Tag Archives: trees

Urban Nature Walk: Arnold Arboretum

On Sunday, I joined an Urban Nature Walk in the Arnold Arboretum led by Jef. Last year at this time, a few magnolias, cherries, and red maples were blooming. This year, winter still held sway with temperatures in the 30s F, a cold wind, and patches of snow hiding in shadow.

Despite the cold, we found a few plants in flower. Skunk cabbages (Symplocarpus foetidus) were popping up near the marsh.

Skunk Cabbage in bloom
Skunk cabbage in bloom

The rosegold pussy willow (Salix gracilistyla), native to East Asia, was also starting to bloom.

Rosegold pussy willow flowers
Yellow in an oval of red on a bed of cotton.

Continue reading

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Urban Nature Walk: Arnold Arboretum

Birding in the Public Garden

Cold and windy, yesterday was not the best day to visit the Boston Public Garden. But the sky was clear, and visitors were sliding along the ice on the lagoon.

A few birds were out. The usual suspects such as the rock pigeons, starlings, robins, and house sparrows. But I also managed to see a blue jay and this red-tailed hawk.

Soaring red-tailed hawk
A juvenile red-tailed hawk, yet to develop the characteristic red tail-feathers.

The blue jay was flitting about on a weeping willow that had a hole running clear through one of its branches. I wonder what creature made that happen.

A weeping willow branch with a hole in it
Eye of the Willow
Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Birding in the Public Garden

Late-Blooming Lilacs

Donald Wyman Lilac flowers
Donald Wyman Lilac

Due to a warm early spring this year, the peak bloom for most of the lilacs at the Arnold Arboretum was the weekend of April 21-22. However, over a month later, a few varieties are still in bloom (date of accession in parentheses):

  • Syringa x prestoniae ‘Donald Wyman’ (1991) – Donald Wyman lilac
  • Syringa x swegiflexa (1949) – Swegiflexa lilac
  • Syringa sweginzowii (1977) – Chengtu lilac
  • Syringa tomentella (1999) – Felty lilac
  • Syringa villosa (1907) – Late lilac
  • Syringa [Villosae group] ‘Mary C Bingham’ (1998) – Mary C Bingham lilac

Swegiflexa lilac flowers
Swegiflexa lilac

Continue reading

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Late-Blooming Lilacs

Last to Leaf Out

Spring has arrived early this year. The lilacs are in bloom. And most of the trees at the Arnold Arboretum have either bloomed or started to leaf out.

Lilacs at the Arnold Arboretum
Lilacs blooming at the Arnold Arboretum

A few species still wait cautiously. Among those that have yet to wake:

  • Ailanthus altissima — Tree of Heaven
  • Albizia julibrissin — Silktree/Mimosa
  • Catalpa ovata — Chinese Catalpa
  • Fraxinus excelsior — European Ash
  • Gymnocladus dioica — Kentucky Coffeetree
  • Rhus chinensis — Chinese Sumac
  • Robinia pseudoacacia — Black Locust
View from the top of Peters Hill
View from the top of the Arboretum's Peters Hill
Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Last to Leaf Out