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

Horticulture Highlight: 1938 Hurricane

August 28, 2018

hurricane-willed,

with a mind like a tornado redefining the landscape

-Haki R. Madhubuti

Nineteen-thirty-eight certainly had an abundant amount of what everyone often refers to as “the good old days.” At the movies the Academy Award for Best Picture went to You Can’t Take it with You, starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, another comedy was Bringing Up Baby with Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and of course the leopard named Baby. The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathborne drew audiences along with Angels with Dirty Faces starring James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Humphrey Bogart and period favorites, The Dead-End Kids. Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced together again in Carefree, and Astaire had his hand and footprints cast in cement at Grauman’s Theatre in Hollywood. (more…)

Horticulture Highlight: Threadleaf Coreopsis, Coreopsis verticillata

July 31, 2018

In the dogdays of summer as muslin curls on its own heat

And crickets cry in the black walnut tree

The winds lift up my life

And set it some distance from where it was…

            -Meena Alexander

End of July, beginning of August qualify as the “dog days of summer” from the eras of the ancient Greeks and Romans (July 24 – August 24), down through time to readers of the Book of Common Prayers (July 6 – August 7), on to contemporary readers of the Old Farmer’s Almanac (July 3 – August 11). Often including the hottest stretch of summer weather, this phrase’s etymology began with an astronomical connection to the rising of Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, part of the constellation Canis major, the Greater Dog. (more…)

Horticulture Highlight: Asa Gray Garden

July 5, 2018

And all rare blossoms from every clime

Grew in that garden in perfect prime.

            -Percy Bysshe Shelley

We encourage all to visit our newly renovated Asa Gray Garden. In collaboration with the award-winning Halvorson Design Partnership and R. P. Marzilli Landscape Contractor, this garden includes a diverse mix of 130 taxa of trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, annuals and bulbs which will provide four-seasons of color, texture and interest. An enlarged central water feature and reflecting pool help create a sense of calm within this newly re-designed meditative landscape.

made him feel as if the fountain were an immortal spirit

that sung its song unceasingly

and without heeding the vicissitudes around it…

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

In lieu of specific plant discussion, we recall this garden’s namesake, the preeminent nineteenth century botanist, Asa Gray (1810-1888). The eldest of eight siblings of a farmer/tanner in Sauquoit, New York, he graduated from Fairfield Medical College in 1831. Lynn Barber in The Heyday of Natural History 1820-1870 states, “At the beginning of the nineteenth century, all laymen and most scientists believed that the earth and all the species on it had been created by God in six days towards the end of October in the year 4004 B.C.” Gray eschewed an incipient medical practice for a botanical life that led to decades of research and publishing. Later botanical renown positioned him to become the foremost American advocate of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), when in 1859, Origin of Species revealed the then heretical theory of evolution and the process of natural selection. (more…)

Baptisia australis, Blue false indigo

June 5, 2018

Hey Blue

Ink on a pin

Underneath the skin

An empty space to fill in…

                -Joni Mitchell

We do not know what Joni Mitchell was thinking when she penned these words in 1970. Although, as with much fine artistry, there are multitudinous interpretations unknown to the artist. Herein with Baptisia australis, blue false indigo we focus on the flower color and the plant’s reliable capacity to fill in an empty space. Native from New York/Pennsylvania south to Texas and Georgia, this three-to-four-foot high and wide perennial, develops into a small shrub-like mass. Its alternate, leaves are palmately compound with three 1 ½ to 3-inch leaflets, developing into a bluish-green color. The flowers occur in late May – early June on long terminal racemes. Each flower is about 1-inch long, indigo-blue, although color ranges also to pale lavender or dark violet. (more…)