In the summertime the days lengthen, the landscape brightens, and the sun bleaches what was fair to brilliant white, calling to mind crisp sheets on a clothesline, billowy clouds, or a crisp culinary uniform. At Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, it’s timothy sprouting up among the meadow grass. According to horticulturist Brendan Keegan, the European species “was unintentionally introduced into New England by European settlers. During the 1800s, it was widely planted as a fodder and hay plant for livestock. It comes up all over the Arboretum when we do not mow the grass, which reflects the agricultural history of this landscape. The nest box in the photo provides nesting habitat primarily for tree swallows and bluebirds. These two species thrive in grassy open areas.” The tree swallows that used the box this year are gone now. They may be back when the time returns to take to greener pastures.

The Great Room in Robinson Hall.

The Great Room in Robinson Hall.

Mariel Tayag is a chef at the Heights, the restaurant on the 10th floor of the Smith Campus Center.

Mariel Tayag is a chef at Harvard University Dining Services.

Monochromatic take-out choices at the Graduate School of Design.

Monochromatic take-out choices at the Graduate School of Design.

A bike in Harvard Yard.

A wall of windows at the Graduate School of Design.

A bike in Harvard Yard; a wall of windows at the Graduate School of Design.

A model in the making at the Graduate School of Design.

A model in the making at the Graduate School of Design.

Memorial Church at Harvard University.

Memorial Church at Harvard University.

The bark of a birch (Betula) at Arnold Arboretum.

A smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria) at the Arboretum.

The bark of a birch (Betula) at Arnold Arboretum. Native Americans in New England cut away the bark of paper birches (B. papyrifera) to build canoes. A smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria) at the Arboretum gets it common name from the wispy hairs that extend from spent flowers once they finish blooming. The flowers themselves are teeny, bloom in the spring, and are easy to overlook. This species is native from southern Europe into Eurasia and China.

A bird house in the meadow at Arnold Arboretum.

A bird house in the grassy meadow at Arnold Arboretum was home to a pair of tree swallows this year.

Related

Red all about it

Splashes of eye-catching color brighten campus scenes

All told in gold

Harvard's twinkling icons