The Arnold Arboretum is launching a new series of free public events this spring, each highlighting outstanding plant collections at their peak. Collections Up Close events delve into the diversity of the Arboretum’s Living Collection and celebrate thoughtful observations of the natural world. Through staff-led tours, fun science and art activities for kids, scavenger hunts, and interactions with plant experts, participants will discover new ways to explore the Arboretum and its plants.
The first event in the 2013 series is Magnificent Maples on April 21 from 1:00 to 3:00pm. According to Julie Warsowe, Manager of Visitor Education, “Collections Up Close events focus attention on plants at their peak—though perhaps not the ‘peak’ you would expect. While some might think of maples during sugaring season or in the fall when their leaves change color, the delicate beauty and complexity of maple flowers inspires wonder as well. Once you look closely, you begin to notice details that reveal the wonderful diversity of these trees.”
Magnificent Maples will feature tours of the collection led by Michael Dosmann, Curator of Living Collections, and Nancy Rose, Editor of Arnoldia. Dr. Joshua Rapp of Harvard Forest will share his research on the relationship between maple flowering and maple syrup production. Families can enjoy a scavenger hunt, a maple flower observation station, and a photography workshop with the Boston Parks & Recreation Department’s ParkSCIENCE program.
Lilac Sunday (May 12, 10:00am to 4:00pm), a beloved Boston tradition, also fits within the Collections Up Close theme. While this year’s celebration will still spotlight the Arboretum’s extensive lilac collection, it will also encourage visitors to explore other impressive collections in bloom in mid May, from the Bradley Rosaceous Collection to the Explorers Garden. Family activities on Lilac Sunday will encourage children to observe lilacs and other spring bloomers, with an emphasis on pollinator relationships.
On June 2 from 1:00 to 3:00pm, a third Collections Up Close event will highlight the Arboretum’s rhododendron collection along Rhododendron Dell. This beautiful shaded area at the foot of Hemlock Hill provides an ideal growing location for some 280 hybrid and broadleaf evergreen rhododendrons including North American, Asian, and hybrid types.