Each spring, trees, shrubs, bulbs and wildflowers bloom throughout the The Morton Arboretum’s 1,700 acres. Ed Hedborn, manager of plant records, reports on what’s blooming each week throughout the season.
Parking lots listed are along the Arboretum’s paved roads; some locations are within a short walk of the parking lots along paved or mulched trails. Take a springtime stroll and enjoy all the spectacle of spring at the Arboretum.
For the latest updates on what’s blooming at the Arboretum, call the Bloom 'n Color Hotline at 630-719-7955.
East Side Main Route
Entrance Road: A katsura tree has small red flowers. Nearby, Toyo-Nishiki flowering quince has orange-pink flowers. Along the ground, daffodils bloom with purple periwinkle.
Visitor Center (Parking Lot 1): Texas Scarlet flowering quince has red blooms and fragrant winter-hazel has yellow ones. Several kinds of hellebores are in bloom along the ground: magenta-blue Blue Lady, pink Pink Lady, and magenta Lenten-rose. You’ll also find many daffodils in shades of yellow, with the purple flowers of periwinkle and the first white blooms of lungwort. Ballerina Loebner’s magnolia is covered with white flowers.
Ground Cover Garden (Parking Lot 1): You’ll see the first white trout-lilies, along with Golden Sunrise hellebore and several other kinds of hellbore in shades of white, yellow, and magenta. Nearby, bright blue squill and Virginia bluebells carpet the ground, along with yellow daffodils and purple vinca. A white saucer magnolia is blooming, despite a touch of frost.
Hedge Collection (Parking Lot 1): Where dark green periwinkle creeps along the ground, you’ll find purple flowers.
Administration & Research Center and Sterling Morton Library (Parking Lot 1): Several kinds of yellow daffodils bloom around the buildings, along with blue squill. You’ll also find spicebush with pale yellow flowers and winter honeysuckle blooming in white. A saucer magnolia has purple and white blooms, despite some frost damage, and a Sargent’s cherry tree is covered in pink.
Dwarf Woody Plant Collection (Parking Lot 1): In this group near the Conifer Collection, you’ll find fragrant winter-hazel with yellowish flowers; pink-flowered Weeping Higan cherry; and Fujino early spirea with white blooms.
Honeysuckles (Parking Lot 2): Flowering dogwood is blooming in the nearby woods.
Elm Collection (Parking Lot 2) Purplish-blue grape hyacinths and yellow daffodils bloom along the ground.
Northern Illinois and Midwest Collection (Parking Lot 2): Leatherleaf has white flowers, while leatherwood and spicebush have yellow ones. Near these shrubs you’ll spot yellow daffodils.
Frost Hill (Parking Lot 3): Although some of the earliest magnolias suffered a bit of frost damage, more are opening into glorious bloom every day, in shades of pink, white, and purple.
Rose Family Collection (Parking Lot 4): You’ll find lots of blooming pink and white cherry and pear trees.
Magnolia Collection and Crowley Marsh (Parking Lot 5): In the woods, look for spicebush with pale greenish-yellow flowers. The Magnolia Collection has a variety of beautiful trees blooming in shades of white and pink. A few of the earliest are frost-damaged but more are opening daily.
Tree Breeding Nursery (Parking Lot 7): A white northern Japanese magnolia and a white anise magnolia are lovely, despite a touch of frost.
Oak Collection (Parking Lot 8): In the grass, the first twinkly little flowers of spring beauty are opening.
East Woods (Parking Lots 9 through 12 and 13 through 15): Early wildflowers are just starting to show along the ground throughout the East Woods. Look for pink bulbous cress, white toothwort, pale pink spring beauty, white Dutchman’s breeches, white to pink to lavender hepatica, and white bloodroot.
Big Rock Visitor Station (Parking Lot 13): Along the trails nearby, including the paved, easy-going half-mile Woodland Trail, you’ll find wildflowers including white toothwort, pale pink spring beauty, white Dutchman’s breeches, and white eastern false rue anemone.
Bulb Meadow, Beech and Maple Collections (Parking Lot 14): Look for daffodils blooming in shades of yellow, along with bright blue scilla.
Appalachia (Parking Lot 16): White toothwort and pale pink spring beauty bloom along the ground, while spicebush has small pale yellow flowers.
China Collection (Parking Lot 17): Fragrant winter honeysuckle has creamy-white flowers. The white flowers of early-blooming Yulan magnolia and fragrant viburnum are beautiful despite a touch of frost.
Japan and Sumac Collections (Parking Lot 18): White magnolias are frost-nipped but lovely.
West Side Main Route
Olive Family and Ozark Collection (just west of underpass): A pink star magnolia is blooming along with spicebush, which has pale greenish-yellow flowers.
Flowering Trees and Europe collection (Parking Lot 19): Daffodils are in flower beneath the crabapple trees, which will bloom soon.
Founder's Grove (Parking Lot 20): Daffodils are blooming!
Thornhill Education Center Parking Lot (Parking Lot 21): The white blooms of a star magnolia are splendid despite a touch of frost damage.
Thornhill Outpost Wild Garden (Parking Lot 21): Native wildflowers have appeared, including pink bulbous cress, pale pink spring beauty, maroon toad trillium, and white eastern false rue anemone, toothwort, Dutchman’s breeches, bloodroot, and twinleaf. Blue Virginia bluebells are starting to bloom. The nearby blue squill is not native, but it’s beautiful too. A spicebush shrub has pale yellow flowers.
Four Seasons Garden (Parking Lot 21): White and maroon hellebores bloom along with yellow daffodils.
Thornhill Education Center and Thornhill Annex (Parking Lot 21): Leatherwood has yellow flowers. Along the ground, look for white Allegheny pachysandra, dark blue squill, and lighter blue periwinkle.
Joy Path and Thornhill South Lawn (Parking Lot 21): Winter honeysuckle has creamy white flowers. A northern Japanese magnolia is covered in white blooms. Like the white Merrill Loebner’s magnolia and Wada’s memory magnolia and the pink star magnolia, it caught a nip of frost on recent cold nights, but it’s still lovely. Nearby, yellow daffodils mingle with blue squill.
Fragrance Garden (Parking Lot 21): In this secluded sanctuary, dark magenta nodding hellebores bloom along with blue squill and the first white flowers of summer snowflake. Winter honeysuckle has white flowers, and so does a nearby star magnolia in full bloom and a lovely weeping cherry.
Daffodil Glade (Parking Lots 22 and 23): The ground beneath the oaks is carpeted with yellow daffodils and blue squill.
Pine Hill (Parking Lot 24): Pale pink spring beauty is just coming into bloom along the ground.
Alders and Godshalk Meadow (Parking Lot 33): A white Yulan magnolia is in full bloom, although it was nipped by frost. A Ussurian pear is a cloud of white flowers.
West Side Alternate Route
Sargent’s Glade (Parking Lot 26): Pale pink spring beauty is starting to twinkle among the blades of grass. Yellow daffodils are in bloom along with blue squill and Virginia bluebells.
Lake Marmo and Pine Hill (Parking Lot 28): White toothwort and pale pink spring beauty can be seen in the woods, along with blue squill.
Magnolias (Parking Lot 28): More magnolias are coming along, but you can already enjoy white northern Japanese magnolia, Merrill Loebner’s magnolia, anise magnolia, Iufer anise magnolia, and Green Star magnolia, along with pink Leonard Messel Loebner’s magnolia, star magnolia, and Rohrbach star magnolia. And of course there’s blue squill along the ground.