Visit different areas of interest in the landscape, from microclimate hills to brooks to scenic overlooks of the Boston skyline. This 281-acre jewel in Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace of parklands is both a research center and museum of Harvard University and a beloved public landscape open free to the public every day.


Featured Plants & Areas of Interest

November brings a new look to the Arboretum landscape. Even the colorful foliage will be part of the past as the month progresses. Before it does pass, pay special attention to the fabulous display in the maple collection down Meadow Road. You can even take a self guided Maple Tour that introduces you to various Aceraceae (maple) family members. A self-guided Autumn Fruits tour will give you an idea of some of the kinds of fruits found on woody plants and still visible in November. Now is also the start of a time to appreciate the structure of plants, the play of light on bare branches as they stretch against a grayer sky. Conifers begin to find a place as a highlight; although, they were always there, green and exuberant. Cones are evident on branch and ground. You are free to collect those that have fallen, so look closely at their intricate design.

Guided Tours

General guided tours, on a regular basis, end the first week-end in November, but keep an eye on the weather and register for one of our Winter Wellness Walks in December into March. Tours are free and open to the public and cover various areas of the collections and landscape. You are requested to register for the Winter Wellness Walks. These tours are appropriate for adults, See the calendar for all upcoming tours.

Tree of the Month

In November, look for our Tree of the Month, Cedrus libani (Tree of the Month – cedar of Lebanon). These conifers were originally thought not able to survive Boston’s climate; however, seeds from Turkey’s high Taurus Mountains proved viable, and currently there are 27 plants are in the collection. Eight form a grouping in Explorers Garden; however, a nice closeup, if you have just entered at the Arborway Gate, is the tree just down the driveway to your right, or the specimen accessioned in 1947 that graces the south side of the Hunnewell Building. At this time of the year you are able to see the smaller male cones on the lower part of the tree, and larger, bulbous female cones up in the middle and higher parts of the tree. For an in depth article on the cedar of Lebanon, see this 2007 piece from Arnoldia, co-authored by our Keeper of the Living Collections, Michael Dosmann.


Visitor Center

Stop by the Visitor Center (located in the Hunnewell Building) and learn more about the Arboretum’s collections, history, and events. Need advice on where to explore? Friendly and experienced Visitor Engagement staff will suggest walking routes, answer questions, and share their Arboretum knowledge. An exhibition of special juried pieces from Turning Wood: The Art of the Woodturner V, are in the display cases to November 26th.

Classes and Lectures

Hear renowned speakers discuss topics, participate in stimulating discussions, and gain insight into some of the most fascinating areas of science, horticulture, landscape design, and ecology. Prefer a more hands-on experience? Register for a class or workshop and learn how to prune a plant, grow a mushroom, or upgrade your home garden. See the calendar for upcoming classes and lectures.

Art at the Arboretum

The Light You Cannot See
Infrared Photography by Betsey Henkels
Ocotber 2019 – February 2, 2020

Betsey Henkels uses the camera to explore the world in two ways–first by noticing and appreciating objects that she might otherwise overlook, and second, by transforming ordinary scenes into prints that are compelling and unexpected. To make these transformations, Henkels experimented with different techniques–she slowed down shutter speeds, threw subjects out of focus, tipped scenes upside down, and came in close.

Then, she discovered infrared. Infrared is magical and mysterious. The photographer shoots images without knowing exactly what will show up in the print. Looking through the viewfinder of an infrared camera, only the light that’s visible to the eye is seen–not the “near infrared” light that the camera records

Henkels spent many hours in the Arboretum, photographing tree canopies, bark, and above ground roots, hoping to capture their spirits. She photographed them in infrared, which show green as white, darkens the sky, and makes clouds prominent. Strange colors are introduced, and a different fresh and surprising world of Arnold Arboretum trees is opened, even to those of us who already know and love them.

All art shows are free and open to the public. The Lecture Hall is also used for lectures, programs, meetings, and school groups, so please call 617.384.5209 for exhibition availability.