Bloom and Fall Color Reports

Bloom Report: March 24 – March 30, 2023

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March 24, 2023

Cool weather has slowed the progress of spring bloom at The Morton Arboretum. It’s still early, but you can tell spring has arrived by listening to the chorus frogs singing in the wetlands on the East Side, especially at Bur Reed Marsh (accessible from Parking Lot 6).

Among plants, Christmas-rose and Lenten-rose, two kinds of hellebores, are in full bloom in the Ground Cover Garden and near the Plant Clinic (Parking Lot 1). Yellow- and red-blooming witch-hazels continue to bloom in the Ground Cover Garden and on the grounds of the Visitor Center (Parking Lot 1). A wide array are in bloom in Witch-Hazel Dell, north of Lake Marmo (Parking Lot 27).

Fuzzy flowers called catkins can be seen on American hazelnut in the Midwest Collection (Parking Lot 2) and Farge’s hazelnut in the China Collection (Parking Lot 17). Alder catkins can be seen in a group near the East Branch of the DuPage River near Parking Lot 31. Look for silvery-colored catkins forming on willows in Midwest Collection on the East Side (Parking Lot 2) and in the Willow Collection on the West Side (Parking Lot 33).

Some silver maples are in full bloom, creating a reddish haze around their branches overhead. Cornelian-cherry dogwoods and Japanese cornel dogwood are showing tiny yellow flower buds ready to burst open. A large Cornelian-cherry dogwood can be found at the west end of the Grand Garden (Parking Lot 1), and the hedge surrounding the garden is also that spring-blooming species of dogwood.

White-flowered snowdrops continue to bloom just west of the Visitor Center and in the Fragrance Garden (Parking Lot 21). A sweep of snowdrops and blooming crocuses can be seen at the crest of the road overlooking Lake Marmo (between parking lots 26 and 27).

A small patch of winter aconite, with small bright yellow buttercup-like flowers, is in full bloom north of the Fragrance Garden.

The first dark-blue blooms of Siberian squill and periwinkle are beginning to appear in the Ground Cover Garden and in the landscape around the Thornhill Education Center.

One of the most odd and interesting of spring flowers is in bloom south of Willoway Brook at the west end of Lake Marmo (Parking Lot 28). Skunk-cabbage has 4-inch-tall meat-red fleshy teardrop-shaped flowers and a highly distinctive odor that attracts early season pollinators.

Daffodils have yet to bloom, although their leaves and foliage have emerged in many locations around the Arboretum.

Wildflowers too are still in the future, although the earliest are near: Leaves and buds have formed on spring beauty, which grows in many places around the grounds.

About the Spring Bloom Report

The Spring 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 Fall Color Report.

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