Tag Archives: lilacs

Tour of the Rose Kennedy Greenway

The elevated Central Artery running through downtown Boston was dismantled starting in 2004 as part of the Big Dig. The automobile traffic that would have taken the highway now moves below ground. In its place, Boston got the Greenway. On Thursday, I took a tour of the Greenway parks.

The tour was led by Darrah Cole and Anthony Ruggiero, horticulturists working for the Greenway Conservancy, the non-profit group that manages the parks.

Our group started at the Chinatown gate. The park there has reduced green space because the community asked for a plaza where they could hold events. One end of the plaza is lined with Dutch elm-resistant ‘Frontier’ elms. These elms are a hybrid of the European field elm (Ulmus minor) and the Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia).

Frontier elms on Chinatown plaza
Frontier elms on Chinatown plaza

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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

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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
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