Lilac Thursday

1

Just when we were down to our last hope – that the
Celtics would draft that kid named "Noah" – it finally stopped raining.
So what to do, on one of our last days of relative freedom before the
beginning of Summer Semester and daily teaching all the way through Christmas
Break, to enjoy the break in the weather.

Let’s go to Arnold
Arboretum
to see the lilacs! Who
knew the Dowbrigade was a closet horticulturist?

The Arnold
Arboretum
, in Jamaica Plain on the south
side of Boston, is the oldest arboretum, or Botanical Gardens, in the
United States.  The land belongs to the city, and it is open to
the public, although it is run by Harvard under a long-term lease. Originally
stocked by New England sea captains and Harvard Professors bringing back
exotic seeds and saplings from voyages around the world, it now specializes
in North American and Asian flora. Besides maples, crabapples,
rhododendrons, and conifers, they have a major collection of lilacs.
over 422 plants.

Every May, the Dowbrigade grows nostalgic when the perfume
of lilacs fills the air. We grew up in upstate New York, near Rochester’s
Highland Park, which contests with the Royal
Botanical Gardens
in Burlington,
Ontario (Canada) for the title of "World’s Largest Lilac Collection".
Each claims about 1200 plants.

In Rochester, almost every house has a few bushes. We
remember, when we were young, picking multi-colored bouquets of full-bloom
lilacs every May for our grade school teacher.  Sucking up for a
passing grade, no doubt. The lilac’s don’t last long – in two weeks they
go from thin slivers of color to bare browning nubs. In this they are
sort of America’s cherry blossoms.

And the smell is divine.

If any of our hypothetical readers are within driving distance of JP, we strongly advise you to check it out. Many students from other parts of the country spend years in Boston and never find this giant gem hiding out in plain sight.

Despite being mostly colorblind, we put together a slide
show
of some pictures we shot today.  Anyone not bored to death
by pictures of flowers can view them HERE

1 Comment

  1. Mom

    May 30, 2006 @ 2:01 am

    1

    Do you remember the Lilacs that bordered our driveway on East Blvd? I believe I counted 19 bushes, most of them over 8 feet tall and each a
    different variety. I have been trying to grow some ever since moving to Maine.There is some secret ingredient in either the scenet or flavor of a lilac which is irresistable to dogs. At least Golden Retreiver dogs. Both Ambers chewed the branches to nubs. This is the second year for our latest try and I must say I believe our luck mapy have turned. A small bowl graces the living room and
    though I only cut 5 small branches the aroma does indeed permeate both the living and dining rooms. The cat doesn’t seem to care for them. She deposits her daily mole, mouse or squirrel near me on my comforter, mewing until I explain why they won’t play with her any more. Love, Mom