I went for a walk as soon as the clouds cleared this afternoon. Judging from the forecast, spring has finally arrived and the plants at the Arboretum are starting to show it. The flower buds of red maples are ready to burst. Snowdrops are the only form of snow left in the area. And crocuses have joined the snowdrops in flower, two weeks later than last year.
Tag Archives: shrubs
The snowdrops are out! We found them near the Explorers’ Garden on Bussey Hill, along the road near the sassafras, and in the marsh, poking out amongst grass and leaf litter.
This gorgeous variety of witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Hiltingbury’) also impressed us.
I went for a brief walk in the Arboretum today. After a couple of nights where the temperature had dropped below freezing, this afternoon was bright and sunny, hitting 60 degrees. A breeze over the meadow carried with it countless cottony seeds.
On Tuesday, I walked from the Arboretum’s main gate to the shrub garden. I saw a couple of butterflies for the first time, among them a common sootywing (Pholisora catullus), a dark brown butterfly with white spots.
I found this white-dotted prominent caterpillar (Nadata gibbosa) crawling across Meadow Road yesterday. A green caterpillar with an opaque, lighter green face, it is covered with white dots. This one had two brown patches on it, perhaps some sort of infection?
Can Southern magnolia trees survive in Boston? I thought not. Even the Arboretum’s own Bulletin of Popular Information, didn’t think so, saying in May of 1911 that Magnolia grandiflora is “not hardy at the north.” That changed in 1983, when a tree was planted behind the Visitor Center. More accessible, however, is a tree just off Meadow Road behind a red maple. Planted in 1998, this cultivar — Bracken’s Brown Beauty — is doing very well.
On Sunday, Jef led a small group of us on an urban nature walk. We started at the Bussey Brook Meadow and moved on to the Arnold Arboretum, ending at the Forest Hills gate. Mosquitoes hounded us, especially in the Meadow.
Jef called the meadow a European wildflower garden. We saw some periwinkle-colored chicory flowers (Cichorium intybus) and bird’s-foot trefoil flowers (Lotus corniculatus) with orange streaks on bright yellow. These were among the many wildflowers native to Europe.
On our Friday walk around Jamaica Pond, we came across both a plant and a tree in flower. The plant, yellow toadfloax (Linaria vulgaris), has a spike of yellow flowers with orange centers.
I took photos of a wealth of natural life at the Arnold Arboretum yesterday. Among the birds, dragonflies, frogs, and plants, only one of the subjects was accessioned: Wilson’s spiraea (Spiraea wilsonii).
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).