The area around Pine Hill contains some of the oldest existing plantings of the Arboretum, dating from 1922 when it first opened. Here you'll find stately pines with snow covered boughs that can be enjoyed for their natural beauty In late winter. Return in early spring to look for great horned owls who have commandeered other birds' nests in which to raise their fluff-headed young.
This patch of West Side coniferous forest may be serene, but make sure to stay alert and keep your eyes up. You can see great-horned owls here year-round, and perhaps a northern saw-whet owl in the winter if you’re lucky. You may also see hawks at the treetops from across Lake Marmo.
Bobolinks may have given this grassy oasis its name, but they are not the only birds who nest in this scenic meadow. Look for bluebirds occupying the nest boxes as well. You might also find chickadees here, so listen for their pure, simple whistle of “fee-bee” or “hey, sweetie.”
Step into this restored prairie to experience the first of many rich sites for bird watching at the Arboretum. Keep your eyes out for common yellowthroats, flycatchers, and many different sparrows flittering among the tall prairie plants. Willoway Creek, which flows between the prairie and Sterling Pond, can also host winter wrens and ovenbirds.
From the Visitor Center, walk past the Ground Cover Garden towards the parallel rows of shrubs to enter the Hedge Collection. The organic-looking hedges to your right are “unsheared” while the formal-looking hedges to your left are “sheared.” This is a great spot to race the kids. Look for four white columns and see who can reach them first!
The cool slopes of the Appalachian Collection are home to plants from the diverse Appalachian mountain range. Many of the plants you can see here are rarely found outside their native habitat. In spring, stop to admire the amazing wildflowers, as well as unique herbaceous plants like the American umbrella-leaf. Look for groves of Eastern hemlock and pawpaw, just a few treasures among the many beautiful Appalachian trees and shrubs.