Signs of spring continue to appear on-site at The Morton Arboretum and in natural areas in your own neighborhoods, despite the recent snowfall. Vibrant colors and gorgeous blooms bring hope that warmer weather and brighter days will be here soon. We hope you can find ways to continue to safely enjoy trees, nature, and the new life that spring brings.
About this week's featured blooms
The scientific name for daffodils, Narcissus refers to intoxication and comes from the Greek legend of a beautiful youth who falls in love with his own reflection in a pool and gazes at it, transfixed, until he turns into a golden flower. Dozens of varieties of narcissus are planted at the Arboretum. Varieties that flower early in the season can be planted beneath trees, because they will bloom before the trees’ leaves emerge to cast them into shade.
- Columnar Sargent’s cherry (Prunus sargentii ‘Columnaris’)
Sargent’s cherry is hardy and small, an adaptable ornamental tree native to Japan and Korea. It is named for botanist Charles Sprague Sargent who, as director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University, advised Joy Morton when he was planning The Morton Arboretum in the early 1920s. A columnar tree has a narrow form, somewhat resembling a column.
- Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
Native to Japan, star magnolia is a small tree valued for its white early spring flowers. Because it blooms so early, its flowers are vulnerable to damage from frosts that can occur even in late spring in the Midwest. Star magnolia is best planted in a sheltered location, such as near a patio, entryway, or shrub border.
- Saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana)
The saucer magnolia, the most widely planted variety of magnolia in the Midwest, is a hybrid of two Chinese species. Many varieties are available, mostly in shades of pink. Because this small tree blooms so early in spring, its flowers are easily damaged by late frosts.
- Golden weeping willow (Salix alba ‘Tristis’)
The yellow-green glow of willow trees as their leaves emerge is one of the familiar signs of spring. The golden weeping willow, with yellow twigs, is a weeping form of a species native to Europe, although the first weeping willow trees were probably developed from a different tree species in China. The famous Blue Willow china pattern, which features weeping willows, was created in 18th-century England in imitation of Chinese ceramics.
How You Can Support
As a nonprofit organization, The Morton Arboretum relies on admissions, annual memberships, philanthropic gifts, and support from community partners. You can support the Arboretum’s mission to plant and protect trees during this temporary closure by making an online gift today or by becoming a member.