Nature Notes

Some Like it Hot!

I peak at the gathering near the fountain and find children squealing at all the frogs sunning on the lily pads! I count five and a few freeze to be photographed.

By Lee Anne Laskey

August heat leads to lots of lively Arboretum action and always colorful blooms! I am excited to get my fresh air fix here today! I start by admiring the daylily collection peaking. The collection is creating the prettiest path to wander and I smile reading all the creative names. ‘Light of the World’ shines down from the sweet little ‘Nutmeg Elf’ blooms and a staff member and I chat about what fun it would be to get to name each of these beauties.

“Light of the World” Daylily bloom

Some others that we all are admiring today are ‘Intelligent Design,’ ‘Spacecoast’ ‘Tiny Perfection,’ ‘Work It Girl’ and ‘Jane’s Hope.’ If you get to come see the daylilies peaking, make sure to take time to wander further and catch a glimpse of the whimsical, dramatic accent plant, ‘Ecuador Pink’ angel’s trumpet blooming and the cheery yellow of the ‘Happy Day’ dahlia or soft pink of the ‘Touché’ bloom, among others still brightening the paths.

“Happy Day” Dahlia

I peak at the gathering near the fountain and find children squealing at all the frogs sunning on the lily pads! I count five and a few freeze to be photographed.

Fountain frogs!

A mom shares with me that her son standing next to me has a countdown to his next Arboretum summer camp and how all his visits have inspired him to be quite the little naturalist! Couples wander by admiring all the bee action on the ‘Blue Glow Globe’ thistle and the ‘Lavender Globe’ lilies nearby.  A bee with a lovely collection of pollen plants itself on one, letting me get a close look at the fascinating process. Dragonflies dart by and use an abundance of blooms as convenient landing pads.

The vibrant colors of all the seasonal displays seem to be a popular gathering spot today for pollinators and people. Everyone is treating themselves to lots of healthy pauses, especially for fantastic photo opportunities! Their spectacular sunset colors are the perfect complement for the hot weather, sunhats and scent of sunscreen lingering in the air everywhere.

Mexican sunflower friend

I make my way down to the Sensory Garden and discover purple coneflowers showing off their pollen rings and attracting a few monarchs making their way down the path. I admire the delicate foliage and scent lingering of the ‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ pelargonium. Friends catch up on a quiet bench, listening to water trickling and a cardinal pair. They are also taking note of the striking container gardens that draw the eye to different corners for exploration. All my senses are always satisfied here and I gather ideas for my own future containers.  

I wander the Three-Mile Walk past a robin splashing in a rock water feature. I admire the simple beauty and shape of familiar trees dotting the landscape and compare favorites with another walker.

The prairie is bursting with lots of colorful flowers this week. Some highlights are the Cardinal flower that attracts the ruby-throated hummingbird, gray-headed coneflower, leadplant, clover varieties, wild bergamot and black-eyed Susan. I stay a long while admiring butterflies who entertain me with their graceful flight dances while I look out at the vast prairie view.  

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail silhouette

American goldfinches are enjoying ripe Bull thistle seeds and a few fun what looks like Carolina grasshoppers catch my eye. Speaking of August insects, is anyone else loving the evening insect sounds? My favorite is the Snowy Tree Crickets. It always brings me back to childhood days of staying out playing until we absolutely had to come in. What details are you noticing this week in your yards and on your Arboretum, August adventures? Each area has something waiting to be discovered if you slow down to closely look and listen.  

A favorite, Joe Pye weed is blooming in scattered spots, especially wetland areas. I love watching this tall plant sway in the summer breeze. I have time to drive up to the Farm at the Arb to end my visit and so happy I did! I take in the exciting progress of the new education building and discover a beautiful patch of pale, vintage hued zinnia of all shapes and sizes attracting a ton of pollinators! What a perfect welcome to the bee center, open daily. I must find out what variety of seeds they are!

Just a few of the Bee Center greeters!

I am blown away by the amount of happy bees hovering in the healthy planting of narrowleaf mountain mint.

Barn view by the mint blooms

I walk by the huge bunch of lavender bee balm and take in the always inspiring view before having to head out. Next time, I’ll be sure to set aside plenty of time to learn and enjoy inside the center too! Each time I explore in there, I learn something brand new.

Where will you enjoy the summer heat here this week? The August energy is everywhere. Don’t miss out! Come soak it up and be a part of the always welcoming place to let nature nurture you.

See you on the trails!

Lee Anne Laskey is a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer.

1 comment on “Some Like it Hot!

  1. Jill DiLoreto


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