Nature Notes

The Power of Flowers

Nectar rich zinnias are another pollinator magnet and the vibrant Zahara Sunburst Zinnia is a hot spot today too. I make a mental note to grow it someday for cheery cut flowers too!

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!

By Lee Anne Laskey

I love starting my Arboretum visit in the Clotilde Irvine Sensory Garden and actually stay for the whole morning this time! When you stop out this week, remember, sometimes just taking the time to enjoy one area can be just as fulfilling and restorative as experiencing many of the highlights at once.

Whatever way works for you, this is another beautiful week to come out for a visit.  This peaceful garden is an ideal location to plant yourself or simply wander through before exploring the Dayton Wildflower Garden, hiking the inviting Three-Mile Walk or strolling across the street to the Green Heron trail and bog walk. I find the happy herbs in this garden’s raised beds soaking up the summer sun like all of us lately and filling the air with scents of lavender, patchouli & lemon balm. The swaying grasses close by in the back urge me to peak closer at the intricate, emerging purple coneflowers blooms. The colorful annuals in the design seem to be the picnic spot for all the pollinators! Monarchs dance and rest around the Ageratum, otherwise known as Floss flower, an annual that is a member of the Aster family.

Monarch Butterfly on the Ageratum Bloom

The old fashioned, very fragrant heliotrope makes an inviting way station for a Great Spangled Fritillary. These plants grow in one-sided clusters that follow the sun, which explains their name.  Helios (sun) and tropos (turn)

Great Spangled Fritillary on Heliotrope Blooms

Nectar rich zinnias are another pollinator magnet and the vibrant Zahara Sunburst Zinnia is a hot spot today too. I make a mental note to grow it someday for cheery cut flowers too!

Zahara Sunburst Zinnia

I enjoy peaking at the fast growing, cheery, heat tolerant Lemon A-Peel Black-eyed Susan Vines that are fun for both children and adults alike.

Lemon A-Peel Black-eyed Susan Vine

Don’t forget to look down as well all the details. The sun loving succulent pots scattered throughout are thriving and I admire a few new blooms of the softest coral. Their designs beg to be sketched, painted or photographed. The “Purple Dragon” Spotted Nettle shady ground cover still blooms off and on until Fall. It’s soft, silvery leaves and pink to purple blooms quickly brighten an area.  It attracts bees, especially bumblebees. Did you know it is deer and rabbit resistant too?

Purple Dragon Spotted Nettle Bloom

I continue to closely observe the storybook details, like the elegant, stone water feature trickling and perfectly placed, cozy benches.  It is evident everywhere I turn that this garden was designed for the Therapeutic Horticulture Program. The canopy of Prairifire crabapple trees make excellent habitats and food sources for wildlife. The ancient Ginkgo tree gracefully sits off to the side, whispering in the breeze to stay awhile on the bench below. Enjoy some journaling here or simply stop for some quiet reflection. Read the interpretive sign for the interesting tree history. The graceful hosta blooms surround it, attracting hummingbirds.  I think I’ll stick around and see what stops by.

Delicate Hosta Blooms

As one of the garden signs here reminds us, “Flowers Have Power.” Come see for yourself this week! Which area of the Arboretum will you be drawn too this time? Enjoy a solo visit or grab family or friends. Hope to see you there soon!   

  • Today’s blog is dedicated to Theo, the newest little nature lover in my family who loves sleeping here, in his stroller under the shady branches, surrounded by all these continuous garden gifts.

Lee Anne Laskey is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

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