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The Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection

Harvard University has an arboretum south of boston. It is a very big and beautiful arboretum and it makes for a terrific sunday afternoon walk. Its great for a nature walk but if you are interested in plants and trees it is something special. And, my focus for visiting this arboretum is that they have a magnificent bonsai collection. The collection has been there for about a hundred years now and it has some wonderful specimens.

I also have a video of India on my youtube channel right here.

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The Grounds of the Arboretum are pretty large and you can spend the whole day walking the various paths. It is divided up roughly into some different sections which include stuff like the chinese path and the Explorers Garden.

But of course the big thing is the trees and they have lots of exotic and beautiful tress including Ginkgos, Cherries, Walnuts, Beeches, Junipers and well you get the idea. Lots of exotic trees including Cork.

The Arboretum also has other things like rose collections and a wonderful terraced section with vine growing plants.

What People were doing

It was a bit of fun to do some people watching and the environment was very free-wheeling. There were lots of people walking around and dogs are allowed. There were also lots of people that brought blankets and radios. They were just enjoying laying in various areas. I even saw one guy in a hammock. I am pretty sure you can't do a picnic here though. I think that is against the rules.

Walking Paths - It is a lot of fun to just walk around the grounds and explore the various paths. There is a lot of it though. But you can't really get lost. There are roads to walk on and wooded paths. There are no vehicles on the roads but bicycles are allowed.

 

The Gazebo

But of course the big draw for me was the Bonsai collection.

The picture on the left here shows the outside of the collection. It is housed in that building.

Traditional Japanese bonsai masters say that it is usually best to keep bonsai in some kind of outdoor environment where they get spackled light. And this is where the collection is housed; in a slatted gazebo which is about perfect. So they get plenty of indirect sunlight but the direct sunlight is intermittent. The picture here on the right shows the slatted gazebo.

Below is a picture of the oldest bonsai in the collection. It is a 274 Year old Chabo Hiba. It was started in 1737.

Chabo Hiba Bonsai

The whole collection is very traditional and very japanese. For the most part they are uprights or informal uprights. They do have one cascade though. It is quite a good looking tree though.

And they have some trees that are, to my mind, simply magnificent. Like this Chinese Elm

This Japanese Maple:

I generally find the Japanese Maples to be among my favorites. But in this collection this elm was my absolutel favorite:

The Whole experience of the Bonsai Collection was wonderful. I had a really good day and really enjoyed it all. The whole arboretum makes for a wonderful day trip. It is kind of like a botanical gardens but a botanical gardens will focus more on flowers while an arboretum focuses on trees! The grounds have an amazing collection of trees. I couldn't begin to list them but I really did like the cork trees :)

If you want to learn more about the Harvard Arnold Arboretum their website is here: Arnold Arboretum and their section about the bonsai collection is here: The Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection.


 

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