Taxodium mucronatum, Prunus pissardii.
The following tree species were also planted: Celtis tetrandra, Dillenia pentagyna, Elaeocarpus ferrugineus, Elaeocarpus oblongus, Evodia lunuankenda, Glochidion neilgherrense, Ligustrum perrotetti, Litsaea ligustrina, Litsaea wightiana, Meliosma arnotiana, Meliosma wightii, Michelia champaca, Michelia nilagirica, Pygeum gardneri, Syzygium amothanum, Syzygium montanum, Alnus nepalensis, Viburnum erubescens, Podocarpus wallichianus, Rhodomyrtus tomentosa, Rapanea wightiana, Ternstroemia japonica, Microtropis microcarpa, Psychotria conjesta, Photinea notoniana, Cedrela toona, Symplocos cochinchinensis, Elaeocarpus ganitrus, Platanus orientalis, Jacaranda mimosaefolia, Magnolia grandiflora etc.
Australia and New Zealand Edit
Probably the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees in the Southern Hemisphere can be found at Eastwoodhill Arboretum, Ngatapa, Gisborne, New Zealand.
The arboretum is the realization of the dream of William Douglas Cook (1884–1967), who started planting trees on his farm shortly after the First World War. The arboretum is now the National Arboretum of New Zealand, and holds some 4,000 different trees, shrubs and climbers.
Taitua Arboretum, Hamilton, New Zealand
This arboretum was offered to Hamilton residents in 1997. Trees and shrubs were planted there from 1973 by John and Bunny Mortimer to provide shelter and shade for local animals.  The arboretum is a popular picnic spot and is enjoyed by about 60,000 people every year. The twenty-two hectare arboretum contains 1500 species of trees and much birdlife. 
RJ Hamer Arboretum, Victoria, Australia
Parks Victoria RJ Hamer Arboretum, Visitors to the RJ Hamer Arboretum can take a quiet, peaceful stroll along the many walking tracks and roads providing access to the 126 hectares of breathtaking scenery and tranquil beauty that the Arboretum has to offer. The RJ Hamer Arboretum land is a small part of the original Dandenong and Woori Yallock State forest, proclaimed over 110 years ago. The RJ Hamer Arboretum is the first known occasion in which a forest style Arboretum was completely established by planting. A basic planting design was completed in 1970 and planting was carried out for the next 15 years.
The Tasmanian Arboretum, Devonport, Tasmania
The Tasmanian Arboretum was established in 1984 on the Don River in Devonport, Tasmania, Australia. The main site is 58 ha. There are over 2,500 plants in the geographic and thematic collections along with riparian revegetation. Maintenance of the collections is done by volunteers.
National Arboretum Canberra is being developed on a 250-hectare site in the Greenhills Forest areas west of the Tuggeranong Parkway and Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, Australia. It includes an existing stand of 5000 Himalayan Cedars and the 80-year-old Cork Oak plantation which were damaged by the 2001 and 2003 Canberra bushfires. It features different types of threatened and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world, including the world's largest planting of the Wollemi pine. There will eventually be 100 forests and 100 gardens with almost 80 forests planted already. 
Lindsay Pryor National Arboretum, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Located at Yarramundi Reach on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the Lindsay Pryor National Arboretum is a 30-hectare site originally planted by Professor Pryor between 1954 and 1957 to improve the view from Government House.  
Shortly before the Derby Arboretum opened in 1840, another arboretum was opened for free public access at Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington near London, modelled partly on Mount Auburn Cemetery near Boston and designed by Loddiges nursery. It was laid out with 2,500 trees and shrubs, all labelled and arranged in an unusual alphabetical format from A for Acer (maple trees) to Z for Zanthoxylum (American toothache trees). Until Kew was enlarged and opened to the public, this remained the largest arboretum in Europe. It never achieved the recognition of the better financed early nineteenth century botanical gardens and arboreta that could afford members' events, indoor facilities and curatorial staff for those who paid accordingly. However, unlike these, and even unlike the 'public' arboretum at Derby, the Abney Park arboretum always offered public access free of charge, though sometimes, by pre-arrangement a Viewing Order was needed so as not to interfere with funeral events.
An arboretum containing mostly plants from Scandinavian countries.
Atatürk Arboretum, Istanbul, Turkey
Situated on the European side of Istanbul in the northern Sarıyer district, Atatürk Arboretum covers 296 ha (730 acres) adjacent to the Belgrad Forest. The arboretum also includes a rare plant nursery operated by Istanbul University Forestry Department.
Bank Hall Arboretum, Lancashire, England
A small arboretum at Bank Hall Gardens, Bretherton in Lancashire, contains a yew thought to be at least 550 years old, the oldest in Lancashire. George Anthony Legh Keck had the arboretum planted in the gardens which were abandoned from the 1970s until 1995 when Bank Hall Action Group cleared the grounds. It contains one of two known fallen Sequoia sempervirens in the UK, Wellingtonia, dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Chinese swamp cypress and yew.  Recent additions by the Action Group include paperbark maple (Acer griseum) (2004), cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) (2005), further yew and pine trees (2006–2009) and a Ginkgo biloba (2011) for the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It also has many specimens of snowdrop, daffodil and bluebell.
Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire, England
Situated one and a quarter miles west of Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, Batsford Arboretum is tucked away on a south facing escarpment of the famous Cotswold Hills.
Bedgebury National Pinetum, Kent, England
Bedgebury National Pinetum, near Goudhurst, Kent is one of the world's most complete collections of conifers. The 300 acre Pinetum contains over 12,000 trees and shrubs (including 1,800 different species) from across five continents, many of them rare and endangered.
Located in South Derbyshire near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, with planting begun in 1992, this 9 acre Royal Horticultural Society recommended arboretum contains a large variety of rare but hardy plants and trees, including amongst many species a grove of Giant Redwoods and a substantial Liquidambar collection. The arboretum is extensively labelled with educational notes and information for many of the plants. 
Bodenham Arboretum, Worcestershire, England
Wolverley, Kiddermister, Bodenham Arboretum has 156 acres (0.63 km 2 ) contains mature woodland, specimen trees and shrubs. With a collection of over 3,000 species of trees and shrubs it includes a number of collections such as Acers, North American Oaks and Alders. There are many species of insects and resident and migrating birds with the aquatic and wet margins to the pools provide a breeding ground for many water-fowl and frogs.
Derby Arboretum, Derbyshire, England
The Derby Arboretum opened on 16 September 1840. Commissioned and presented by Joseph Strutt (1766–1844) a wealthy industrialist and major local benefactor, the Derby Arboretum was designed by John Claudius Loudon and had a major impact upon the development of urban parks. It was one of the first Victorian public parks and also unusual for the quality of its collection of trees and shrubs. Although established on only quite a small site of 14 acres, the park featured a labelled collection of over 1000 trees and shrubs and was landscaped with mounds, sinuous paths, urns, benches, statues, lodges and other features. Managed by a committee until it was acquired by the Derby Corporation during the 1880s, the Derby Arboretum was only open free to the public for two days of the week for its first four decades, the remaining days being reserved for subscribers and their families and guests. Very popular anniversary festivals were staged annually which drew crowds of tens of thousands and helped to fund the upkeep of the park. The Derby Arboretum is also significant because it was the planted counterpart to Loudon's Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum (1838) which detailed all the hardy and semi-hardy trees and shrubs of the British Isles. Within the park, the trees and shrubs were laid out according to the natural system and labelled so that visitors could identify them using the guide. 
The Derby park had a major impact on park design elsewhere including Europe, the British colonies and North America and other public parks and arboreta were established modelled on Loudon's creation and using his ideas. In 1859 for example, it was visited by Frederick Law Olmsted on his European tour of parks, and it had an influence on the planting in Central Park, New York. Industrial pollution killed most of the original plantings by the 1880s (although a few examples remain), but it has been renovated and replanted with National Lottery Heritage funding closer to Loudon's original layout and with a new cafe and visitor centre. [ citation needed ]
Dropmore Park, Buckinghamshire, England
Dropmore Park, Buckinghamshire (Bucks) England, was created in the 1790s for the Prime Minister at the time Lord Grenville. On his first day in occupation, he planted two cedar trees. At least another 2,500 trees were planted. By the time Grenville died in 1834, his pinetum contained the biggest collection of conifer species in Britain. Part of the post-millennium restoration is to use what survives as the basis for a collection of some 200 species. 
Dømmesmoen Arboret, Grimstad, Aust-Agder, Norway
Dømmesmoen Arboret is a 40 hectares (99 acres) arboretum in Grimstad municipality, Aust-Agder county, Norway. In the Dømmesmoen forest, where the arboret is planned in harmony with nature, 22 different ecosystems have been defined. The trees and plants have been planted along the tracks so that the visitors can experience and learn about them in the various ecosystems. Information about the various ecosystems are found along the tracks in the forest and park area.  Through the years, approximately 700 different species of trees and plants have been planted in the Dømmesmoen area. 
The Dømmesmoen area, where the arboret is situated, has a fascinating history. Excavations have found traces of settlements that can be dated to around year 0. There are 50-60 burial mounds from pre Viking area at Dømmesmoen,  among the densest burial mound areas found in Norway. The most famous attractions at Dømmesmoen among locals are a 400-500 year old hollow oak, and a wooden tower overlooking the town of Grimstad. 2 kilometres east of Dømmesmoen, at Fjære, Fjære church is situated. The stone church was built around year 1150, and has significant historical value dating back to the Viking area.
Golden Grove / Gelli Aur arboretum, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Golden Grove / Gelli Aur Arboretum is a collection of mature trees and shrubs that spreads over 10 acres of the Golden Grove / Gelli Aur Country Park.
Commissioned by John Campbell, 2nd Earl Cawdor, the majority of the planting took place in 1865. It is an unusual, fine arboretum and celebrated in Victorian and Edwardian times as the finest in the UK. It is built in an arc as though embracing the house, fanning out from an ancient oak which stands at the top of the terraced lawn. The natural slope enhancing the view from the house. Many of the trees are champions, they love the damp, temperate climate. Several are on the Monumental Trees website. The Great Western Red Cedar is particularly spectacular, people come from all over the world to see it.
Herbaceous plants and bulbs were planted as part of the carpet, and American and Asiatic shrubs were planted to provide colour and fragrance. The Rhododendrons are an extremely fine single variety and present a spectacular display of colour in May and June. In the Summer the arboretum is bordered by white foxgloves, interspersed with shades of pink.
The arboretum is much loved by locals but it is an irony that the fame of its youth has been largely forgotten, unappreciated, in its magnificent maturity.
The Greifswald Botanic Garden and Arboretum (total area 9 hectares, German: Botanischer Garten und Arboretum der Universität Greifswald), was founded in 1763. It is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Germany, and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. It is associated with the University of Greifswald in Greifswald, Germany.
Jubilee Arboretum, Surrey, England
This is located at RHS Garden, Wisley, Surrey, England.
Kew Gardens, London, England
The Kew Gardens botanical gardens are set within an arboretum covering the majority of the 121 hectare site.
Sargent traveled widely to see trees, shrubs and flowers, and authored the monumental work, The Silva of North America." He was one of the greatest authorities on plants in the world.
Beginning in 1902, Sargent offered seedlings of trees and shrubs to the City of Rochester. Over 368 species of these trees and shrubs were received by the Rochester parks, resulting in a near duplication of the plant material found at the Arnold Arboretum. Highland was fortunate to have been the beneficiary of many of these donations.
(“Charles Sprague Sargent (1841–1927) was an American botanist. He was appointed in 1872 as the first director of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts, and held the post untll his death. He published several works of botany. The standard botanical author abbreviation Sarg. is applied to plants he identifies.”) source: Wikipedia
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Highland Park Conservancy works in partnership with Monroe County, which manages, operates and maintains Highland Park and the Lamberton Conservatory.
We live in an age of ecosystems —of life threatened on a planetary scale by climate change—and of genomes—of life analyzed at the molecular level, unveiling our own evolutionary history and the processes that underlie all of biology. Powerful though these constructs are, if one’s views of biology, of life, are predominantly through the lenses of ecosystems and genomes, something has been lost.
I am an organismic biologist—a plant morphologist to be more precise. That means that when I think of a “unit” of biology, I am thinking about single organisms. I see individual plants, with their leaves spinning out in spirals defined by the Fibonacci series of fractional angles. I see their flowers for that instant of breathtakingly precise color, symmetry, and shape, all honed by selection to shed or capture pollen and yield the next generation. I watch as floral parts abscise and fruits are shaped to something approaching perfection for wind or animals to transport. I see bark with magnificent textures that range from smooth as paper to deeply furrowed. Yes, I know that individual plants are parts of complex ecosystems. I know that each tree is the product of the unbelievably complex and subtle interactions of the reading of the genetic code encased in every living cell of its body. But, for all of that knowledge, and for whatever nature and nurture have done to shape me, I yearn to see organisms—individual trees—to meet them, witness them, learn from them, and indeed, to age with them.
The wonderful thing about trees and other woody plants is that they do indeed age with us. I have watched a sapling bigleaf magnolia tree in my own backyard as it has grown from knee high to almost twice my height. I rejoice in each new leaf brought forth in the spring and early summer. I project ahead 20 years and imagine a magnificent tree with branches laden with platter-sized flowers and some of the largest simple leaves that can be found on a temperate tree. I am eager for this small tree to become a mature specimen—but also recoil at the notion that these 20 years will bring me considerably closer to my own maturity. On adult bigleaf magnolias, I watch the beetles pollinate flowers as they crawl across the female parts, laden with pollen. I envision next year’s leaves being born inside the protected tips of each shoot on the plant. I note the withdrawal of chlorophyll in the fall and the unveiling of deep yellow color throughout the crown of this tree. And in the winter, I take in the distinctive architecture, the “bones” of the tree, especially magnificent with an inch-thick coating of fresh snow.
I now practice my individual engagement with life—one plant, one person—at a particular place: the Arnold Arboretum, where I became director in 2011, well into a rewarding career as a professor of botany at the University of Georgia and the University of Colorado, teaching classes on the evolution and structure of plants, and conducting research on the evolutionary origin of flowering plants. Suddenly, I was surrounded by one of the world’s greatest collections of trees and other woody plants: 281 acres, designed by no less than Frederick Law Olmsted, where I could walk as often as I wished, if only I made time to do so.
After settling into my Arboretum and Harvard responsibilities, I found I had not made enough time for those walks. I resolved that I would never let a week go by without getting out onto the grounds to look at the roughly 16,000 accessioned woody plants that had beckoned me here from the Rocky Mountains. On every walk, I bring my small pocket camera and take pictures. Each night, I select the better ones, and spend additional time reflecting on what was revealed to me. And then, I share—typically three images and three paragraphs of text every few weeks. These Posts from the Collections, as I call them, are my attempt to help open up the individual plants I see to any and all, to draw readers into a new connection with nature—observed, not analyzed—through the myriad ephemeral moments of organismic beauty that surround us.
Collectively, the more than 100 Posts from the Collections that I have penned are a record of my random walks and interactions with the trees and other woody plants that reside at the Arnold Arboretum. These Posts are my way to let others in on the joys I have experienced as I have gotten to know non-human organisms on their terms: not as extensions of me, but rather as fellow living beings that can reveal their lives, history, complexity, beauty, architecture, and basic natural history if I only take the time to observe.
Anyone can make such observations, anywhere, under almost any conditions—as I happily hoped would be the case during the pandemic-constrained fall semester. To the students in my Freshman Seminar 52c, “Tree”—living in single bedrooms, under strict isolation, taking their classes remotely—the assignment to get outside each week and closely observe a single individual tree over the course of the semester provided a vital way to build a relationship with another organism and (safely distanced, outdoors) with fellow first-years. Their reactions, their photographs documenting what they saw, their perceptions of change within a single non-sentient tree during their 10 weeks in residence—all fostered connections to the larger, surrounding presence and rhythms of life when every circumstance seemed to conspire against doing so. As one student wrote, “This course has been one of the most transformational experiences that I’ve ever had. I came in expecting to learn about arborescence, but I ended up learning about myself, what it means to be human, and how to really see trees.” Indeed, trees have much to teach us.
As winter lifts, and as we hope our own isolation from the pandemic lifts, I hope in turn that by sharing some of these Posts more widely, here, I can encourage many more readers to see, and take pleasure, in the diversity of non-human organisms that surround us, as I have learned to do walking the grounds at the Arboretum, where nature unfolds to anyone willing to take the time to take it in.
• • • • •
Spruce cones dazzle
Photographs by William (Ned) Friedman
Over the years, I have come to view “spring coning” of conifers as having all of the same wonderful and ephemeral aspects of spring flowering (of flowering plants). There is temporal order among genera (larches first, pines last) and within genera (Siberian larch first) there is wonderful variety among taxa in size, shape, and color there are also subtle differences between individuals of the same taxon.
In the last two weeks I have pursued the young (future) seed cones of the 25 species of spruce (Picea) that call the Arnold Arboretum home. For me, these are the conifer equivalent of magnolias—showstoppers at peak color on a sunny day. Even the quiet fortitude of the Norway spruce breaks stride and puts on a dazzling show of yellows, pinks, and deep crimson reds (Picea abies ‘Acrocona’ 475-36*B, middle image). Picea jezoensis (Yeddo spruce 502-77*B, top image) in the dwarf conifer collection is always worth a pilgrimage. It is a tossup between the Koyama spruce (Picea koyamae 15821*B, bottom image) and the Lijiang spruce (Picea likiangensis) for deepest blood red.
If you would like to see more spruces in full spring cone, head to ArbPIX. Here you will find cones from Picea abies (Norway spruce Europe) to Picea wilsonii (Wilson spruce central China), the endangered Picea chihuahuana (Chihuahua spruce Mexico), and a host of others on full display.
• • • • •
Mountain laurels fling pollen
Photographs by William (Ned) Friedman
This week has been close to perfect when it comes to rhododendrons and azaleas at the Arnold Arboretum. Both belong to the Ericaceae, a family of plants that also includes blueberries, cranberries, and the mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia. The Arboretum has two stunning groupings of mountain laurels, and they are just beginning to get serious about floral display (middle image, from 2013). The first cluster is just down from the peak of Bussey Hill and is filled with a diversity of unique floral patterns created by the maestro of mountain laurel breeding, Richard Jayne. The second is just beyond Rhododendron Dell, on Hemlock Hill Road.
Beyond the clouds of flowers, the amazing thing about mountain laurels is the manner in which they disperse pollen. Have a close look at the large single flower above and you will see 10 curved filaments emanating from the center of the flower. These are the stamens, whose tips contain pollen. The brownish tip of each stamen can barely be seen since it is buried in a recess or “pocket” of the fused petals of the corolla. Ten stamens, 10 pockets. In the small floral bud, the stamens are originally straight, but as the flower expands, each stamen is bent backwards, creating (for the mechanically inclined) a cantilever spring under great stress. When a bee comes along (bottom), contact with the stamen releases the spring and pollen is flung, many inches, in the blink of an eye.
While picking flowers is strictly prohibited at the Arnold Arboretum, there are no rules against interacting with the stamens of mountain laurels. Bring a pen or pencil, and carefully tap against a stamen to see the results! I hope you will be amazed at what nature has wrought.
• • • • •
Photographs by William (Ned) Friedman
Everyone has heard of killer bees. But what about killer magnolias? That kill bees? Such is the case with the wonderful bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla). For several years, I have been tracking this phenomenon at the Arnold Arboretum in the specimens growing amidst the hickory collection. So, how do I know that bigleaf magnolias kill bees?
Every June, I have a look inside the huge flowers (more than a foot in diameter when the tepals are fully reflexed). Lo and behold, there are frequently bees either in a state of stupefaction, flying erratically, barely moving, or not moving at all. Look closely at the large image above (top), a seemingly perfect picture of natural domesticity. A honey bee (blue arrow) is just about to alight on the reproductive parts of the flower to collect and be covered in pollen. Now look closely at the lower tepal (petal-like structure) and you will see a very dead bee (yellow arrow) surrounded by stamens (pollen producing organs) that have abscised. The middle image is a closeup of this scene, with ants (alive) going about their business. In the bottom image, a scene of carnage might not be obvious in the still life of a photograph, but the bee at the top of the cone-like female parts of the flower is paralyzed or dead, as are the two bees at left, and the bee at right (yellow dots). The bee on the bottom is very much alive, for now (blue dot). The appropriately named long-horned beetle (green dot) is moving along just fine.
How to make sense of a flowering plant that kills pollinating visitors? First, bees are not a major pollinator of bigleaf magnolias. I have never seen other kinds of pollinating insects killed by bigleaf magnolias—only bees. So, it is unlikely that these trees are killing their partners in reproduction (such as beetles). What we do know, so far, is that during the first phase of flowering, the female parts are covered by a liquid secretion for a matter of hours (this fluid helps the pollen germinate). The dead bees are always wet, and this secretion seems likely to be the toxic potion. Stay tuned. We have collected this secretion, and a chemical analysis will soon reveal the key to the killer bigleaf magnolias (which is the only species of magnolia that appears to kill bees).
• • • • •
Things are looking up!
Photographs by William (Ned) Friedman
Late October’s record snowfall in Boston, along with some seriously cold temperatures, put an end to many of the November fall-color all-stars at the Arnold Arboretum. There will not be lines of people queued up to take selfies in front of the Japanese maples (unless crispy brown leaves are your thing). Nevertheless, year after year, irrespective of what dame nature serves up, the oak collection always dazzles in late autumn. This year was no exception.
With 1,037 oak trees in the living collections (roughly 1 out of every 15 trees at the Arboretum), these venerable giants (and even the youthful recent accessions) dominated the landscape this past week. Standing on top of Peters Hill and looking across the Arboretum’s 281 acres out to the skyline of Boston, the undulating landscape was essentially a sea of evergreen conifers and a mosaic of the peak fall colors (reds, yellows, tans, browns) of oaks (third image).
For me though, the best vantage point for an oak in full autumn regalia is at the very bottom of the tree: looking straight up, taking in each tree’s unique jutting signature of branches in near silhouette, and catching the low-angled sun lighting up the crown. Here, three grand oaks: a red oak (Quercus rubra, top), a willow oak (Quercus phellos, middle) with breathtaking golds, and a black oak (Quercus velutina, bottom) accessioned in the second year of the Arnold’s existence, 1873, still going strong.
• • • • •
Lacebark pine (겜튄漑) at its peak
Photographs by William (Ned) Friedman
Yesterday, after the light rain ended, the sun broke through and beckoned me into the Conifer Collection at the Arboretum. With the still-wet barks glistening, everything from the firs (Abies) to the pines (Pinus) to the plum yews (Cephalotaxus) was breathtaking. But nothing can possibly exceed the dramatic bark of the Chinese lacebark pine (겜튄漑), Pinus bungeana. With bark that exfoliates in the winter in large puzzle-shaped pieces, colors that range from avocado to grapefruit rind, crimson, silver, lime and even a bit of peach can all be found interdigitating on a single trunk (top). Closer examination will demonstrate that the north and south sides of the trunk differ in their color schemes (north trends more silvery white). The odd thing is that descriptions and photographs (middle, by Arnold Arboretum explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer, September 7, 1907) of lacebark pine from China always note the milk-white bark. Perhaps our trees are just not old enough yet (Meyer estimated the tree in the image to be 1,500 or more years old).
As the older red bark (about to be retired from protecting the inner tree from the outer environment) peels away, it exposes the underlying greener (photosynthetic) younger bark, ready to do a year of duty. Look down, and you will see the puzzle pieces of bark among the shed needles (bottom image).
The Arboretum has nine lacebark pines, but my favorite specimen by far is one located just off Conifer Path 663-49*C its bark is featured here. It came to the Arboretum in March of 1949 from our wonderful partners at Lushan Botanic Garden. On March 5, 2011, this tree was blown over in a winter storm. I was heartbroken. The next day, Arboretum horticulturists and arborists snapped into action, righted the tree, cabled it to a neighbor, and here we are, eight years later—a magnificent tree to behold in the winter. Make this a destination soon.
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Acorns aren’t built in a day (let alone a year in many cases)
Photographs by William (Ned) Friedman
August is acorn watching time. While we tend to notice acorns in the autumn when they come tumbling down to earth, most of the action is in late summer. This past week, I have been targeting every oak at the Arnold Arboretum that has generously offered its acorns on lower branches. The amazing thing is how many of these future acorns (the fruit) are still not visible and are entirely enclosed by the cupule (the cap)! What gives?
Pictured are four species of oaks at the Arboretum. From top: Quercus variabilis ( 17631*B ) , the Oriental oak, native to eastern Asia Quercus castaneifolia ( 239-38*D ) , the chestnut-leaved oak, native to the Caucasus Quercus dentata ( 1590-52*B ) , the daimyo oak, native to eastern Asia and finally Quercus acutissima ( 1257-80*A ) , the sawtooth oak, native to a broad swath of temperate Asia. The cupules themselves are beautiful and varied. The scale leaves for each species have different textures and colors. One of the most dramatic right now is the daimyo oak, whose cupule scales are edged by a red stripe!
Rest assured that by autumn, each of these cupules will sport a full-fledged acorn fruit. But, in the meantime, the mother tree has a lot of provisioning to do to fill the fruits. For now, enjoy the cupules, which are magnificent in their own right. And keep watching to see the amazing transformation of each acorn from a small hidden structure encased in a beautiful cupule to the mature embryo-laden vessel that gravity will release in the autumn.
Bonus information: Oaks either take one growing season to mature an acorn from a flower or two. In the case of the “biennial” species, these truly are among the slowest flowers/fruits in the world. Flowers open and pollination occurs in spring of the first year followed by seemingly very little else for another 12 months. Then, slow expansion of the cupule in the spring and summer of the second year. Finally, in mid-summer of year two, the future seedling is born and the rest is a mad dash to fill the acorn with food for this next generation. So, even though all four oak species pictured here are at relatively the same developmental stage right now, and will have full-sized acorns in just a couple of months, two of them, the sawtooth oak and Oriental oak, were born (bloomed) in May of 2019!
More ways to enjoy the Arnold Arboretum collections
Join William (Ned) Friedman on a virtual walking tour at arboretum.harvard.edu/walks/directors-tour or visit the Arboretum online at arboretum.harvard.edu. Sign up to receive Posts from the Collections at arboretum.harvard.edu/sign-up. This article’s online version contains accession numbers for some specimens highlighted in the text. Those numbers link to an Arboretum map indicating the specimens’ locations.
William (Ned) Friedman is Arnold professor of organismic and evolutionary
biology and director of the Arnold Arboretum.
Photo by Daderot, CC BY-SA 3.0
Harvard University’s historic and preeminent Arnold Arboretum, part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace, is a scientific research station, a public park, and a tree museum. The innovative design of the 281-acre site is the result of collaboration between landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles Sprague Sargent, director of the Arboretum and a leading proponent for national forest conservation. A reflection of the vision of its co-designers, the Arboretum became a destination on the Emerald Necklace after its founding.
Harvard College established the Arboretum in 1872 through a bequest of money from whaling merchant James Arnold, hiring Sargent as director the following year. He hoped to build an international collection of woody species of North America and eastern Asia and arrange it according to the best scientific classification system of the day. Sargent also wanted the Arboretum grounds to have an aesthetically pleasing, park-like appearance. He contacted Frederick Law Olmsted in 1874 and invited him to collaborate on the project.
Olmsted was initially concerned that it might not be possible to combine designs for an arboretum and a park successfully. Eventually, he became enthusiastic about the project and developed a preliminary plan for the Arboretum in 1878. The ambitious project was an expensive undertaking that took four more years before the vision became a reality. A creative lease agreement between Harvard College and the City of Boston in 1882 made the Arboretum a part of Boston’s new park system. Boston gained title to the land with Harvard retaining a 1,000 year lease, renting for $1 per year. As agreed, the Arboretum staff maintains the plant collection and opens the grounds to the public, free of charge, and the city maintains the road system and provides police surveillance.
Arnold Arboretum is home to over 7,000 plants representing 4,544 different types, which are organized by species and family. Inspired by the university’s desire to collect plants, Sargent, during his tenure at the Arboretum, traveled to Asia and throughout the United States looking for plants that would grow in the New England climate. He brought many of his finds back to Boston. Though the Arboretum is his best-known accomplishment, Sargent was a prolific writer. His research led to a 14-volume work, Silva of North America, in which he described and illustrated all known species of trees of Canada and the continental United States.
All land but two areas—the Walnut Street and South Street tracts, which are owned directly by the university—are open to the public, and free guided and self-guided walking tours take visitors along the Arboretum’s paths. The Hunnewell Building Visitor Center provides exhibits, a gift shop, children’s activities, a horticultural library, maps, and staff assistance. An onsite facility conducts scientific research and offers a wide variety of public education programs. The Secretary of the Interior designated the Arboretum a National Historic Landmark in 1966.
The Arnold Arboretum's Visitor Center is located in the Hunnewell Building at 125 Arborway, Boston, MA. The Arboretum is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
To discover more Massachusetts history and culture, visit the Massachusetts Conservation Travel Itinerary website.
"Why, you have a second arboretum here. We never dreamed there was a place like this."
Blithewold's trees have attracted attention throughout its history. From the mid to late 1800s, former owner, John Gardner planted many of the exotic trees that so excited the visitors from the Arnold Arboretum in 1926. Today the maturity of the collection, as a whole, is one of the character-defining features of the property, and it continues to draw visitors including botanists, garden groups and home gardeners looking for ideas and inspiration.
We are fortunate to have landscape architect John DeWolf's handwritten notes from 1895 containing his original vision for the property. He designed an informal landscape of gently sloping lawns with wide borders of flowers, trees and shrubs. Gravel paths meandered through the grounds to each distinct garden area. DeWolf laid out the Bosquet, planted a Nut Grove and designed an extensive Shrub Walk from the Bosquet to the Bay.
DeWolf heeded Blithewold's owners Augustus and Bessie Van Wickle's request for exotic as well as native trees and planted species from Europe, China and Japan as well as North America. It was thanks to his design that a border of protective evergreens grows along the northern edge of the Great Lawn, while deciduous trees and shrubs provided shade and interest along the south side. Nursery lists from 1908-1911, included hundreds of woody plants representing scores of species. Today there are about 500 species in a collection of approximately 2,000 trees and shrubs. Metal plant labels identify many of the plants. The collection boasts a variety of flowering trees and shrubs, weeping forms of deciduous and evergreen trees and venerable specimens of native trees.
The horticultural staff continues to propagate the property's most unusual or hard- to- find plants and maintains a replanting program to replace trees that have reached the end of their lifespan.
Blithewold offers its visitors today the same kind of experience enjoyed by its owners and their friends a century ago. Everywhere one walks, or looks, is something that was inspired by the family's love of plants, gardens and this very special place by the Bay.