SATURDAY, so we can get some speed up for a nice walk. (Kim will host Sunday but with food carts and lots of people). Lilacs everywhere, 138 varieties as Arnold Arboretum prepares for their traditional Lilac Sunday for Mother's Day. We'll be there the day before to avoid the crowds. After the walk, we'll get brunch on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. Feel free to suggest a place in the comment section.
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is an arboretum located in the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale sections of Boston. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and is the second largest "link" in the Emerald Necklace.
By car: 10:30a: Meet at the Visitor's Center Main Gate, Hunnewell Building.
On-street parking is plentiful and free near the main entrance.
By MBTA: 10:45 to 10:50a: Meet at the Orange Line Forest Hills entrance.
The walk will start at the Visitor's Center and wait up to 10 minutes for late arrivals.
Then walk 10 minutes to the Forest Hills T entrance to join those arriving by MBTA.
We'll continue up Peters Hill and loop back around to the gate we entered, it's about 3 to 4 miles of walking, with a few hills.
DIRECTIONS by Subway or Car
By subway: Meet other walkers at the Forest Hills Entrance at 10:45am
Take the MBTA Orange Line to its southern end — Forest Hills. Turn left as you pass through the turnstiles. Exit through the door marked "Arnold Arboretum." Proceed about 60 feet. Continue walking along the Arborway, up the hill and to the Arboretum's Forest Hills gate on your left.
Driving from the south
We'll meet at the Main Gate Visitor's Hunneman Building at 10:30am and walk 10 minutes to pick up those meeting us at the Forest Hills Entrance.
Take Route 128 north to exit 15 A, Boston/Providence Highway north. Follow through Dedham for 3.2 miles. At this point the Boston/Providence Highway is also known as VFW Parkway. Follow 2.8 miles to rotary. Go halfway around rotary (second right), staying on VFW Parkway. Go 0.6 miles to traffic light. Take left at light onto Centre Street. At the rotary, bear right onto the Arborway. The Arboretum's main entrance is about 50 yards past the rotary, on the right.
Here's a high tech AA Park Tour
Syringa (Lilac) is a genus of 12 currently recognized (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syringa#cite_note-joanzokvic-1)species of flowering (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowering_plant) woody plants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_plant) in the olive family (Oleaceae (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleaceae)), native to woodland and scrub from southeastern Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe) to eastern Asia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia), and widely and commonly cultivated in temperate areas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperate_zone).
They are small trees (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree), ranging in size from 2 to 10 metres (6 ft 7 in to 32 ft 10 in) tall, with stems up to 20 to 30 centimetres (7.9 to 11.8 in) diameter. The leaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaf) are opposite (occasionally in whorls of three) in arrangement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllotaxis), and their shape (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaf_shape) is simple and heart-shaped to broad lanceolate in most species, but pinnate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinnate) in a few species (e.g. S. protolaciniata, S. pinnatifolia). The flowers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower) are produced in spring, each flower being 5 to 10 millimetres (0.20 to 0.39 in) in diameter with a four-lobed corolla (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corolla_(flower)), the corolla tube narrow, 5 to 20 millimetres (0.20 to 0.79 in) long; they are bisexual (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_sexuality), with fertile stamens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamen) and stigma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gynoecium) in each flower. The usual flower colour is a shade of purple (often a light purple or lilac (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilac_(color))), but white, pale yellow and pink, and even a dark burgundy color are also found. The flowers grow in large panicles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panicle), and in several species have a strong fragrance. Flowering varies between mid spring to early summer, depending on the species. The fruit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit) is a dry, brown capsule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsule_(fruit)), splitting in two at maturity to release the two winged seeds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seed).
Lilacs are popular shrubs in parks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park) and gardens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden)throughout the temperate zone, and several hybrids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_(biology))and numerous cultivars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultivar) have been developed. The term French lilac is often used to refer to modern double-flowered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-flowered) cultivars, thanks to the work of prolific breeder Victor Lemoine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Lemoine). Lilacs grow most successfully in well-drained soils, particularly those based on chalk. They flower on old wood, and produce more flowers if unpruned. If pruned, the plant responds by producing fast-growing young vegetative growth with no flowers, in an attempt to restore the removed branches. Lilac bushes can be prone to powdery mildew disease.
The wood of lilac is close-grained, diffuse-porous, extremely hard and one of the densest in Europe.[citation needed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_needed)] The sapwood is typically cream-coloured and the heartwood has various shades of brown and purple. Lilac wood has traditionally been used for engraving, musical instruments, knife handles etc. When drying, the wood has a tendency to be encurved as a twisted material, and to split into narrow sticks.
Lilacs are often considered to symbolize love. In Greece (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece), Lebanon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon), and Cyprus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyprus), the lilac is strongly associated with Easter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter) time because it flowers around that time; it is consequently called paschalia.
In a poem by Walt Whitman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Whitman) called When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Lilacs_Last_in_the_Dooryard_Bloom%27d) Lilacs are often a reference to Abraham Lincoln.
Syringa vulgaris is the state flower (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_flowers) of New Hampshire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire), because it "is symbolic of that hardy character of the men and women of the Granite State."
The Arboretum shows off its collection of over 422 lilac plants, of 194 different varieties.