By Lee Anne Laskey
I’m instantly greeted by scent, color and birdsong today. Delft Blue Hyacinths are popping, their scent lingering on the path by the visitor center before the spectacular tulip display. Thank you again, Duane Otto and Arboretum gardeners! The rock garden across the road is bursting with interesting dots of color and dainty shapes swaying in the breeze like this adorable Checkered Lily. A blanket of “Snowcap” Wall Rockcress illuminates the warm rocks with their tiny white blooms. The hardest decision today is which warm invitation to accept first!
The whimsical Checkered Lily
The Koi fish are back swimming in their sanctuaries with the sound of soothing, moving water. Migrating birds and old favorites keep me company from the treetops. My binoculars give me windows to so many cheery warblers I lose count! Their colors complimenting the daffodils and my sunny mood.
After a bright Baltimore Oriole flew by me, I gave my neck a break from searching the treetops and sat, closing my eyes, just to listen, tucked away in the lovely Knot Garden. Where will you slip away today?
Birdwatching from the secret Knot Garden
I take a peek at graceful magnolia blooms before heading into the Wildflower Garden to find the whimsical May Apples, nature’s little umbrellas, tucked in by a tree trunk. Lush patches of waterside Marsh Marigolds and scatterings of Celandine Poppies provide instant sunshine in the shade.
Celandine Poppy saying “hello!”
I can almost hear the fern fronds openings up around me as I breathe in the fragrance of damp earth. Their shapes would be perfect to sketch in my nature journal next time. Leaving, the garden, I spot more swift movements from tiny bright wings above me, notice some intricate Red Maple buds bursting, hear all the singing frogs and watch delicate emerging Early Meadow Rue dangling in the breeze by my feet.
I catch myself laughing aloud further down the path. After waving at the full tram tour group on my right, I glance down to a few Yellow-rumped Warblers bathing with some Chipping Sparrows in the cool, trickling creek. An Ovenbird pair briefly hop in front of me, tails high, before flitting back into the woods. Every living thing, including birds and blooms this week are giddy with all the warm, garden goodness.
Yellow Forsythia branches by the prairie highlight a lightly fragranced Merrill Magnolia tucked behind it. Another window of light to look through!
Surprising sunny window view
I hike up a grassy hill to check out the glowing Ussurian Pear trees in full bloom! After walking around them, sitting under them and looking closely at their wedding white blooms, I realize I can’t seem to get enough of their beauty and neither can the cars slowing down off the Three-Mile Drive.
Glowing pear tree on a grassy hill
Last, I take a break on an inviting bench of pink petals. I am grateful for all the gardens and their sunny springtime greetings this week. This season is truly alive and fleeting isn’t it? I hope you can find windows of time to experience all the warmth, beauty, sunshine and goodness here in all the colorful gardens. See you very soon!
Pink confetti on a breezy bench
Lee Anne Laskey is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.