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Beautiful blizzard in the Arboretum

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
February 13, 2017

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Beautiful blizzard in the Arboretum

Thursday’s blizzard, while impressive, was hardly of historic proportion. But, with bone-chilling temperatures, occasional thunder, stiff winds, and sideways falling snow, there was no better time for a couple of walks in the collections. The grounds were dominated by a sense of landscape and the brilliant work of Frederick Law Olmsted who designed the Arnold Arboretum (in collaboration with Charles Sprague Sargent, the first director) in the early 1880s. Viewsheds and vistas designed (and anticipated, since the trees would never reach maturity in Olmsted’s lifetime) more than 130 years ago, pay homage to the power of his vision. Main image, peering into the pines of the conifer collection at the height of the blizzard.


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At the same time, whole organisms were a wonderful reminder of steady resilience and persistence, and the interplay of snow and tree architecture. Below left, the weeping Japanese cherry (Prunus x yedoensis ‘Shidare Yoshino’; 22542-A) that has stood sentinel at the north end of the conifer collection (in the rockery) since 1925. Bottom right, a young white oak (Quercus alba; 1179-25-C), holding its leaves, provided an almost shocking sense of color amidst the whites and grays of the blizzard at the base of Bussey Hill.

Friday morning brought clear sunny skies and even colder temperatures. To see more images during and after the blizzard, head over to my flickr slide collection here.

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