Nature Notes

Seeking the Autumn Light!

I head up to the Farm at the Arb where I stop for quite a while. Vibrant, sun loving vegetables are growing with the care of kind staff like Tim, the Farm Education Manager, who takes time to share insights on the plants I’m admiring around me.

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

Everywhere I turn today, everyone and everything is seeking light. As the days grow shorter and I wake to that familiar darkness, I know exactly where I want to come to soak up sunshine and the warmth of Fall color. I start my visit today surrounded by golden cattails on the Bog Boardwalk off of the Green Heron Trail. Calm water reflects the red and white oaks that decorate the sunny side and the Sugar Maple studded shadier shores. It’s one of the most breathtaking, photographed scenes here at the Arboretum and today I fill up on it from “The Overlook,” a place for reflection and renewal. Make sure to come often this week and watch Autumn unfold everywhere!

Green Heron Pond reflections

I revisit a favorite, the 2.5-mile Ridge Trail loop next with its inspiring combination of shady woods & sunny fields. I think this might be the perfect place for a tranquil trail run sometime soon. The active birds and the squirrels seem to be taking advantage of trail time too today! I spot a few hidden, migrating warblers darting about and breathe in that addicting scent of crisp leaves that look as beautiful as a colorful kite stirring in the breeze.

Oak leaves in the sunlight

I head up to the Farm at the Arb where I stop for quite a while. Vibrant, sun loving vegetables are growing with the care of kind staff like Tim, the Farm Education Manager, who takes time to share insights on the plants I’m admiring around me.

Rainbow Chard crayon colors

As always, the Arboretum staff and volunteers welcome moments to greet, listen, teach and share their passion for this place.  I let him get back to tending to the peppers but am so happy I stopped by and to finally meet him.

Market Garden pops of peppers

I learn that this fascinating bloom swaying in the breeze is a burgundy variety of Okra. Talk about gorgeous fall color! I can’t wait to grab my nature journal to jot down some descriptions of all I’m taking in today.

Red Barn Okra blooms

I wander on the nearby path to plant myself on one of the perfectly placed quiet benches with an expansive view.  I believe I’ve found another go to place for me to write and reflect this Fall. I’ve got the company of pollinators, the sound of the grasses and the warmth of the sun. It’s an invitation I can’t refuse. Grab your journals and join me anytime.

Farm benches with autumn views

As always, it’s hard to leave the soothing sound of all the swaying plants filled with happy, buzzing bees, but the rest of the Ridge Trail is begging to be explored.

As you also wake to the familiar morning darkness, take a moment to plan a visit this week that fills you up with light and the ever-changing Autumn warmth and joy here. I guarantee you will find all of this around every corner in the beauty of the landscape and the kindness of the people. See you soon!

Lee Anne Laskey is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer

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