Feeling Small and Feeling Big

By Sydney Chandler To feel small often comes with the connotation that someone feels insignificant. And to feel big carries the opposite connotation. However, the Arboretum forests challenge those connotations by demonstrating that plants of many sizes significantly contribute to the forest ecosystem. Consider the connection to the communities to which we belong. Each member’s…

Expectant

By Greg Lecker The weather is a bit unsettled this morning.  The sky is overcast; and a cold front is moving in.  However, against the windy gray backdrop, birds are actively calling around Green Heron Pond:  cardinals and red-winged blackbirds.  A haze of violet catches my attention. Virginia Waterleaf The plant earns its name from…

Birds, Blossoms, and Bees

By Holly Einess On my last visit to the Arboretum in mid-April, several inches of heavy wet snow covered Green Heron Trail. What a difference today! Instead of a blanket of white, green is everywhere, punctuated by splashes of color. On my way to the Wurtele Boardwalk I pass a gray catbird. Normally secretive, this…

Minnesota’s Heritage In Bloom

By Mary Beth Pottratz The woodland is awash in clumps of white, purple and lavender violets. Swaths of tiny white flowers of fragrant bedstraw carpet the woods. White baneberry White baneberry’s green foliage is topped with cylindrical white flowers. The stamen are longer than the flowers, giving a bottlebrush look. Smooth Solomon’s seal has just…

The Many Names of Arboretum Plants

By Sydney Chandler A name can be a great descriptor, provide historical context, or even convey humor. Some people name a variety of important things: pets, kids, cars, musical instruments, and even plants! At the Arboretum, many plant names stand out and enhance our understanding of that plant. Parrot Tulip The Parrot Tulip has spunk…

Origins

By Greg Lecker The weather is perfect for Mother’s Day.  Under clear blue skies and sun, daffodils, tulips, magnolias and crabapple are blooming.  Along the flowing waterways are blooming clumps of yellow buttercup-like flowers that reflect the color of the sun – marsh marigold. Marsh Marigold There are many possible origins of the name “marigold”. …

Arb on Fire

Each spring and fall, workers at the Arboretum set fire to portions of the landscape. “Fire is an important part of Minnesota natural areas,” says Alan Branhagen, director of operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. “Our prescribed fires are done before grassland birds are nesting, and our later spring burns were only done in areas where…

Rare Finds

By Mary Beth Pottratz Sunlight stripes the woodland as it shines through bare tree trunks and branches. This is the very brief time of year when tiny wildflowers will bloom just until the forest is shaded by emerging leaves. Most are only a few inches tall! False rue anemone White petals of false rue anemone…

Winter’s Last Gasp

By Holly Einess I arrive early at the Arboretum on this decidedly un-April-like morning. Snow covers the ground and the temperature hovers at freezing. Despite the recent step back to winter-like conditions, spring birdsong greets me as soon as I step out of my car. Chickadees are calling “fee-bee” and a dark-eyed junco sings a…

Camouflage

By Greg Lecker Flower gardens are being uncovered; and tulips are sprouting.  Birds are calling and singing:  robins in the woodlands and blackbirds marsh and open forest edges near water.  On this gray day, I search for a bit of green in the woodland. Hepatica Leaves and Flower Buds Joining bronze colored foliage remaining from…