Lucretius at the Arnold Arboretum

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
August 20, 2016

Lucretius at the Arnold Arboretum

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In the beginning earth gave birth to plants After their kind, and ringed with shining green The hill and plains. The flowering meadows shone With verdure. Then between the various trees A mighty race began, all galloping To be the first to shoot up into the sky.*   Yesterday, standing at the base of a […]

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Franklinia – first flower

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
August 6, 2016

Franklinia – first flower

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Yesterday, I had a hunch I might see the very first flower of the season on the Franklin trees at the Arnold Arboretum. So off I went to the Explorers Garden on Bussey Hill, where two of the largest Franklinia plants in North America reside (2428-3*A and 2428-3*B, accessioned in 1905). With temperatures approaching 90°F and a […]

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Chestnuts in flower

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
July 16, 2016

Chestnuts in flower

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A century after an imported pathogenic fungus from Asia decimated billions of American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) in the eastern United States, what remains of these once magnificent trees are the small root sprouts, easily found in forests if you keep an eye out for the distinctive toothed leaves. These sapling-sized trees grow some ten […]

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Botanical fireworks

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
July 5, 2016

Plant expedition report – Republic of Georgia

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 27, 2016

Plant expedition report – Republic of Georgia

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Steve Schneider, Director of Operations at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, has been scouting and collecting future plant accessions in the Republic of Georgia. The Arnold is teamed up with botanists from the Munich Botanical Garden, the National Botanical Garden of Georgia (in Tbilisi) and the Batumi Botanical Garden. Steve writes: Plant diversity here […]

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Leaf shadows on Peters Hill

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 18, 2016

Leaf shadows on Peters Hill

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This week, I wandered the east side of Peters Hill, admiring the landscape, taking in long views of the collections of crabapples, pears, poplars, and ginkgoes. I dove into the deep understory darkness of the old dawn redwood grove down near the railroad tracks. I was dazzled by the extraordinary work of the Arnold Arboretum […]

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Oyama magnolia in full bloom

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 12, 2016

Oyama magnolia in full bloom

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The spectacle of spring flowering magnolias at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a show to see. However, summer flowering magnolias such as the Oyama magnolia (Magnolia sieboldii), the bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla), and the sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), while more subtle, are also worthy of a pilgrimage. Right now, one of the Arnold […]

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Mountain laurels fling pollen!

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 4, 2016

Mountain laurels fling pollen!

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This week has been close to perfect when it comes to rhododendrons and azaleas at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Both belong to the Ericaceae, a family of plants that also includes blueberries, cranberries, and the mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia. The Arnold has two stunning groupings of mountain laurels, and they are just beginning […]

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Goethe in the Garden

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
May 21, 2016

Goethe in the Garden

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So, what did Johann Wolfgang von Goethe have to say about redbuds (the genus Cercis)? Goethe’s wonderful observations on redbuds were published in his Italian Journey (Italienische Reise), at a time when he was deeply immersed in reflecting upon art, antiquities, and plant form – and importantly, spending time in botanical gardens to decipher the underlying principles […]

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Colorful Conifer Cones

by Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
May 14, 2016

Colorful Conifer Cones

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Six weeks ago, larches (Larix) were in full glory with their brilliantly colored young seed cones, just emerged from winter buds. Now, spruces and firs are on display. At left, a rainbow of colors on a young seed cone of the ‘acrocana’ form of Norway spruce (Picea abies; 475-36*B; map here). This wonderful droopy tree (in […]

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