The umbrellas of Jamaica Plain

by Jon Hetman, Director of External Relations & Communications
February 12, 2018

The umbrellas of Jamaica Plain

Sciadopitys verticillata 503-70*C

In 1861, Dr. George Rogers Hall of Rhode Island sent the first shipment of living plants from Japan to New England. Consigned to Harvard historian and horticulturist Francis Parkman, the plants were cultivated with great success in his garden in Jamaica Plain. Hall returned from Yokohama a year later, bringing more plants with him. Some […]

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Searching the Spontaneous Flora

by Matt McDermitt, Curatorial Assistant
February 12, 2018

Searching the Spontaneous Flora

Lilium superbum herbarium specimen

A “spontaneous” plant is defined as one that grows and reproduces without human care or intent. In the early twentieth century, Arnold Arboretum botanist Ernest Jesse Palmer collected over 2,000 herbarium specimens to represent the spontaneous plants that occurred on the Arboretum grounds. Palmer wanted to know how spontaneous vegetation reacted to the drastic changes […]

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Teachers learn about conifers

by Ana Maria Caballero McGuire, Children’s Education Fellow
February 7, 2018

Teachers learn about conifers

fir close observation

On Saturday, February 3, Boston area educators gathered in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall for this month’s Arboretum for Educators event highlighting conifer adaptations. Hands-on exploratory activities and a short walk near the Hunnewell Building allowed teachers to discover ways to identify four members of the Pinaceae, or pine family: fir (Abies spp.), spruce (Picea […]

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A wander on Peters Hill

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
February 5, 2018

A wander on Peters Hill

Every winter, on brisk sunny days (the colder the better), I find myself drawn to Peters Hill. Last week was no exception. An occasional dog walker or jogger – but no one wandering “off-road” amidst the collections. This wonderful sense of solitude is only broken when I lift my gaze and the Boston skyline appears […]

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A giant among dwarf conifers

by Jon Hetman, Director of External Relations & Communications
January 31, 2018

A giant among dwarf conifers

Dwarf Alberta spruce

The discovery and introduction of Picea glauca var. albertiana f. conica is a remarkable example of horticultural discovery as happenstance. In 1904, staff members Alfred Rehder and John G. Jack took a stroll while waiting at a train station near Lake Laggan, Alberta, and noticed some unusual dwarf spruces growing nearby. They speculated that a […]

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In the Pines

by Nancy Rose, Editor of Arnoldia
January 17, 2018

In the Pines

pinetum [noun]: a plantation of pine trees; especially: a scientific collection of living coniferous trees The section of the Arboretum roughly west of Valley Road and north of Hemlock Hill Road is known as the Conifer Collection; it holds many accessions of conifers including pines (Pinus), spruces (Picea), firs (Abies), junipers (Juniperus), yews (Taxus), and […]

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Smooth and colorful bark

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
January 16, 2018

Tree Architecture Primer

by Ana Maria Caballero McGuire, Children’s Education Fellow
January 10, 2018

Tree Architecture Primer

silver maple drawing

  Despite the bitter cold on Saturday, January 6, the Arboretum for Educators program “Examining Tree Architecture” went ahead (almost) as planned. Andrew Gapinsky, Manager of Horticulture, used photographs to show attending educators the many factors behind a tree’s shape, and why it looks the way it does. Teachers also experimented with documenting tree shape […]

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Botanizing in the “Mother of Gardens”

by Meghana Srinivasan, Marketing and Communications Specialist
January 10, 2018

Botanizing in the “Mother of Gardens”

China Expedition 2017_Jonathan Shaw

With three to four times the botanical diversity of North America, China is a hotspot in our search for rare and unusual plants. Last September, the Arboretum joined a two-week expedition in Sichuan with the North America-China Plant Exploration Consortium (NACPEC). Harvard Magazine’s Jonathan Shaw shares the compelling story of the team’s journey, unforeseen challenges, […]

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Tiny house, invertebrate style

by Brendan Keegan, Landscape Crew Gardener
January 8, 2018