Late Summer Odyssey

By Mary Beth Pottratz The birds are unusually quiet everywhere I head this morning. The sky has a light haze. Today’s heat warning seems to have kept many away from the Arb. Temperatures have been 20⁰ above normal for weeks. Golden Maximilian sunflowers bloom in bright sunlight. Deep purple New England asters flower in large…

The Oak Search Image

By Sydney Chandler Cars on the Three-Mile Drive have gradually smashed dropped acorns into a nut-butter, and it’s clear that many oak trees are present. This section of the road is home to scarlet, bur, swamp white, and English oaks. Oak can be identified by leaf shape, bark, and acorns. Retaining these visual clues create…

Look Up; Look Down; Look All Around

By Greg Lecker Treasures await those who carefully observe the world around them. Walking into the woodland, I spot a tall branched flower stalk leaning towards me as if to beg that its portrait be taken. Cup Plant From this unusual vantage point, it’s clear to see that the stem pierces the paired leaves (the…

Blooming Fullness

By Holly Einess It’s a nearly perfect August day—mild temps, light breeze, blue sky–and I set off toward Green Heron Pond, taking a moment first to admire all the color and beauty in the Annual Garden. After stopping at the pond overlook—a view I never tire of and is ever-changing—I go only steps before I…

Midsummer Daydream

By Mary Beth Pottratz The Arboretum’s Spring Peeper Meadow is awash with goldenrods in full bloom. The sounds of traffic lighten and the whirr of crickets gets louder as I head along the soft grass trail. A few cicadas saw off and on. The warmth of the earth rises around me, the sky is cloudy,…

Keeping Cool

By Sydney Chandler Wowzer, it’s hot out! A recent hot summer day at the Arboretum consisted of beaming sunshine, cloudless skies, minimal breeze, and temperatures around 90°F. Plants, animals, and visitors to the Arboretum all need strategies for surviving these sweltering temperatures.  Oak Tree Casting Shade As visitors, we don sunscreen, sun hats, and protective…

Hints of Autumn Fruit

By Greg Lecker Exploring the woodland this morning, the relative scarcity of colorful flowers leads me to look more carefully.  Here and there I discover small developing fruits.  The first hangs under the plant. Yellow Wood Poppy Celandine or yellow wood poppy as attractive lobed leaves topped with four-petaled yellow flowers.  Its fruit develops in…

Flowers (and more) in the Wild Gardens

By Holly Einess It’s a cool, overcast, breezy day; rather than my usual longer hike on one of the East Side Trails I decide to hit the wildflower garden and the garden for wildlife. The spring wildflowers are, of course, long gone, as are the lady’s slippers, but I am delighted to find a whole…

Summer Bounty

By Mary Beth Pottratz Huge cannas and bright begonias festoon the walks and gardens at the Arboretum. But to me, the five tiny white petals of flowering spurge whirling around its stem and clusters of wild quinine that resemble miniature heads of cauliflower are far more intriguing. Wild quinine White prairie clover is puffy with…

Yellow Pollen Pants

By Sydney Chandler After the recent rainy streak, the Arboretum buzzes with activity. The buzzing includes human traffic as well as pollinators who travel from flower to flower in an excited frenzy. Following these pollinators on their travels prompts exploration into the pollination process. Butterfly visits an attractive flower Visitors to the Arboretum are lucky…