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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Ilex opaca – American holly

Ilex opaca – American holly
February 26, 2023

Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree-
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?
The wild-rose briar is sweet in spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with holly’s sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He still may leave thy garland green.

-Emily Bronte

Many decorations, especially wreaths, include the leaves and fruit of Ilex opaca, American holly. Native to the eastern United States, Ilex opaca may reach 40 to 50 feet tall in its southern range, but in Massachusetts it is more often a smaller tree, 20 to 30 feet tall, with stiff evergreen leaves. The leaves, 1 ½ to 3 ½-inches long, have several sharp spine-like points along the margin. The leaves remain on branches for two to three years before being replaced by newer leaves. The name opaca means opaque or shaded, and refers to the duller sheen of the leaves and fruit compared to the English holly, Ilex aquifolium.


Juniperus virginiana, Eastern redcedar

Juniperus virginiana, Eastern redcedar
January 25, 2023

If my decomposing carcass helps

nourish the roots of a juniper tree…

-that is immortality enough for me.

                -Edward Abbey

In many an old country graveyard, even those with few trees, one may still come across Juniperus virginiana, Eastern redcedar, its evergreen leaves perhaps once providing a metaphor for eternal life. Native from southern Maine to the Badlands of South Dakota, and south to eastern Texas, and back up through the higher Appalachians, this is a small to medium sized tree, forty to fifty-feet tall at a maximum, but often half that size. Despite its common name this is yet another tree that is not a true cedar, or Cedrus, but rather a juniper.


Horticulture Highlight: Leucothoe

Horticulture Highlight: Leucothoe
January 3, 2023

frosts will lie upon the grass

like bloom on grapes of purple-brown and gold.

The misted early morning will be cold

            -Elinor Wylie

Early morning frosts might not be favorites of many and they increase the leaf-drop of deciduous foliage as we approach winter. Now is a good time to highlight evergreen shrubs. Some visual workhorses within our winter landscape, mountain laurel, rhododendron, yew, boxwood, Japanese andromeda and Oregon grape, have already been profiled in the past.


Horticulture Highlight: Katsura Tree

Horticulture Highlight: Katsura Tree
October 6, 2022

Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across

thousands of miles and all the years we have lived.

            -Helen Keller

Many visitors to Mount Auburn come not only to be in the here and now, but also to be conveyed to another place, perhaps across time, that includes significant, even spiritual memories. For some, plant fragrances may influence or even embellish one’s feelings or mood. Throughout the calendar year, flowers with signature aromas, such as tree peony, crabapple, lilac, rose, linden and many others may evoke deep responses. With some plants it is their fragrant foliage such as sweet fern, monarda and Russian sage. Each autumn I anticipate being fondly transported to yesteryear from a less expected source, the senescing and fallen leaves of the Katsura tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum. This scent, for me, recalls cotton candy from myriad locations of childhood, decades in the past.