Golden larch, Pseudolarix amabilis

October 30, 2018

From yellow leaves a blue jay calls

Grandmothers walk out in their shawls

And chipmunks run the old stone walls

When fall comes to New England

-Cheryl Wheeler

Autumn within Mount Auburn presents an arboreal cornucopia of multiple colors. A sampling includes the reds of dogwood, maple, tupelo, Virginia sweetspire, oakleaf hydrangea, interplanted with the yellow of hickory, ginkgo, Korean mountain ash and larch among many others. One lesser known golden-yellow, which sometimes exhibit bright orange-bronze instead, is provided by the Golden larch, Pseudolarix amabilis. This native to China which grows 30-50 (100)-feet in height is one of four deciduous conifers that grow here, the others are bald cypress, dawn redwood and European larch. (more…)

The Purple Finch

October 29, 2018

Yes, this accompanying photograph by Jeremiah Trimble really is a Purple Finch. Females and immature males are brown with a bold whitish eyebrow stripe which distinguishes them from the plain faced House Finch which is much more common here in Massachusetts. The name Purple is also misleading for the color of the adult male; it’s more the color of raspberry.

Roger Tory Peterson described the Purple Finch as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.” Here in Massachusetts we tend to see more first year birds, like the photograph, than the adult males. The Purple Finch is an uncommon breeder in Massachusetts and as far as I know it has not been noted to nest in Mount Auburn since the days of William Brewster, who wrote in his Birds of the Cambridge Region (1906).” The juniper woods which once covered so much of the country lying between Mount Auburn and the Watertown Arsenal, used to attract Purple Finches at all seasons, and the birds bred there so commonly at times that on June 6, 1869, I found no less than six nests containing eggs or young within a space of half an acre.”  (more…)

Council of Visitors

October 20, 2018

Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Council of Visitors is comprised of Cemetery friends, leaders in horticulture, historic preservation, educational programming, landscape enhancement, and community leaders who support the Cemetery in accomplishing its mission and maintaining the highest standards of excellence.  Learn more about the Council of Visitors.

Mount Auburn Cemetery Council of Visitors 2018

Caroline Mortimer, Co-Chair

Franklin A. Reece III, Co-Chair

John S. Airasian, Founding Member

Jane M. Carroll, Founding Member

Elizabeth B. Johnson, Founding Member

Susan W. Paine, Founding Member

Helen Abrams

Rowena Alston

Peter W. Ambler

Melissa Banta

Elizabeth E. Barker

Claude L. Benoit

Stephanie Berk

Willa C. Bodman

Virginia J. Brady

Joanna H. Breyer

Cindy Brockway

Eliza E. Burden

W. Douglas Burden

Sharon Bushnell

Patricia Capone

Sue Carlson

William C. Clendaniel, President Emeritus

Elizabeth D. Coxe

Brian Dolan

Peter Del Tredici

Alan J. Dworsky

Suzanne R. Dworsky

Suzanne W. Dworsky

Alan Emmet

Luise Erdmann

Karen Falb

Peter Falb

David Forney

Philip V. Gerdine

Liz Goodfellow Zagoroff

Patricia N. Grandieri

Robert J. Gustavson

Craig Halvorson

Eileen Harrington

Jonathan Hecht

John F. Hemenway

Peter Hiam

Luisa Hunnewell

Nora Huvelle

Bruce Irving

Ann Holton Jenne

Laura Johnson

Wendall C. Kalsow

Joseph Koerner

Clare Walker Leslie

Jane B. Levitt

Lauren MacCarthy

Joe Martinez

Brooks Mathewson

Julie Moir Messervy

Roberto Mighty

Kyra L. Montagu

Marian Morash

Russell Morash

Keith N. Morgan

Anthony Morris

Susan Morris

Karen W. Mueller

H. Betsy Munzer

Mark Kimball Nichols

Aaron Olmstead

Denise Pappas

Erik C. Park

Richard B. Peiser

Wayne Petersen

Donald Pfister

Stephen Pinkerton

Frances G. Pratt

Harold I. Pratt

Patricia R. Pratt

Nancy Rappaport

Marilyn Richardson

David Russo

Alison Sander

Oliver C. Scholle

Julia Sheehan

E. Denise Simmons

Sherley G. Smith

Rosemarie Smurzynski

James M. Storey

Patricia L. Straus

Bob Stymeist

Ruth Thomasian

Claudia Thompson

Kate Thompson

Charles Tracy

Pamela W. Turner

Liz Vizza

Kristen Wainwright

Matt Walter

Mary Webb

Louise E. Weed

Jason Weeks

Charlie Welch

Richard H. Willis

Rosemary Wilson

Elizabeth Wylde


Eternally Green: Citizen Science Mushroom ID Walk

October 20, 2018

On October 4, 2018 Ron Trial led a citizen science mushroom ID walk at Mount Auburn Cemetery.  Mr. Trial is a former president of the Boston Mycological Club.  He served the club from the late 1970’s through the early 1980’s and remains an enthusiast for collecting and identifying fungi.  Ron also volunteers at the greenhouse at Mount Auburn.


Several current citizen scientists, as well as some new faces met Ron on Laurel Avenue, where introductions, guidebooks, and collecting parameters where discussed before the group ventured into the woodland surrounding Consecration Dell.


Each participant brought along a basic mushroom survey kit, which included: a collecting basket, pocket knife, 10x lens, wax paper, and a smart phone for photos and ID assistance via apps such as the Rogers Mushrooms App.


The group spent the next ninety minutes carefully exploring the Dell and collecting fungi for identification.  Conditions have been excellent for fungi growth, due to the mild temperatures and the rainy end of summer and start to autumn.  As we strolled through the woodland, we carefully collected sixteen species of fungi.  Common and edible mushrooms, such as the Horse mushroom (Agaricus arvensis) and the Jelly Ear (Auricularia auricula-judae) were collected, as well as many that require additional study to ensure proper identification.  Ron explained to the group that even though he has many years of experience identifying fungi, he most likely would only be able to identify about 10 percent of the species we would see.  This is not uncommon for any avid mushroom hunter and it is why it is important to take your time and make use of guidebooks and apps when attempting to ID your discoveries.


Some of the most fun and interesting things we learned were the strange and interesting names often given to mushrooms.  The Angel of Death (Amanita ocreata) which is not found here (native to the Pacific Northwest) was a favorite.


We plan to offer more mushroom ID walks in the future and Ron plans to lead a fungi training for our Citizen Science Naturalist Program in 2019.