During the recent tease of warm weather, there were some crocus sightings and pussy willows sprouting through piles of snow. But for those of us desperate for a more tangible sign of spring, these photos from the Arnold Arboretum will have to suffice until the real thing comes. — Thea Breite and Lisa Tuite
Globe archive photo
May 16, 1938: The lilac display at Harvard's Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain attracted thousands of people to the annual Lilac Day observance, as it was called then. Since the establishment of the arboretum in 1872, lilacs had been constantly added, secured from many sources in Europe and Asia.
T.E. Marr/Globe staff
June 6, 1923: People took a horse and buggy ride through the beautiful rows of flowers in the arboretum. Several years later in 1928 a bridle path was created for horseback riders. While they had always been permitted on the roads, the carriage roads made hard surfaces for the horses' hoofs. Shubbery was cleared to make the path and white arrows marked the way for the riders.
Boston Globe Archive
May 21, 1923: While the lilacs were not in bloom these two specimens of Malus spectabilis attracted a lot of attention. It is a tree with with white or pink flowers and is native to China, where it is a popular ornamental tree.
Boston Globe archive
May 11, 1962: These folks enjoyed the abundant lilac buds on Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum. February had been unusually snowy and the snow had carried over to March. The abundant moisture in the ground produced brighter and richer lilacs bushes with their sweet-smelling blooms.
charles dixon/globe staff
May 14, 1973: Two friends out for a bike ride watch as Sarge the dog took a dip in the Arnold Arboretum pond.
john blanding/Globe staff
May 20, 1984: Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum was a popular family event for those who just wanted to experience the spirit of spring. This year the children danced and wove ribbons around a traditional maypole on the lawn of the Hunnewell Visitor Center while the Neponset Chapter of the Sweet Adelines harmonized for the visitors.
Charles Dixon/Globe Staff
July 6, 1973: Boys gathered around a friend who had a fish on the line at the Arnold Arboretum pond.
Joseph Dennehy/Globe staff
April 21, 1977: Hand-in-hand two brothers took a walk through the woods at the Arnold Arboretum on an early spring morning.
July 24, 1980: Children took turns climbing the Amur Cork tree, one of the oldest of trees at the Arnold Arboretum. This tree came to Boston as a dry seed shipped from the old Russian Imperial Botanic Garden of St. Petersburg in 1874, just two years after the arboretum opened.
John Tlumacki/Globe staff
Oct. 8, 1993: A mother and her two children found a woody perch on "Corky" the Amur Cork tree from which they could observe nature at the Arnold Arboretum.
George Rizer/ Globe Staff
Sept. 29, 1995: "Corky," New England's most-loved tree, collapsed after 121 years in the Arnold Arboretum. The Amur Cork tree collapsed under the weight of a sixth-grade class from the Winsor School who, like tens of thousands of children before them, were having their pictures taken on the nearly horizontal limb that paralleled the road.