Bloom and Fall Color Reports

Bloom Report: March 17 – March 23, 2023

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March 17, 2023

Bloom Report: March 17, 2023

Plants aren’t the only forms of life awakening at The Morton Arboretum this week: Chorus frogs are starting to sing their mating calls in the wetlands, such as in Crowley Marsh on the East Side (Parking Lot 5). 

Meanwhile, plants are slowly coming out of their winter sleep. In the Ground Cover Garden and near the Plant Clinic (Parking Lot 1) hellebores, including Christmas-rose and Lenten-rose, are in bloom. Yellow- and red-blooming witch-hazels continue to flower in the Ground Cover Garden and near the Visitor Center (Parking Lot 1). A large group of witch-hazels are blooming in Witch-Hazel Dell north of Lake Marmo (Parking Lot 27). Get close to the delicate flower clusters on a calm day to smell their fragrance.

More subtle are the gray catkins on American hazelnut, which can be seen in the Midwest Collection (Parking Lot 2) and dark-brown catkins on Farge’s hazelnut, in the China Collection (Parking Lot 17). Alders, which also have catkins, are easily seen in a cluster near the East Branch of the DuPage River near Parking Lot 31. On many kinds of willows, catkins are known as pussy willows. Find them in the Willow Collection on the West Side (west of the river, across from Parking Lot 33), and in the Midwest Collection on the East Side (Parking Lot 2). 

White-flowered snowdrops are in full bloom in the Fragrance Garden and by the Thornhill Education Center (Parking Lot 21). North of the Fragrance Garden, a small patch of winter aconite has small bright yellow buttercup-like flowers.

More snowdrops, along with blooming crocuses, can be seen along the road overlooking Lake Marmo (between parking lots 26 and 27). 

In the Ground Cover Garden and near Thornhill, the first blooms of blue Siberian squill and light purple periwinkle are showing.

Overhead, some silver maples are in full bloom, creating a red tint along their branches. Cornelian-cherry dogwoods and Japanese cornel dogwood have flower buds showing hints of tiny yellow flowers to come. The hedge around the Grand Garden (Parking Lot 1) is Cornelian-cherry dogwood.

Skunk-cabbage has been blooming along Willoway Brook west of Lake Marmo and south of the Lake Marmo dam. It has 4-inch-tall meat-red fleshy teardrop-shaped flowers and a pronounced odor.

There are hints of more bloom to come. In many locations around the Arboretum, the leaves and flower buds of daffodils are 8 to 10 inches tall, promising sweeps of golden color in just a few weeks. Woodland wildflowers have yet to make an appearance.

About the Bloom Report

The Bloom Report is written by the Arboretum’s Manager of Plant Records, Ed Hedborn. It is typically published on Fridays through spring to give members and guests a chance to plan their weekend visits. The Arboretum also publishes a weekly Color Report in the fall.

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