Boston’s beloved tradition of Lilac Sunday has been celebrated at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University since the early 1900s, and continues to delight visitors from all walks of life each year. On May 8 from 10am to 3pm, the Arboretum invites nature lovers and garden enthusiasts to explore the Arboretum landscape to view one of the world’s most significant collections of lilacs at their peak of bloom. More than a premiere horticultural event, Lilac Sunday also honors the Arboretum’s 134-year partnership with the City of Boston and its commitment to community education and engagement. As New Englanders herald the coming of spring, Lilac Sunday invites the public to appreciate the beauty and importance of plants at this time-honored and family-friendly festival.
The Arboretum’s one-of-a-kind lilac collection numbers some 369 plants representing nearly 170 different kinds of lilacs. Together, they provide a season of color and scent that extends up to six weeks each spring. As in recent years, Lilac Sunday 2016 falls on Mother’s Day, making the occasion even more special and memorable as a family destination. The event is free, though donations to the Arboretum are appreciated. Additional information about lilacs (Syringa spp.) and the lilac collection at the Arnold Arboretum is available on the Arboretum website.
Lilac Sunday showcases Boston’s unique learning landscape in bloom and offers fun, outdoor explorations for the entire family. Scheduled activities range from themed tours of lilacs and other special plant collections to an array of activities for families and children. A consortium of nearly twenty food trucks organized by Food Truck Festivals of America—including savory tacos, fall-off-the-bone BBQ, vegetarian treats, and French macaroons—will offer a wide variety of menu options from 11am to 3pm, and picnicking is allowed at the Arboretum on this special day only. Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation. The MBTA Forest Hills station on the Orange Line is nearby, and several bus lines serve the Arboretum area. Parking is limited to available curb space on streets surrounding the Arboretum perimeter.
Founded in 1872 as the first public arboretum in North America, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a leading center for the study of biodiversity and a treasured Boston landscape open free to the public year round. One of the most comprehensive and best documented collections of temperate woody plants in the world, the Arboretum promotes the understanding and appreciation of plants through world-class research, horticulture, and educational programs for all ages.