By Sarah Jackson
Autumn is truly awesome at the Arb. As the temperatures dip, the vibrant colors of fall emerge seemingly overnight with bursts of yellow, orange and crimson red across the grounds. Playful pumpkin displays decorate the gardens and grounds, accented with “scarecrows” that go beyond the expected!
1. Scarecrows in the Gardens
Check out the popular Scarecrows in the Gardens displays on the Dahlberg Terrace and Scarecrow Hill near the Oswald Visitor Center. Featuring the artistry of the experts from Bachman’s, Arboretum staff and members of the community, these displays stay up through Oct. 31. Vote online for your favorite in two categories!
2. Pumpkin Displays
The Arboretum’s staff really know their pumpkins, squash and gourds, and you can see the fruits of their labor this year in a whopping 328 named varieties grown at the Horticultural Research Center. Starting the first week of October, see the many colors, shapes and sizes arranged by name at the Oswald Visitor Center until the first hard frost. A 25-foot pumpkin tree will feature fruits from the cucurbita genus in a rainbow of colors too. Bonus: Check out Audrey, the nearly 600-pound pumpkin that won fifth place at the Minnesota State Fair.
3. Fall Color Trail Run / Hike
See a part of the Arboretum you may have never explored before — and celebrate the glory of autumn — with a walk, hike or run in on the grounds as part of our choose-your-own-course Fall Color Trail Run Oct. 7-9. Routes include 1k, 5k or 10k with start times between 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Participants get to choose their preferred days and times to prevent overcrowding of routes around Wood Duck Trail, through the Prairie and within the Dog Commons. Registration costs $35 for Arboretum members, $50 for non-members and $15 for ages 15 and younger. Fall-friendly long-sleeved T-shirts are available. Check the registration form for size availability.
4. Visit the AppleHouse
Start holiday gift shopping early and pick up the flavors of fall in the Arboretum’s AppleHouse at 7485 Rolling Acres Road, about a mile west of the Arboretum’s main entrance. The AppleHouse (no reservations or admission required) features a rotating variety of Minnesota-grown apples, as well as frozen apple pies, apple cider and other gourmet foods. You’ll also find unique varieties Arboretum-grown squash, gourds and pumpkins in an astounding variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
The AppleHouse is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily and Arboretum members get a 10% discount. North Star Donuts will be open outside the AppleHouse, selling apple cider mini donuts, apple cider slushies and hot apple cider from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays through Oct. 30.
5. ArtTalk with Pamela Sukhum
For the first time in seven years, world-renowned painter Pamela Suhkum is presenting her first show in Minnesota, Hymns to Nature, including an after-hours ArtTalk from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 7 in the MacMillian Auditorium and the Reedy Gallery. Open now through Nov. 7, her 50-plus-piece solo exhibition features more than 50 stunning canvases, inspired by botanical wonders around the world. Docents will answer questions in the Reedy Gallery starting at 6 p.m., Arboretum Art and Sculpture Curator Wendy DePaolis will lead a conversation with Sukhum in the auditorium at 6:30 p.m. and will encourage questions from the audience, followed by a walk through the Reedy Gallery with Sukhum at 7:30 p.m. Reservations (required) are $15 for non-members and free for members.
6. Visit the Cafe Gallery
Stop by the Cafe Gallery just outside The Eatery at the Arboretum to see “Breaking Boundaries and Barriers: The Art of Lynne Sarnoff-Christensen.” Sarnoff-Christensen uses watercolors, oils, photography and wax along with an encaustic heat process to create her paintings in this engaging solo exhibit open now through Nov. 6. Sarnoff-Christensen has been fascinated with fences and artificial divisions for many years. But in this show she explores these borders more deeply — not as a way to divide, but to draw viewers into her art and to push artistic boundaries.
7. Walk with Awe
Tap into your sense of awe — a positive emotion triggered by awareness of something vastly larger than self and not immediately understandable — and you’ll get benefits that go beyond the physical benefits of walking, says Jean Larson, manager of the Nature-Based Therapeutics Program at the Arboretum. Read more about the benefits of walking with awe and find directions for walking with awe in Larson’s latest blog post.
8. Bee-Line Shuttle
This popular, free shuttle runs every 30 minutes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 23 (weather permitting) with stops at the Home Demonstration Garden, Harrison Sculpture Garden, Farm at the Arb and Maze Garden.
9. Take a drive
Witness the changing leaves with a ride along Three-Mile Drive. Our Garden Highlights page will be the place to check for what’s in “bloom” when it comes to colorful leaves as well as a surprising array of late-season flowers. Firefall maple, aka Acer × freemanii Firefall, in the Maple Collection, is just one example of one to watch right now.
10. Library StoryTime
Join the Arboretum’s library staff for their last StoryTime of the season, featuring some of their favorites during the Andersen Horticultural Library’s StoryTime at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 28.
11. Give in to wanderlust
Tour beautiful gardens from around the world with Arboretum Director Peter Moe, Arboretum Director Emeritus Peter Olin and Arboretum Director of Operations Alan Branhagen. Popular Garden Travel Tours are offered throughout the year, featuring custom itineraries, behind-the-scenes tours, local attractions and small group sizes. Upcoming tours include a trip to Chile, Argentina and Patagonia in November and a visit to New York City in April.
12. Stretch and breathe
Take a yoga class surrounded by the beauty of the Arboretum at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 or at noon Sunday, Oct. 30. Sessions are for all levels. Please bring your own mat and water bottle.
13. Take a full moon hike
Enjoy an evening at the Arboretum under the glow of the Full Hunter’s Moon with a hike and outdoor activities. Start in the Sensory Garden parking lot and roast a marshmallow by the fire; then hike around Three-Mile Walk to explore the moonlit gardens. Stop to view the moon at the Harrison Sculpture Garden and take time to turn inward and recharge. Tickets are $5 for members and ages 15 and younger and $20 for non-members.
14. View botanical drawings
A new art display — “Capturing Colors: 5th Annual Flora and Fauna Illustrata Exhibition” — features scientifically accurate, brightly colored artwork by local artists depicting flowers, fruits, insects and other organisms living at the Arboretum. The show, featuring a beautiful array of colors, is on display in the light-filled Skyway Gallery between the Oswald Visitor Center and the Snyder Building through Feb. 28, 2023.
Are you an artist? The Andersen Horticultural Library is looking for artists to create scientifically accurate fine art for our Flora & Fauna Illustrata (FFI) collection. This “hundred-year project” aims to document all the plant and animal species that make the Arboretum their home. The library permanently archives the art and facilitates periodic FFI exhibitions. The collection provides a regional and national resource to aid research and serves to inspire learning, discovery, and enjoyment. Learn more about how to apply by visiting the library webpage. The next submission deadline is Nov. 18, 2022.
15. The Art of Tiny Things
Celebrate the little things in life in the Andersen Horticultural Library. Explore miniature books, as well as art from the library’s collection featuring tiny organisms that are often overlooked, including moss, fungi, lichen, insects and more. The exhibition is open through Feb. 28.
16. Let’s Talk Plants
Drop in the Andersen Horticultural Library anytime from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 29 to start a conversation with a Master Gardener volunteer. These trained citizens will answer questions about gardens, trees, lawns and landscape and are happy to help you identify garden pests and potential strategies for handling them. They can also provide inspiration for what to plant in your garden or offer advice about taking care of houseplants.