Lilacs at the Arnold Arboretum
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Welcome the Arrival of Spring at the Arboretum
Of the thousands of flowering plants in the Arboretum, only one, the lilac, is singled out each year for a daylong celebration. Mainly located on the edge of Bussey Hill Road in the heart of the landscape, the lilac collection at the Arnold Arboretum is among the premier collections of these plants in North America. Lilac Sunday has been celebrated at the Arnold Arboretum since 1908.
Tours of the lilacs and family activities are available from 10:00am to 3:00pm on Sunday, May 12. Pack a picnic. Picnicking is permitted on this day only, but food must be brought in to the Arboretum. There will only be lemonade, slush, and ice cream available on site during event hours. The landscape is open from dawn until dusk. Print a landscape map.
Street parking along the Arboretum perimeter is limited. Visitors are advised to take public transportation. No unauthorized vehicles are allowed within the gates on weekends.
Some parking spaces outside the gates are designated for special-needs visitors. A limited number of wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis at information tents in three locations: in front of the Hunnewell Visitor Center, inside the Forest Hills Gate, and inside the Centre Street Gate. They may not be reserved in advance.
With 397 lilac plants representing 179 taxa (kinds), the Arboretum holds one of the premier lilac collections in North America.
Become a member:
Join the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum as a new member at the Contributing level ($50) on Lilac Sunday and receive a special lilac plant while supplies last. Look for the membership tent near the lilacs.
T-shirt Design Contest
The winner of the 2019 Lilac Sunday T-shirt Design Contest is Sara Castellucci. Sara is a graphic designer on the exhibit development team at the Museum of Science. In her role there, she uses her design skills to share knowledge of the natural world. With 12 years of professional graphic experience, she has worked on a wide variety of projects, including print, packaging, and digital design. Sara has a enduring love of nature and gardening. She creatively squeezes every square foot of a small Boston backyard into a vegetable and flower garden, where she passionately spends many hours each summer growing food for her family. Her favorite flowers in the garden are the irises. Sara combines her artistic skill and her love of gardening by contributing photos for local gardening Instagram, @cutaway.garden.
At Lilac Sunday, t-shirts featuring the winning design for 2019 will be for sale in the Hunnewell Building Visitor Center and in the landscape near the lilac collection.
Self-Guided Lilac Tour
Signs in the landscape feature specific lilacs to reveal the amazing diversity of this special collection.
Become a member of the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum at the Household level ($50) and receive a free lilac.
Explore on Your Own
Conifer Path showcases the diversity of coniferous plants from temperate regions around the world including the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and golden larch (Pseudolarix amabilis). Mobile tour »
The Bonsai & Penjing Collection is a historic collection of Japanese dwarfed trees—some specimens are over 275 years old.
The Malus Collection (apples/crabapples) on Peter’s Hill bloom in white and shades of red ranging from pale pink to deep purplish rose creating a spectacular display among our 445 plants in this collection. Mobile tour »
- Lilac memory card game
- Design your own Mother’s Day card
- Lilac and pollinator temporary tattoos
- Fragrance tests
Visit the stage near the Center Street Gate for a variety of music performed throughout the day.
- 11:00 & 11:45am: Boston Symphony Orchestra String Quartet
- 12:30pm: Boston Symphony Orchestra Children’s Choir
- 1:30 & 2:15pm: Sheila del Bosque Jazz Trio
|Lilac Sunday 2019 Press Release [pdf]|
|Publicity Image 1 [Credit: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University]|
|Publicity Image 2 [Credit: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University]|
|Publicity Image 3 [Credit: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University]|
|Publicity Image 4 [Credit: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University]|
|Lilac Collection at the Arnold Arboretum|
|Lilacs–Plants of History, Plants of Tomorrow|
|Best Lilacs for New England Gardens|