One hundred years ago, John and Lydia Morris planted this splendid katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) as part of the Japanese garden in their Compton estate in Chestnut Hill. Today the estate is better known as the Morris Arboretum, and it became a favorite source of solace in the wake of the September terrorist attacks.

“We started receiving messages from people saying that this was the place they came to after September 11,” says Marsha Ray, the arboretum’s associate director of development. “I checked our visitation statistics, and I found that in 2000, the week after September 11, there were just over 1,300 visitors. This year, we had 2,800 —the numbers had more than doubled. I have to believe that a lot of that was people searching for someplace to go that was quiet, where they could reflect, where they could find peace, tranquility, and safety for their kids. Many gardens throughout the country experienced the same thing.”

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