Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Lilac Sunday - 1908
Lilacs at the Arnold Arboretum predate the institution itself. Benjamin Bussey planted lilacs on his estate, and he allowed people access to his property to enjoy it - quite unlike most property owners today. It seems to me that we should be talking about the Bussey Arboretum, but Arnold's money somehow trumped Bussey's land. At least we still have Bussey hill, brook and street. And we still have the lilacs.
Lilac Sunday is one of the institutions that all the residents of Jamaica Plain have been able to share through the years. Geography, church parishes and income all segregated the people of Jamaica Plain over the years, but all could share a trip to the Arboretum. The advantage of living in Jamaica Plain is that you don't actually have to go to see the lilacs on the traditional day. A ride down the Arborway would tell when the lilacs were blooming, and a trip on an off-day would avoid the crowds of "outsiders".
Boston Daily Globe May 25, 1908
Lilac Sunday At Arnold Arboretum. Beautiful Blooms of Many Colors and Tints Fill the Air With Their Fragrance.
In so section of greater Boston was yesterday's delightful weather enjoyed more fully than on the grounds of the Arnold Arboretum in West Roxbury.It was Lilac Sunday, and a lavish feast was spread for every lover of floral beauty. Everywhere throughout the great extent of the grounds was the charm of the rural. Every one of the thousands of trees, shrubs and plants seemed to rejoice in a renewal of life.
The special glory of the day and the place, however, was found in the flowering lilac bushes, of which there are hundreds upon hundreds, with almost as many varieties as there are bushes, and with each bush covered with the pleasure-affording blooms. The botanist can give the scientific name of each variety, but it would take an expert in colors to describe fittingly the many shades and hues of the fragrant flowers. No expert knowledge, however, is needed to enjoy the pleasures which the senses bestow.
In the clear green of the leafage, in the daintiness of the flower petals, in the vigor of the wood, in the general healthiness of the bushes and in the symmetry, this year's display is the peer of any that has preceded it.
Just now also, there are to be seen at the arboretum two double-crab trees of the order maius loensis, almost literally clothed in double rose pink blossoms. To enjoy a view of these is worth a day's journey.