New Ways to Wander The Morton Arboretum Amid Spring BeautyNew Flowers, Trails, Descriptive Panels, Bicycling Bring New Ways To Enjoy Spring At Tree Museum
LISLE, IL (April 15, 2008) – There’s much more than pretty, new, blooming flowers with breathtaking beauty this spring at The Morton Arboretum. Two miles of new hiking trails through some of the Arboretum’s most important and celebrated tree collections, coupled with new informational panels and a new springtime bicycling option make this year’s springtime tree explorations more special than ever.
Throughout the Arboretum’s 1,700 acres with trees and other plants from 61 countries, Mother Nature is awakening the flora and sending out an incredible rainbow of colors. The Arboretum displays the largest collection of flowering trees in the Midwest, including the show-stopping crabapples and redbuds. And the 100,000 Arboretum daffodils bring visitors a brilliant sunburst of yellows and whites.
Currently in full, blooming splendor in select locations are the white- and purple-flowered crocuses, glory-of-the-snow’s blue flowers, and winter aconite with its yellow buttercup-like flowers. Daffodils are beginning to peek out around the Arboretum, as are Cornelian-cherry dogwood with yellow flowers, plus dark magenta Lenten-rose and white Christmas-rose.
The new hiking trails give visitors an easier way to explore tree collections and see amazing tree features they might not have noticed before. Some of the new trails are already installed, and all are expected to be completed (weather permitting) by Arbor Day, April 25, this nation’s oldest environmental holiday. The Arboretum will then feature 16 miles of well-maintained trails.
One new trail leads through the nationally-recognized elm collection, one of the largest elm collections in the world, and through the linden collection.
“That elm collection has been vitally important. Research there resulted in the Arboretum breeding several new elm trees that are resistant to Dutch elm disease,” says Kunso Kim, Arboretum Curator of Living Collections. “In addition, the new trails allow visitors to see the elms’ unusual bark patterns: some flaky, some grooved, and some are like cork.”
There are also two new trail loops: one that winds through the Japan collection, featuring Northern Japanese magnolias whose flowers – which are staring to come out now – actually emerge before their leaves! The Japanese horse chestnut features “impressive” white flowers in June, Kim says.
A second loop leads visitors through the China, Central and Western Asia, and Eastern U.S. Wetlands collections, and by the Appalachia collection.
“People should not miss the new loop from China to Appalachia which passes around a ravine, because the views of the collections are especially stunning,” says Arboretum Landscape Architect Peggy Pelkonen, who designed the trails.
To help visitors more deeply appreciate the longstanding and significant relationships between people and trees, 14 new informational panels are up along the Conifer Walk. These panels explain the cultural meanings, economic value, and ornamental uses of these pines, yews, and other conifers.
This is the first-ever spring that Arboretum visitors can enjoy the delightful beauty from a bicycle. The Arboretum now permits bicycling on the nine miles of paved roads, with bike racks available in varied locations for riders to park and walk into the spectacular collections. The Arboretum gratefully acknowledges our bicycling sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.
Seeing it all on foot remains not only a joyful option, but a healthy one as well. Two scientific studies report people who exercise can add three years to their lives, and their hearts benefit from a simple, half-hour walk at least five days per week.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,134 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630-968-0074 to learn more.