Spring from Snow

By Greg Lecker This Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, green growth is just beginning to peak from the melting snow pack.  Sunday is grayer and a bit cooler than the holiday Saturday.  The quartet of Tom turkeys that I passed on the drive gobble loudly.  I look back to see frequent Sunday morning visitor…… playing his…

Appreciating Winter, Looking Forward to Spring

By Holly Einess I decide to take advantage of the car-free Three-Mile Drive for today’s walk. It’s a chilly 29 degrees, but the bright sun takes the edge off the cold. Apparently the birds aren’t in a spring-like mood, as their calls are notably absent. One thing I love about winter is the chance to…

Clouds, Pips and Pancakes

By Mary Beth Pottratz Thick gray clouds thin to wispy white as I walk through the forest at the Arboretum. A balmy 44⁰ and sun reflecting brightly off the snowbanks warm me despite sailboat-worthy winds. A tall red pine reminds me that in nature, it’s often what you don’t see that matters. The sky is…

Fungi, Fermentation, and Fertilization

By Holly Einess The East Side Trails, a favorite Arboretum destination of mine, are accessible only via x-country skis in winter. So on skis I go! Winter East Side Trail I can feel the sun’s warmth in the still air. Chickadees are carrying on as though it’s a mild spring day, darting through the trees…

Sunny Superbowl Sunday

By Mary Beth Pottratz Nothing is more beautiful than a wintry sun casting sparkles like fairy dust onto a snowbank. The snow crust twinkles while the shadows reflect a soft steel blue. Sparkles on a Snowbank Clear skies and full sunshine warm me despite temperatures hovering at zero and a twenty-below windchill. It’s not just…

Gilded in Frozen Fog

By Sydney Chandler Recently, King Midas’s lesser-known, winter enthusiast sibling descended on the Arboretum. Rather than beautifying with gold as their brother would do, they gilded the landscape in an intricate layer of frozen fog. The resulting ice crystals give Arboretum visitors a new take on the beauty of winter while simultaneously challenging how they…

Winter Delights

By Greg Lecker What a pleasant spell of warmth tucked between frigid cold and an upcoming forecast snow!  I need no gloves; and I am more than comfortable in my heavy coat.  The rising sun has just disappeared behind a dome of overcast gray and white.  I can just make out the red barn on…

Life on the Winter Prairie

By Holly Einess At first glance the prairie in winter appears lifeless and rather bleak. The colorful flowers of summer and fall are absent, replaced by the dull golds and grays of dormant plants and trees. Bennett-Johnson Prairie Trail However, to the careful observer the winter prairie reveals a world full of life and drama,…

Close Encounters of the Annual Kind

By Mary Beth Pottratz Today’s 30⁰ brought relief from the bitter cold we had at the end of the year. I am nice and toasty-warm in my winter wear.Several couples, groups, and families are also hiking along Green Heron Trail this afternoon. We greet each other with a smile and “beautiful day!” as we pass….

Enduring the Extremes

By Sydney Chandler Winter has taken on traits of groundcovers, creeping vines, and invasive species to learn to choke out warmth and leave a frozen trail behind. The cold seeks out exposed skin and seeps through layers of warm clothing. Arboretum residents– both flora and fauna– have hunkered down to survive the cold. Flora seem…

Nature’s Decorations

By Greg Lecker Two grey squirrels frolic – chasing one another through the Japanese garden as I move into the woods near home demonstration garden.  In the dim morning light, American cranberrybush berries brighten a thicket of twigs seen against snow and dark evergreens. American Cranberrybush Berries I’m happy we’ve crossed over the solstice and…