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: You’ll see a Lenne saucer magnolia in full bloom with magenta flowers and a Dream Pink crabapple with pink buds and white blooms. Shrubs in bloom nearby include white Viking black chokeberry and Maries doublefile viburnum, along with pale blue-lavender Korean early lilac. The pale blue flowers of Eastern bluestar are just opening.
Visitor Center (parking lot P-1): There are still lavender redbuds to be seen all over the Arboretum. In the main parking lot, some flowering crabapples are coming to the end of their bloom, but white Tina crabapple is in its full glory. Among the shrubs in bloom are white slender deutzia; several kinds of fothergilla, with creamy bottlebrush flowers; and viburnums. Blooming perennials include white snowdrop anemone and Sissinghurst White common lungwort, blue Jack Frost Siberian bugloss and Cotton Cool lungwort. Lily-of-the-valley is just starting to flower.
Ground Cover Garden (parking lot P-2): Yellow Bird magnolia is in full bloom. Shrubs blooming nearby include white Alabama snow wreath and several kinds of fothergilla and viburnum. Among the perennials in bloom are pink wild geranium and bleeding heart and white large-flowered comfrey and foamflower. The blue flowers include Virginia bluebells, Jacob’s ladder, lungwort, Hidcote Blue large-flowered comfrey, and Siberian bugloss. A real treat are the half-dozen kinds of barrenwort, with small flowers ofdifferent colors dancing above heart-shaped leaves.
Hedge Collection (parking lot P-1): In the boxwood parterre, Japanese flowering crabapples and several other kinds of white crabapple are in bloom. Nearby shrubs in flower include white viburnums, white Viking black chokeberry, Clavey’s Dwarf honeysuckle, several kinds of fothergilla, and deep purple Declaration lilac. 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): Look for a pink Prairifire crabapple in full bloom. Among the nearby shrubs are several kinds of white fothergilla, with bottlebrush flower clusters; lilacs in lavender-pink and white; and white viburnums. Among the perennials are blue Virginia bluebells, white and pink daffodils, yellow corydalis, white sweet woodruff, 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 pink Chinese redbud, light purple early lilac, white quince, and compact Lemoine’s deutzia, Alabama snow wreath, and double-flowered sweet cherry.
Elm Collection (parking lot P-2): There are still daffodils blooming.
Northern Illinois and Midwest Collection (parking lot P-2): Look for trees and shrubs including lavender-pink redbuds, white-blooming bog-rosemary and flowering dogwood, and a dark pink rhododendron. Nearby by are white-blooming leatherleaf, gooseberry, and wild plum.
Frost Hill (parking lot P-3): Betty magnolia has magenta and white flowers, and Marilyn and Red Baron magnolias have blooms of lavender and white. Crabapple Lake (parking lots P-4 and P-5): Dozens of kinds of flowering crabapples are in various stages of bloom in every color from white through pink to nearly purple.
Magnolia Collection and Crowley Marsh (parking lot P-5): You’ll find several kinds of magnolias including yellow Butterflies magnolia; pale yellow Elizabeth magnolia; lavender and white George Henry Kern magnolia; and Lenne saucer magnolia, with flowers of purple and white. Listen for the frogs in the marsh.
East Woods (parking lots P-9 through P-15): Amid the lavender redbuds and white flowering dogwoods scattered in the woods, look for wildflowers along the trails. They include white wood anemone, pink wild geranium, blue Virginia bluebells, blue woodland phlox, light-blue Jacob’s ladder, yellow bristly buttercup, celandine-poppy, and bellwort, white great trillium, and dark maroon red trillium. You’ll also find jack-in-the-pulpit and the similar green dragon. Black-haw shrubs and gooseberries have white flowers.
Appalachia (parking lot P- 16): Look for white flowering dogwood, Carolina silverbell and American bladdernut. The dark maroon flower of pawpaw are just opening.
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): Chinese pearl bush and wayfaring tree have white blooms.
Flowering Trees and Europe collection (parking lot P-19): Several kinds of flowering crabapple trees are in bloom. At a distance, look for the yellow flowering magnolias.
Founder's Grove (parking lot P-20): Blue wild geranium and dark red trillium are flowering.
Thornhill Education Center Parking Lot (parking lot P- 21): Among the last of the redbuds, look for white-blooming Autumn Magic black chokeberry, fothergilla and viburnums. Along the ground are blue Virginia bluebells.
Thornhill Outpost Wild Garden (parking lot P-21): Native wildflowers are blooming. Among them you’ll find green-and-maroon jack-in-the-pulpit, white eastern false rue anemone and Dutchman’s breeches, pink wild geranium, blue Virginia bluebells, yellow bristly buttercup, celandine-poppy, and bellwort, white great trillium, and maroon red trillium. Wild ginger has odd maroon flowers if you can find them under the leaves. Shrubs in bloom include black currant and gooseberry.
Four Seasons Garden (parking lot P- 21): The twinkly blue flowers of Jack Frost Siberian bugloss are blooming along with red geum. Nearby are the fluffy white flower clusters of fothergilla.
Thornhill Education Center and Thornhill Annex (parking lot P- 21): Shrubs with white flowers include fothergilla, viburnum, and cotoneaster. A purple lilac is just getting started.
Joy Path and Thornhill South Lawn (parking lot P-21): Look for a Lenne saucer magnolia with magenta and white flowers and fragrant white Korean spice viburnum. Lily-of-the-valley flowers are just opening along the path.
Fragrance Garden (parking lot P-21): Trees and shrubs in this secluded sanctuary include Ann magnolia, with lavender and white flowers; clove currant with yellow flowers; fragrant snowball viburnum; white flowering dogwood; and dark purple Declaration lilac. Among perennials, you’ll find white snowdrop anemone, blue Jack Frost Siberian bugloss, purple barrenwort, pale yellow primrose rose, and lily-of-the-valley.
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 and blue Virginia bluebells.
Schulenberg Prairie and Sterling Pond (parking lot P-25): Look for white false toadflax; white to purple shooting star; yellow lousewort and golden Alexanders; pink wild geranium; blue Jacob’s ladder, woodland phlox, and Virginia bluebells; white trillium; and violets. trout-lily, blue Virginia bluebells, and woodland phlox, yellow bristly buttercup, and white and red trillium.
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.
West Side Alternate Route
Sargent’s Glade (parking lot P-26): You’ll see blooming whitebud, oink-purple Chinese lilac, along with wildflowers including blue Virginia bluebells, pink wild geranium, blue woodland phlox, and white and red trillium.
Lake Marmo and Pine Hill (Parking Lot 28): Look for white flowering dogwood, downy hawthorn, and fothergilla. Along the ground, wildflowers include blue woodland phlox and Virginia bluebells, great white trillium, red trillium, and yellow bristly buttercup.
Magnolias (Parking Lot 28): Yellow-flowering varieties are in full bloom.