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: A number of small trees and shrubs are in full bloom, including redbuds with lavender flowers. Several flowering quince shrubs are in bloom, including Toyo-Nishiki, with fluffy orange-pink blooms, salmon-pink Cameo and red Fusion. A Lenne saucer magnolia has magenta flowers. Crabapples are flowering too, including white Donald Wyman crabapple, pink Dream Pink and Red peacock, with white and pale pink flowers. FIRST SNOW™ spirea and Judd’s viburnum have white blooms, while a Korean early lilac is just opening its pale blue-lavender flowers.
Visitor Center (Parking Lot 1): In addition to the lavender redbuds, trees and shrubs in bloom include white Jet Trail flowering quince and red Texas Scarlet flowering quince. Several varieties of fothergilla have fluffs of white flowers. The Bride Chinese pearl bush has white flowers and slender deutzia is just opening its white blooms. Crabapples in flower include pink Luwick crabapple, and white Professor Sprenger, SUGAR TYME®, Tina, and redbud crabapple. Several viburnums have white clusters of bloom, Burkwood’s viburnum, Korean spice viburnum, Judd’s viburnum, and black-haw. Among the perennials in bloom are white snowdrop anemone, twinkly blue Jack Frost Siberian bugloss, sky-blue Virginia bluebells, blue Cotton Cool lungwort and white Sissinghurst White common lungwort.
Ground Cover Garden (Parking Lot 1): A large shrub, Nana dwarf Canada serviceberry, is in full white bloom. Other white-flowering shrubs include several kinds of fothergilla and viburnum. A Yellow Bird magnolia has just pened its pale yellow flowers, while grape-holly has blooms of a more intense yellow. Among the perennials in bloom are yellow compact goldentuft; Jack Frost and Langtrees Siberian bugloss, with twinkly little blue flowers; and blue Virginia bluebells. Several kinds of barrenwort are flowering, including purple Lilafee, orange Orange Queen, yellow Frohnleiten, red barrenwort, yellow barrenwort, and white Young’s barrenwort. You may see white trout-lily. There are three kinds of bleeding heart in bloom: pink and white bleeding heart and Goldheart common bleeding heart, which has red flowers and chartreuse foliage. Jacob’s ladder has blue flowers and celandine-poppy has yellow ones. Several kinds of vinca have white, purple or blue flowers. You’ll also see many ferns unfurling their fiddleheads.
Hedge Collection (Parking Lot 1): A number of shrubs are blooming in formal and informal hedges. Look for white flowers on hedge cotoneaster, several kinds of fothergilla and viburnum, and FIRST SNOW™ spirea. A Betty magnolia has dark lavender and maroon flowers. In the center of the boxwood parterre, four pink Japanese flowering crabapples are in full bloom. Elsewhere, look for white SPRING SENSATION™ crabapple and FIREBIRD® Sargent’s crabapple.
Administration & Research Center and Sterling Morton Library (Parking Lot 1): Among trees and shrubs, look for white low serviceberry; lavender-pink redbud; orange, pink, salmon and white versions of Japanese flowering quince; white downy hawthorn; several kinds of fothergilla with fluffy white blooms; yellow Oregon grape holly and fragrant sumac; a pink Prairifire crabapple and a white tea crabapple; a flowering almond with pink double flowers; and white viburnums. Follow your nose to the fragrant Korean spice viburnums. A Miss. Ellen Wilmot lilac with double white flowers is just coming into bloom. Among perennials, you’ll find yellow-blooming Indian strawberry; both red- and white-blooming barrenwort; the white flowers of sweet woodruff; Fragrant rose narcissus, with white petals and a salmon center; and blue Virginia bluebells.
Dwarf Woody Plant Collection (Parking Lot 1): In this area near the Conifer Collection, you’ll find blooming shrubs including LAVENDER TWIST® redbud, dark pink Chinese redbud, white Compact Lemoine’s deutzia, quince, spirea, and Alabama snow wreath, and cherries blooming in pink and white.
White viburnums are in full bloom and white and purple lilacs are just starting.
Elm Collection (Parking Lot 2): Purple-blue grape-hyacinths are blooming among white Bridal Crown narcissus. Nearby, near the eastern shore of Meadow Lake, are redbuds and flowering dogwood.
Northern Illinois and Midwest Collection (Parking Lot 2): Look for trees and shrubs including lavender-pink redbuds, white-blooming leatherleaf, yellow black currant, white Missouri gooseberry, and white American bladdernut.
Frost Hill (Parking Lot 3): Several kinds of magnolias are in full bloom, including betty magnolia, with dark magenta and white flowers; Elizabeth magnolia, with pale yellow flowers; Marilyn and Red Baron magnolias, with flowers of dark lavender and white; and Simple Pleasures magnolia, with lavender and white blooms.
Rose Family Collection (Parking Lot 4): Gooseberry and currant bushes have white flowers.
Magnolia Collection and Crowley Marsh (Parking Lot 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.
East Woods (Parking Lots 9 through 15): Amid the lavender redbuds and white flowering dogwoods scattered in the woods, look for wildflowers along the trails. They include white wood anemone, white trout lily, yellow trout-lily, 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. Black-haw shrubs are coming into bloom.
Appalachia (Parking Lot 16): Lavender redbuds are in bloom, along with white elderberry.
China Collection (Parking Lot 17): Spirea shrubs have white flowers and purple-red woodland peony is in full bloom.
West Side Main Route
Olive Family and Ozark Collection (just west of underpass): Chinese pearl bush has white blooms.
Flowering Trees and Europe collection (Parking Lot 19): Flowering crabapple trees are beginning to bloom.
Founder's Grove (Parking Lot 20): Look for lavender redbud trees, yellow and white daffodils, and subtle maroon red trillium.
Thornhill Education Center Parking Lot (Parking Lot 21): More redbuds! You’ll also find white-blooming fothergilla, yellow Gro-low fragrant sumac, white FIRST SNOW™ spirea, and several kinds of white-blooming viburnums. Along the ground are blue Virginia bluebells.
Thornhill Outpost Wild Garden (Parking Lot 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, white trout-lily, yellow trout-lily, pink wild geranium, blue Virginia bluebells, yellow bristly buttercup and celandine-poppy, white great trillium, and maroon red trillium. Shrubs in bloom include black currant and gooseberry.
Four Seasons Garden (Parking Lot 21): The twinkly blue flowers of Jack Frost Siberian bugloss are blooming, near the fluffy white flower clusters of fothergilla.
Thornhill Education Center and Thornhill Annex (Parking Lot 21): Redbuds and white fothergilla and viburnum are in bloom.
Joy Path and Thornhill South Lawn (Parking Lot 21): More redbuds! You’ll also find a Lenne saucer magnolia with magenta and white flowers and fragrant white Korean spice viburnum.
Fragrance Garden (Parking Lot 21): Trees and shrubs in this secluded sanctuary include Ann magnolia, with lavender and white flowers; Oregon grape-holly and clove currant with yellow flowers; white FIRST SNOW™ spirea; and several kinds of viburnum, including fragrant Korean spice viburnum. Among perennials, you’ll find whote snowdrop anemone, blue Jack Frost Siberian bugloss, and purple barrenwort.
Daffodil Glade (Parking Lots 22 and 23): White trout-lily, yellow and white daffodils, blue Virginia bluebells, and blue woodland phlox are in bloom.
Schulenberg Prairie and Sterling Pond (Parking Lot 25): Look for white trout-lily, blue Virginia bluebells, and woodland phlox, yellow bristly buttercup, and white and red trillium.
Alders and Godshalk Meadow (Parking Lot 33): Lilacs are coming into bloom in shades of purple, white, and lavender-blue. You’ll also find fragrant Korean spice viburnum.
West Side Alternate Route
Sargent’s Glade (Parking Lot 26): You’ll see lots of lavender-pink redbuds along the road. Look also for white trout-lily, blue Virginia bluebells, and yellow daffodils. On the trails, you may find white great trillium and maroon red trillium.
Lake Marmo and Pine Hill (Parking Lot 28): Enjoy the redbuds reflected in the waters of the lake. You’ll also find wildflowers including blue woodland phlox, white trout-lily, great white trillium, and red trillium.
Magnolias (Parking Lot 28): Yellow-flowering varieties are in full bloom.