The Arboretum boasts a trail system through open meadows, beside woodland ponds, along a glacial esker, and through a bog. A handicapped accessible trail provides access to the herb garden, butterfly garden, hosta garden, daylily garden, rhododendron garden, lilac fragrance garden, and a pond planting. The Wildflower Trail provides access to a wide range of woodland habitats.
Parking is available at the Arboretum's main entrance, off Taylor Road. Much of the area adjacent to the parking lot is handicapped-accessible, and is open, with graveled paths, gardens, bridges, and picnic tables. Trails and paths crisscross the entire area.
What's new in January 2017!
2016 was a busy year.
Thanks to grants from the Community Preservation Fund we were able to rebuild the 200' fern boardwalk on the wildflower trail. We also had an irrigation well drilled and telephone pole installed on Taylor Road. Next we will run new irrigation lines and hook up electricity to the well. The parking lot was spruced up with new plantings and a rain garden was built to collect the storm water run-off. Some rain garden plants include horsetail reed, corkscrew rush, red twig dogwood, fothergilla, winterberry, viburnums and bee-balm. A stone walkway was installed through the middle of the rain garden as a shortcut from the lot to the lawn.
Thanks to the Natural Resources Department and to Dan Lenox of Lenox Landscaping, Inc. for building our new rock garden on the upper lawn. Naturally occurring ledge has been exposed to reveal beautiful forms connected by well-placed native rocks, including a seating bench, steps and patio area to be planted in spring with a collection of easy-care woodland and rock garden selections, showing diversity within and outside of plant family groups. Donations of plant material will be received from a local chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society (www.nargs.org) in memory of long time member, Helga Andrews. Some species to be included (but not limited to) are iris, phlox, drama, gentian, seratula, sedum, sempervivum, sanguinary, tiarella, Jeffersonia.
The new Understory Study was developed along the paved trail between the upper lawn and the fern boardwalk. This area had been cleared of 13 black walnut trees and dozens of invasive honeysuckle and multiflora rose. New trees and shrubs were planted that include Persian parrotia, witch hazel, stewartia, enkianthus, sumac, silver bell, sweet shrub, holly, swamp white oak, blueberry, Japanese maple, tupelo, river birch, magnolia, many species of ferns and perennials. It should be beautiful in the spring, thanks to the volunteers!
The Arboretum turned 30 years old and a fun birthday party was celebrated in September on the upper lawn. One hundred people attended and enjoyed birthday cake. A raffle fundraiser brought in about $500 to go towards a new cedar arbor for the butterfly garden to replace the one that fell down in March 2016.
Thanks to Town Staff and dozens of volunteers, the Arboretum continues to thrive. Despite a severe drought this year we were able to keep most things alive hand-watering. Please consider a membership and/or a donation to the all volunteer, non-profit organization, The Friends of the Acton Arboretum, Inc. In 2016 the Friends' budget covered over $8,000 of expenses to directly benefit the Arboretum!
Eagle Scouts: Thank you Alex Surdan for cleaning out an overgrown area behind the butterfly garden; building and extending the split rail fence; building a new section of stone dust trail connecting the butterfly garden trail and the grape arbor trail; mulching the cleared area behind the fence. Thank you Mark Castaneda for removing all the self-guided tour posts, buying and replacing them with new cedar posts which he routed, painted and reinstalled all over the Arboretum's 65 acres. Thank you Luke Phillips for helping to create the parking lot rain garden by raising money to buy plants, spreading sand, mulch and lastly installing plantings that filter contaminants out of the stormwater run-off.
Volunteer Helpers Wanted Two Workdays Each Week. (Workdays will resume in April) Show up to help on Thursday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon; or on Tuesday afternoons (drop-ins ok) from 2:30 to 6:30. We provide tools, or you can bring your own. Be a part of the many volunteers who help tend this town treasure! Please contact Bettina Abe, Town of Acton Natural Resources Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org
WildAware Program:The Acton Natural Resources Department has a program called WildAware. The program's purpose is to educate the community about the existence and habits of wild creatures with whom we share our natural resources. The goal of WildAware is to increase awareness of shared habitats to protect and conserve our wild and native animals. Look for monthly WildAware articles in the Beacon. Email your local wildlife photos to email@example.com and "Like" Acton WildAware on Facebook. Next summer we will have a wildlife “bioblitz” where everyone takes inventory of all the wild creatures they see around town. Make some popcorn and watch our 30-minute educational video with your family https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QKankcVe_g
Welcome to the Acton Arboretum is a 28 minute, educational documentary intended to give the audience an overview of the history, gardens, trails, geology, horticulture, accessibility and volunteerism of the Acton Arboretum. You can find it on YouTube