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: Shrubs in bloom include white Viking black chokeberry and Maries doublefile viburnum, along with pale blue-lavender Korean early lilac. Pink Kern’s Pink doublefile viburnum is just starting to flower. Eastern bluestar has opened its pale blue flowers, and the lavender-violet blooms of Prairieblues™ Starlite false indigo are just opening.
Visitor Center (parking lot P-1): Among the shrubs in bloom are white Iroquois Beauty™ black chokeberry; slender deutzia; and Winter Flame blood-twigged dogwood. and viburnums. Blooming perennials include white snowdrop anemone, several kinds of pink, blue, and white lungwort, blue Jack Frost Siberian bugloss and Cotton Cool lungwort. Just starting to flower are white lily-of-the-valley, blue May Night woodland sage, white Whitewater speedwell, pale blue Lemon Drop bluestar, and pink Bevan’s Variety big-rooted geranium.
Ground Cover Garden (parking lot P-2): Yellow Bird magnolia is in full bloom. Shrubs blooming nearby include several kinds of fothergilla and viburnum, along with the maroon flowers of Carolina allspice. Among the perennials in bloom are pink wild geranium and bleeding heart; white large-flowered comfrey and foamflower; salmon-pink wild columbine; and yellow compact goldentuft and primrose rose. The blue flowers include Virginia bluebells, Jacob’s ladder, lungwort, Hidcote Blue large-flowered comfrey, Spanish bluebells, and Siberian bugloss. Catmint is just beginning to flower. Half a dozen kinds of barrenwort still have flowers of different colors above their heart-shaped leaves.
Hedge Collection (parking lot P-1): Shrubs in flower include white viburnums, white Viking black chokeberry, and deep purple Declaration lilac. Palibin lilac is just getting ready to flower. Toward the Adminstration and Research Center, look along the ground for yellow geum and blue dwarf crested iris.
Administration & Research Center and Sterling Morton Library (parking lot P-1): Pagoda dogwood is just opening its white flowers. Among the blooming shrubs are lilacs; and white viburnums, cotoneaster, and Iroquois Beauty™ black chokeberry. Among the perennials are purple and white Flight of Cranes tree peony, blue Virginia bluebells, white and pink daffodils; yellow corydalis and Indian strawberry; white sweet woodruff, Virginia waterleaf, and lily-of-the-valley; and green dragon, which looks much like jack-in-the-pulpit.
Dwarf Woody Plant Collection (parking lot P-1): In this area near the Conifer Collection, you’ll find blooming shrubs including dark compact Lemoine’s deutzia and Palibin lilac. Look also for a dark red Plack Pirate tree peony.
Meadow Lake (parking lot P-1) and Elm Collection (parking lot P-2): Shooting star has abundant pink, purple and white flowers, and prairie smoke sports its wispy pink flowers. Nearby, flowering dogwood has white blooms.
Northern Illinois and Midwest Collection (parking lot P-2): Look for trees and shrubs including white-blooming bog-rosemary, choke cherry, American bladdernut, leatherleaf, gooseberry, and wild plum.
Frost Hill (parking lot P-3): Carolina silverbell has white flowers.
East Woods (parking lots P-9 through P-15): Look for white flowering dogwoods, American bladdernut, black-haw, and choke cherries scattered in the woods. You’ll also find wildflowers along the trails, including white May-apple, pink wild geranium, blue woodland phlox and wild-hyacinth, light-blue Jacob’s ladder, white and pink shooting star, white great trillium, and dark maroon red trillium. You’ll also find jack-in-the-pulpit and the similar green dragon.
Appalachia (parking lot P- 16): Look for white flowering dogwood, Carolina silverbell, American bladdernut, and American mountain-ash. Pawpaw has dark maroon flowers.
China Collection (parking lot P-17): White flowering dogwood and purple woodland peony are in bloom.
West Side Main Route
Olive Family and Ozark Collection (just west of underpass): Pawpaw has dark maroon blooms.
Founder's Grove (parking lot P-20): Blue wild geranium and woodland phlox and dark red trillium are flowering. Black-haw has white blooms.
Thornhill Education Center Parking Lot (parking lot P- 21): Look for white-blooming chokeberry viburnums, and red-osier dogwood, as well as lavender lilacs. Along the ground are dark pink Czakor big-rooted geranium, and blue Jacob’s ladder.
Thornhill Outpost Wild Garden (parking lot P-21): Trees and shrubs in bloom include white baneberry, American bladdernut, choke cherry and viburnum. Native wildflowers include blue wild-hyacinth and woodland phlox; pink wild geranium; feathery white false Solomon’s seal; red trillium; and white May-apple and great white trillium.
Four Seasons Garden (parking lot P- 21): The twinkly blue flowers of Jack Frost Siberian bugloss are blooming along with red geum and blue Spanish bluebells and Hidcote Blue large-flowered comfrey. Lilacs and willow-leaved eastern blue star are just beginning to bloom.
Thornhill Education Center and Thornhill Annex (parking lot P- 21): Shrubs include white viburnum, and cotoneaster and purple lilac.
Joy Path and Thornhill South Lawn (parking lot P-21): Alliums are sporting their ball-shaped flower clusters along with lily—of-the-valley. Look for a Lenne saucer magnolia with magenta and white flowers, as well as white flowers on red-osier dogwood.
Fragrance Garden (parking lot P-21): Trees and shrubs in this secluded sanctuary include cotoneaster with white flowers; clove currant with yellow flowers; white flowering dogwood, deutzia, and abelia; and lavender-pink Red Pixie lilac. Among perennials, you’ll find yellow iris; blue catmint; blue Jack Frost Siberian bugloss; pale yellow primrose rose; and lily-of-the-valley. Pink Bevan’s Variety big-rooted geranium and pale blue eastern blue star are just beginning to flower.
Daffodil Glade (parking lots P-22 and P-23): Pink wild geraniums and blue woodland phlox are in bloom.
Pine Hill and Cricket Hill (parking lot P-24): Among the trees you can find pink wild geranium, white May-apple, and jack-in-the-pulpit.
Schulenberg Prairie and Sterling Pond (parking lot P-25): Look for white false toadflax; white to purple shooting star; yellow lousewort, bristly buttercup, and golden Alexanders; pink wild geranium; blue Jacob’s ladder and woodland phlox; white trillium; red trillium; and violets.
Alders and Godshalk Meadow (parking lot P-33): Lilacs are blooming in shades of purple, white, and lavender-blue. You’ll also find white wayfaring tree and Chinese pearlbush. Along the ground are pink primroses and white foamflower.
West Side Alternate Route
Sargent’s Glade (parking lot P-26): Pink-purple Chinese lilac is blooming, along with wildflowers including pink wild geranium, blue woodland phlox, and white and red trillium.
Lake Marmo and Pine Hill (Parking Lot 28): Look for white flowering dogwood. Along the ground, wildflowers include blue woodland phlox, pink wild geranium, great white trillium, red trillium, white May-apple, and yellow bristly buttercup.