Arboretum News

18 Things to do in July 2021

Experience the wonder of the night sky and explore a new trail at the Arboretum this month.

Visiting the Arboretum: All members and visitors need to make a reservation in advance of their visit to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We hope to see you soon!

Wilson Rose Garden on June 17. Photo by Liz Potasek.

by Liz Potasek

While the days of summer seem to stretch endlessly in June, the 4th of July always reminds us that we better start tackling the “summer fun list” before it’s time for back-to-school shopping. To get you started, we’ve created a list of summer fun to experience at the Arboretum this month.

1. Take a holiday in our gardens.

Enjoy “fireworks” of a different sort on July 4, as you experience the explosions of blooms in Arboretum gardens. The Arboretum is open 363 days a year, including the 4th of July. Keep tabs on what’s blooming now in our gardens on our What’s in Bloom webpage, updated weekly on Tuesdays.

2. Hike a new trail.

Opening June 25, the newly paved Buuck Farm Trail leads from the Farm at the Arb to the Rhododendron Garden, where it intersects with Three-Mile Walk. Enjoy the sweeping views as you get your steps in for the day.

Fireflies at the Arboretum in June 2020. Photo by Jason Boudreau-Landis.

3. Get that summer glow. *SOLD-OUT*

Experience the magic of summer nights at the Arb with hundreds of fireflies flashing through the sky. We’re staying open late for select Firefly Viewing Nights on July 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17. Bring your family – and a camera – and marvel at the wonder of these glowing winged beetles (also known as lightning bugs). Tickets are $5 for members and children 15 and younger and $20 for non-members.

4. Watch the osprey chicks.

We’re eagerly anticipating the hatching of osprey chicks. The Osprey pair on the Arboretum’s Osprey Cam have been incubating two eggs laid in late May. If all goes well, we anticipate that the eggs will hatch any day. Watch as the chicks hatch, eat and learn to fly and hunt this summer before they make their solo flight to Central and South America.

The Arboretum Cafe offers a daily menu of soups, salads and sandwiches from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Photo by Liz Potasek.

5. Enjoy a meal in the Arboretum Cafe.

The Arboretum Cafe offers a selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and bakery items, freshly made daily. Stop in from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Seating is available indoors and outdoors.

6. Explore art inspired by the natural world.

Don’t miss “Nature: Wild and Wonderful” showing through September 6 in the Reedy Gallery. Be prepared for the unexpected in this nature-themed exhibition featuring four renowned artists — Jackson Dainty, David Lefkowitz, Eleanor McGough and Sonja Peterson — who come together with wildly different styles. Each work contains a larger narrative, enticing the viewer to move in closer and discover deeper intentions.

Follow the show outside to an art installation by Sonja Peterson near the entrance to the Wilson Rose Garden. Look for directions on a sign in the gallery.

An image from Celebrating Trees: 4th Annual Flora & Fauna Illustrata Exhibition in the Skyway Gallery.

7. Celebrate the Season of Trees with two exhibits from the Andersen Horticultural Library.

Celebrating Trees: 4th Annual Flora & Fauna Illustrata (FFI) Exhibition opens July 10 in the Skyway Gallery. The FFI is the Andersen Horticultural Library’s “hundred-year project” to document all the species of plants and animals living at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum through scientifically accurate fine art. In honor of the Arboretum’s Season of Trees, this exhibition includes original artworks from the FFI collection celebrating individual trees that live at the Arboretum! Use the GPS coordinates or scan the QR code beneath each artwork to locate the living tree on the Arboretum grounds and compare it to the artist’s rendition. We are always seeking submissions to the FFI collection; for more information please visit

In honor of trees, the library is also turning over a new leaf of an old book once a week, displaying a beautiful woodcut image, as a part of the Turning Over a New Leaf exhibit. While the book is from 1755 (Traité des Arbres et Arbustres [Treatise on Trees and Shrubs]), 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. 

Both exhibits will be on display through Oct. 31.

8. Stretch your body and mind in Arboretum gardens.

Relax your body and mind in nature during yoga classes at 10 a.m. July 4, 6 p.m. July 15 and noon on July 25. The 2021 Yoga in the Gardens classes meet in different gardens throughout the Arboretum and are taught by instructors from Good Vibrations Yoga, Green Lotus Yoga, Spirit of the Lakes Yoga and Wellness Center, Sue Bitney T’ai Chi Chih, Yoga Bella and Yoga 4 You. Bring a yoga mat and water bottle, and make sure to make reservations to visit the Arboretum prior to attending your class.

9. Ride the Trumpet Creeper Tram.

Take a narrated tram tour highlighting the Arboretum’s varied collections, display gardens and demonstration gardens. Buy same-day tickets for $5/person at the Oswald Visitor Center Information Desk. 

10. Donate books, CDs and DVDs to the Friends of the Andersen Horticultural Library book sale.

 The Andersen Horticultural Library (AHL) would love to have those clean, good-quality books, CDs and DVDs for its annual Friends of the AHL book sale on October 1-3. Book, CD and DVD donations will be accepted through Sept. 4 Sept. 17 (Updated June 29, 2021). Follow these instructions for donating your books

Browse through 2,000 blown-glass pumpkins at the Arb Glass Pumpkin Patch Sept. 9-12 at the Arboretum.

11. Make reservations for the new Arb Glass Pumpkin Patch event in September.

Reservations for the Arboretum Auxiliary’s new event featuring blown glass pumpkins will be available later this month. The Arb Glass Pumpkin Patch, Sept. 9-12 in the Snyder Building and Morgan Terrace, features eight award-winning, professional glass artists from the Midwest and California, who will display and sell their glass pumpkins, demonstrate glass blowing and offer small class instruction. Arboretum visitors will experience free glass-blowing demonstrations daily and browse through a display of 2,000 gorgeous glass pumpkins in all shapes, sizes and colors — all available for sale. The purchase of these handcrafted pumpkins supports the artisans and the Arboretum.

The event is included with gate admission to the Arboretum, so reservations are free for members and $15 for non-members. Members, watch your email on July 30 for a special link to make your free reservations, and schedule early reservations for the best selection of pumpkins. Reservations for non-members will be available starting Aug. 1.

12. Decorate your cabin.

Shop the Arboretum’s Gift & Garden Store to find a variety of home decor, tableware and kitchen utensils that will make your cabin feel more like home. Don’t have a cabin? You’ll find plenty of creative hostess gifts — perfect for thanking friends and family for the use of their cabin.

13. Learn something new.

The Arboretum offers a wide variety of gardening, art, photography and cooking classes for adults. Whether you want to pick up a new hobby or improve the skills you’ve got, sign up for upcoming offerings, including Cooking up Summer Vegetables, Garden Photography, Stone Balancing, Making a Felted Bird and more.

Catherine Hurlin and Aran Bell in Jessica Lang’s Let Me Sing Forevermore. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

14. Watch a ballet performance at the Arb.

Northrop presents four performances of ABT Across America at the Arboretum on July 10 and 11. The outdoor performances will take place on a custom-built 40′ by 76′ stage that folds out of an 18-wheeler truck. The seating area for this 50-minute show is on the open lawn near the Red Barn and Tashjian Bee & Pollinator Discovery Center. Tickets are $20-$100 and include free parking and all-day admission to the Arboretum.

15. Buy a raffle ticket for the 2021 Auxiliary Quilt.

Members of the Arboretum Auxiliary created “Sights and Sounds of the Arboretum,” a quilt that highlights birds of Minnesota. The quilt is on display at the Oswald Visitor Center. Raffle tickets are $2, and the raffle drawing is scheduled for September. All money from the sale of raffle tickets supports the Arboretum

16. Focus on the Season of Trees.

Pick up the Season of Trees brochure in the Oswald Visitor Center to find a tree scavenger hunt, as well as tree care advice. Check out our Season of Trees webpage for activities and tree information throughout the season.

17. Seek balance in the Arboretum Cafe Gallery.

The “Art Rocks!” exhibit highlights two artists who spend countless hours with Minnesota rocks. Enjoy work from Peter Juhl and Anne Legeros from June 9-Aug. 25 in the Arboretum Cafe Gallery. Author, artist and instructor Peter Juhl not only teaches rock balancing classes but also photographs his gravity defying creations. Anne Legeros executes paintings which highlight the interplay of light and water to produce an endless variety of fascinating images.

18. Find Arb the Tree Gnome.

Arb the Tree Gnome (and his friends) are visiting a different tree collection and hanging around interesting trees at the Arboretum throughout the summer. He moves 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.

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