Arboretum News

16 Things to do in April 2021

Spring is here! Celebrate the new season with us at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

COVID-19 Update: All members and visitors need to make a reservation in advance of their visit to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Find updates and information here.

Dream Beauty Snow Crocus (Crocus chrysanthus) on March 29 in the Rock Garden. Photo by Liz Potasek.

April 14, 2021 Update: Starting April 23, we’ll be able to offer expanded access to Arboretum buildings and grounds through an increase in available reservations, two-way traffic on all trails and the reopening of the Maze Garden, the Snyder Building and second floor of the Oswald Visitor Center. (The Arboretum Cafe remains closed.)

1. Watch spring unfold.

Spring is definitely in the air, and we’re watching for blooms. We’ve already noted the appearance of crocus and pasque flowers, which we anticipate will be followed by daffodils and tulips in late April, and possibly iris and rhododendrons, if spring comes on strong. We’re also looking forward to blooming trees in mid- to late-April, including Eastern redbud, magnolia and crabapples. Watch for updates on What’s in Bloom on our website, Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the month.

2. Visit early or stay late — and stop by Andersen Horticultural Library.

We’re extending our daily hours starting April 1. The grounds are open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, and the first floor of the Oswald Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The information desk, membership desk and Gift & Garden Store are open in the Oswald Visitor Center. Starting April 23, the second floor of the Oswald Visitor and skyway to the Snyder building will be open, as well.

The Snyder Building will reopen by April 23, providing easier access to the Andersen Horticultural Library, which is open from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday. If the Snyder Building is still closed during your visit, ring the bell outside the building entrances to visit the library. Members and visitors still need to make reservations in advance of their visit to the Arboretum.

3. Pick up a picnic.

The Arboretum Cafe is closed due to COVID-19, but we anticipate that it’ll reopen later this spring. Until then, we invite you to pick up a snack and beverage at the Arboretum’s Gift & Garden Store or order from one of the food trucks parked on the roadway outside of the Snyder Building and Oswald Visitor Center from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. most days during the month of April. You’re also welcome to bring your own food to picnic outside on Arboretum grounds.

Sixteen Arboretum trees are in branch-to-branch competition as a part of Arbor Day Madness: Tournament of Trees.

4. Vote for your favorite tree.

We’re kicking off our Season of Trees with a competition among some of our favorite trees at the Arboretum. Read about the trees and vote for your favorites each week in the Arbor Day Madness: Tournament of Trees. The winning tree will be announced by Arboretum Director of Operations Alan Branhagen on Arbor Day.

5. Celebrate Arbor Day.

Join us in celebrating the crucial role that trees play in our world during Arbor Day at the Arb on April 30. Listen to a keynote speech by Arboretum Director of Operations Alan Branhagen, highlighting the gems in our tree collection at the Arboretum. You’re invited to join us 10 a.m. in-person for the speech or tune in at home via Zoom (find the link on our Arbor Day website — no need to pre-register, just click the link at 10 a.m. April 30).

Use our digital map to take a self-guided tour of trees on Arboretum grounds, and find Arb the Tree Gnome and his friends, who will be hidden in the Magnolia Collection. Before you leave for the day, make sure to stop by the Oswald Visitor Center to pick up free craft projects and tree seedlings to plant in your yard.

Greater Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla grandis) in the Elizabeth Carr Slade Perennial Garden on March 29. Photo by Liz Potasek.

6. Find Arb the Tree Gnome.

Starting April 30, Arb the Tree Gnome (and his friends) will be visiting a different tree collection and hanging around interesting trees at the Arboretum throughout the spring, summer and fall. He’ll move around the Arboretum each week, and we’ll update his current location on our website each Friday. When you find him and his friends on our grounds, collect the letters found on each gnome and unscramble them to answer a fill-in-the-blank trivia question. Submit your answers online each week for a chance to win your own tree gnome at the end of the season.

7. Compete in the Scavenger Hunt Tree Trek Challenge. 

Gather a group to navigate the clues and complete the Scavenger Hunt Tree Trek Challenge on April 30 during our Arbor Day celebration. Up to 42 teams will compete for the title of Arbor Day Scavenger Hunt champion!

Teams can have up to 15 participants with a maximum of three households combined per COVID safety rules. To participate, register your group for the scavenger hunt, and pay the $30 registration fee. Then reserve admission tickets for each member of your scavenger hunt group (be sure to choose a time that aligns with your scavenger hunt time). Admission fees will be applicable to non-members.

(If April 30 doesn’t work for you, make plans to join our Scavenger Hunt Tree Trek Challenge on May 22 and 23.)

The Arboretum Auxiliary’s annual Plant Sale returns to Farm at the Arb in May. All shoppers need to make free reservations to shop the sale. Photo by Susie Eaton Hopper.

8. Make reservations to shop the plant sale. 

The Arboretum Auxiliary’s annual plant sale returns to Farm at the Arb this year on May 8-9. Free reservations to shop the sale will be available starting at 9 a.m. April 1. Make reservations to shop the sale early for the best plant selection. 

9. Members, take advantage of Double Discount Days
in the Gift & Garden Store.

Members get 20 percent off all purchases in the Gift & Garden Store from April 16-30. Update your home decor for spring, find high quality gardening tools and select the perfect gifts for all the moms, dads and grads that you’ll be celebrating in May and June. If you’re not an Arboretum member yet, become a member today — members always receive 10 percent off at the Gift & Garden Store, as well as free admission to the Arboretum and other great benefits.

Eranthis cilicica in the Rock Garden on March 29. Photo by Liz Potasek.

10. Learn at home with Arboretum online classes.

Find a variety of online classes exploring cooking, painting, fiber arts, photography, Minnesota plants and more with the Arboretum’s Education department.

11. Find your inner balance.

Take a yoga class in-person or online as a part of the Arboretum’s Yoga in the Garden series. Spirit of the Lake yoga studio will lead a class at 6 p.m. April 15 in the Arboretum Cafe, and Yoga Bella will lead a class at noon on April 25 in the cafe. Register in advance to take the classes in person. Participants can also join the classes via Zoom.

12. Plan to run into spring at the Bud Break 5k.

Soak up the beauty of springtime at the Arboretum during our annual Bud Break 5k and Kids Fun Run on May 2. This year’s Bud Break starts at a new location (Farm at the Arb) and features a variety of race options to keep participants socially distanced. Register by April 18 to be guaranteed a race t-shirt.

Mob Scene II by Kim Russell will be on display starting April 20 in the Reedy Gallery as a part of Birds of a Feather: Contemporary Avian Artists.

13. Enjoy art in the Reedy Gallery.

There will be two exhibits on display in the Reedy Gallery this month. Chroma, the Minnesota Watercolor Society’s spring show, will be on display through April 15. The juried exhibit features some of the best watercolor artists in the area.

Birds of a Feather: Contemporary Avian Artists, featuring work from Kim Russell and Emily Donovan, will be on display April 20 through June 14. While inspired by ancient legacies in art, each uses wildly different techniques. Russell is influenced by indigenous imagery resulting in meticulous, highly stylized ink and acrylic drawings. Donovan’s natural hand-dyed paper is created through an exacting process shared by cultures around the world. Throughout her processes, from foraging for raw materials to finished works of art, Donovan maintains a close connection to the land and sky. Both artists ensure the essence of their subjects remain in their finished work, rooted in a shared desire to provide a new perspective of our feathered friends.

14. Keep the kids busy with online activities.

Explore nature with weekly kids activities and an online storytime from the Andersen Horticultural Library posted each Thursday. (Don’t miss the egg carton scavenger hunt posted on April 1!)  We also have a variety of coloring pages made from images in the Andersen Horticultural Library’s collection.

15. Check out a new exhibit in the Andersen Horticultural Library.

Turning Over a New Leaf opens April 30 in the Andersen Horticultural Library. In honor of trees, the library will display beautiful woodcut images from the book Traité des Arbres et Arbustres (Treatise on Trees and Shrubs), turning to a new page in the book each week through October 31. While the book is from 1755, the original woodblocks are from 1563. Nineteenth-century nurserymen’s plate-books, laced together to enable turning of several colorful images of trees and fruits at once, will also be featured in each of the library’s display cases.

16. If you have a dog-added membership, bring your pup to the Dog Commons.

The Dog Commons On-Leash Trail System opens for the season on April 3. Members with a dog-added membership can bring their dog for an on-leash walk in the Dog Commons from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily in April.

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