Arboretum Day: November 18th, 2020
Cypress Lawn Arboretum

Dearest friends, neighbors, and tree-lovers near and far —

It is my honor to extend to you a cordial virtual invitation to the first annual Arboretum Day here at Cypress Lawn Arboretum & Botanical Gardens on Nov. 18, 2020.  As a celebration of life befitting the lasting legacy of our Memorial Park, where trees have been cherished since our founding in 1892, Arboretum Day will honor our history, embrace the present moment, and begin to grow the foundational roots of our future.

COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Tree Planting

As a special honorary event on this day, a memorial tree planting ceremony will be conducted to honor the lives of the many cherished individuals around the world who unfortunately have been — and may yet still be lost — to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A livestreaming video of this memorial planting will be made available for interested viewers to watch remotely on our Facebook page, so everyone can share in this memorial experience virtually.

For this honorary planting, a stone dedication monument will also be placed by the new trees with the following inscribed message:

“On November 18, 2020, these Monterey Cypresses were planted as memorial trees to stand in solidarity for the many cherished lives lost in the global coronavirus pandemic. May they grow tall and strong for years to come, so we never forget, and always celebrate their lives.”

Amid the hardship of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as an opportunity for a global healing moment, Cypress Lawn would like to extend an invitation to the international arboretum community to collectively partake in this memorial planting ceremony. In solidarity with the countless lives affected by this worldwide tragedy, might we all plant trees together and share a moment on Nov. 18 to remember those no longer with us, to cherish the memories of the pandemic victims, and above all, to celebrate life!

Virtual Lecture: “Dancing on the Brink of the World”

As part of the day’s special events, Cypress Lawn’s Arboretum Director Josh Gevertz will share a virtual lecture on the global living legacy of the Monterey Cypress, the namesake California native species of Cypress Lawn. Titled “Dancing on the Brink of the World”, this lecture will showcase the remarkable horticultural history of this singular species, Hesperocyparis macrocarpa.

Despite having the smallest ancient native range of any living California conifer, the Monterey Cypress today has the broadest geographic ornamental distribution of any California native tree. From London’s experimental Kew Gardens, where German botanist Karl Theodor Hartweg first brought the seed of this special tree from the “New World” in 1846, and on throughout the Commonwealth of Nations — including New Zealand and Australia — the Monterey Cypress has come to share a unique relationship today with human culture in landscapes on every continent but Antarctica.

Our Arboretum Director will share his research findings, collection of photography, and stories from around the world tracing the diverse plantings and cultural contexts of this one tree species. As a Fellow of UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design’s Geraldine Knight Scott traveling scholarship, Josh has followed the Monterey Cypress on a circumnavigational survey, from the ancient native stands of Point Lobos, to the herbarium at Kew, and on to the coastal farms of New Zealand and the memorial Avenues of Honour across Australia.

Please join the livestream of this virtual storytelling experience and stay tuned for a live Q&A session following the talk. Any questions about the Monterey Cypress in particular, or about the Cypress Lawn Arboretum, will be welcomed!

Virtual Tree Tour

To learn more about the living collection of the Cypress Lawn Arboretum in advance of Arboretum Day, please take a moment to experience our new virtual Tree Tour. This interactive experience showcases several of the finest specimen trees of the Arboretum collection and includes photographs, video content, maps, and much more! Find the link to this virtual experience here.

Here at the Cypress Lawn Arboretum, we are looking forward to sharing a special day with you all on Nov. 18. To stay in touch with all Arboretum news, upcoming events, and current and future tree care projects, please also subscribe to our new quarterly Arboretum newsletter, “The Cypress Survey,” by clicking this link.

Thank you, be well, find the good, and — as always — remember to celebrate life!