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

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Horticulture Highlight: Cully Heritage River Birch, Betula nigra ‘Cully’

January 30, 2018

And thy lithe boughs hang murmuring and weeping

Above her, as she steals the mystery from thy keeping…

                                -James Russell Lowell

This year as the calendar turns to February our media is full of mention of athletic gold medals, past and near future. Some, perhaps many, may be unaware that there are also gold medals for plants. In the United States, consensus for the preeminent arbiter on this topic is the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). Organized in Philadelphia in 1827, this is the nation’s oldest extant society of its kind. In 1828 they organized their first flower show and 190-years later, with a $25-million annual budget, the scope of their accomplishments is far beyond this discussion. Nonetheless in 1988, the PHS Gold Medal Plant Program which “highlights exceptional trees, shrubs, vines and perennials…evaluated and chosen for their superb eye-appeal, performance and hardiness…of zone 5-7…” commenced their highly regarded awards. (more…)

Sweet Auburn Magazine

January 16, 2018

Published biannually, Sweet Auburn is an exploration and celebration of the many facets of Mount Auburn Cemetery. Topics covered in the magazine include art, architecture, biography, burial and commemoration, conservation, design, ecology, education, history, horticulture , genealogy, preservation, and wildlife. (more…)

Horticulture Highlight: Korean Pine, Pinus koraiensis

January 3, 2018

One must have a mind of winter

To regard the frost and boughs

Of the pine-trees crusted with snow…

                –Wallace Stevens

Let’s begin this new year with something positive from Korea and Russia, as well as mention of Siberian Tigers. Pines, Pinus are the largest and most diverse genus of conifers, with at least 125 species world-wide. With two-dozen diverse species of Pinus growing within Mount Auburn, herein we profile the Korean Pine, Pinus koraiensis, one of the handsomest cold-hardy pines. As the common name implies this is native to Korea, but also to parts of northeastern China, Pacific Russia, Kamchatka and on the high mountains of the Japanese island of Honshu. (more…)

Climate-Adaptive Emergent Zone Planting Project to Improve Aquatic Habitat Resiliency

November 28, 2017

Mount Auburn has three ponds and a vernal pool within its 175 acre, urban footprint. Each water body provides habitat important for wildlife health and success. Halcyon Lake provides breeding ground for the American Toad (Bufo americanus), which after being absent from the cemetery for more than three decades, has been successfully reintroduced. A healthy, breeding population of this native amphibian now exists at Mount Auburn. Auburn Lake supports a healthy population of the native Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Willow Pond provides excellent fishing ground for the native Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). Lastly, the vernal pool at Consecration Dell provides breeding habitat for another native species, the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). Of course, habitat at each water body supports significantly more wildlife as well. Protection of habitat is an important piece of the cemetery’s institutional mission to be good stewards of the environment. (more…)