Plants

January

There is no better time to come and enjoy our impressive evergreens. Mount Auburn’s conifer collection is noted for its size and diversity. With more than 80 different taxa and more than 1,500 plants, it is comparable to the conifer collections at … Continue reading

February

Now is a great time for a second look at many of our deciduous trees and shrubs. Even without their more showy foliage and flowers, many of our plants have something to contribute to the winter landscape. From the the impressive size and shape of some trees … Continue reading

March

Early signs of spring appear throughout the landscape in March.  The cheerful yellow blossoms of witchhazel that appear early in the month and the beautiful carpets of scilla  that emerge by month’s end remind us that warmer days are soon on their way. … Continue reading

April

Mount Auburn is painted in shades of yellow, pink, white and lilac thanks to the daffodils, forsythia, magnolias, and redbuds now blooming.  For many, though, it is the April flowering of Mount Auburn’s 20+ varieites of ornamental cherries that truly signal spring’s arrival. … Continue reading

May

It is no wonder that Mount Auburn welcomes so many visitors each May.  Flowering dogwoods, crabapples, lilacs, and azaleas are just some of what is on display.  If you’ve never been to the Cemetery, now is the time to make … Continue reading

June

Though May might be the peak of spring bloom, there is still plenty of interest in June.  Rhododendrons, Mountain Laurel, and Kousa Dogwoods add plenty of late-spring color to the landscape. The annual and perennial plants planted in flower beds throughout … Continue reading

July

In July, make your way out to Willow Pond for a glimpse of our butterfly garden at its peak. As you walk at to the pond, you’ll notice a number of summer-blooming trees and shrubs adding seasonal interest to the … Continue reading

August

Late summer blooming ornamentals provide plenty of reasons to visit Mount Auburn, though perhaps the best reason to visit the Cemetery in August is to seek shade beheath the Cemetery’s dense canopy of shade trees.  Maples and oaks are among our shade … Continue reading

September

As the last of our summer-blooming plants make a showing in September, other plants begin showing the tell-tale signs of autumn’s approach.  Our wildflower meadow, located at  Washington Tower, is now at its peak as we bid farewell to one … Continue reading

October

By mid-October Mount Auburn’s landscape is awash in color.  As our many deciduous trees and shrubs begin to transform their foliage into jewel-tone shades of red, orange, yellow, and purple, other plants set out their fall fruits and nuts. Here are some … Continue reading

November

The diversity in Mount Auburn’s collection of trees ensures an prolonged foliage season each fall.  Even in November, there is still plenty of color in the landscape. From our noble oaks displaying autumn color to the fall-blooming witchhzel, there is plenty to see at the Cemetery.  Here are … Continue reading

December

As our deciduous plants drop their last leaves we welcome the winter season. Now is the time to explore Mount Auburn’s many plants displaying four season interest.  The diversity in our horticultural collections ensure that a visit to Mount Auburn at … Continue reading

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

Balloon Flower

September 7, 2021

bring the balloon of the mind

that bellies and drags in the wind

into its narrow shed.

            -Yeats

Herein our balloons are tangible and closer to the ground, the long-blooming Balloon Flower, Platycodon grandifloras. Before these chalice-shaped, blue to purple, but also less commonly white or pink flowers open, their flower buds swell into little sphere-shapes, hence the common name. These buds will pop audibly when squeezed, but take our word for it let them flower instead. Within the CAMPANULACEAE, the bellflower family, this genus contains only one species (monotypic) although there are numerous cultivated varieties. This species and several of its cultivars have been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit blooming from late-June to September.

Purple flowers of Platycodon grandifloras

This perennial is native to eastern Asia and will have stems reaching 2-3-feet high. Balloon Flower is used in traditional Chinese medicine. In Korea these plants have culinary usage. In Japan these flowers are included in the Seven Flowers of Autumn which since the Nara Period (710-794) have inspired poetry and art.

On a future visit to Mount Auburn allow yourself to also be inspired by these Balloon Flowers found at Asa Gray Garden and Cypress Avenue.

Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight.

            -John Ruskin

Why make so much of fragmentary blue

in here and there a bird, or butterfly,

or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,

when heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?…

            -Robert Frost

What’s in Bloom 2021

August 17, 2021

What’s in Bloom: Week of September 27, 2021

Seven-son flower, Heptacodium miconioides, Spelman Rd.

Japanese anemone, Anemone hupehensis, several locations

Panicle hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata, several locations

Compact lobelia, Lobelia, ‘Crystal Palace’, Story Chapel

Marigold, Tagetes sp., Story Chapel

Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, Hyacinth Path

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Silk Tree

August 3, 2021

as though you expected to find some strange presence behind you

coming through the diamond-paneled bay window of your sanctum

a crimson-flowered silk dressing gown

            -Keith Waldrop

Silk Tree in Garden with fountain

Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin in flower presents a curious, powder-puff-like flower, comprised not of petals but rather numerous showy thread-like stamens. Each stamen at one-inch or longer is deep-pink/reddish in their upper third and white at the bottom. The month of August, into late September and sometimes even earlier in late July is their long season of bloom.

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Ural falsespirea

July 6, 2021

…I studied bees, who were able

to convey messages through dancing

and could find their ways

home to their hives

even if someone put up a blockade of sheets

and boards and wire…

            Naomi Shihab Nye

Landscape design considerations for attracting pollinators might more recently have been increasingly focused on floriferous herbaceous perennials. At Mount Auburn we include many of those but also know that trees and shrubs are an essential part of our pollinator support. Honeybees, bumblebees, sweat bees, mason bees, mining bees among numerous other types of bees, as well as other kinds of pollinators, are attracted to the expansive cornucopia of blossoms throughout the total growing season within our landscape.

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