February 17, 2012

Arboretum Photos

by Kenneth Moore

During the NCAC meeting on Saturday, I took the opportunity to wander around the Arboretum grounds (or, at least, the parts more readily accessible to the meeting space).

When people think of the Arboretum, or any arboretum, they mostly think of spring flowers, summer strolls, beautiful fall colors as leaves slowly drop to the ground--but the Arboretum holds a lot of interest during the winter, as well!

Last Saturday was a fairly grey, chill day--it later snow/rained, making me glad I didn't stay longer and explore more of the Arboretum. But what I did see was a lot more than I expected!

This is close to what I expected to see pretty much everywhere--where bonsai usually hang out in miniature splendor, just a barren landscape. All the bonsai go inside for the winter! With the grey skies and aged wood, I thought this was an interesting photo, though.

There are many winter-flowering plants to see at the Arboretum right now: flowering quince (Chaenomeles x superba 'Mandarin'), for example, has a display of red blossoms amongst its barren twigs.

These Galanthus in the Herb Garden are in their element this time of year.

And daffodils are sprouting up all around the place.

A hellebore in front of the main building.

Helleborus niger in the Herb Garden

Some trees are even getting into the spirit of winter blooming. This double-flowering Prunus mume, Japanese apricot, has its blossoms on full display right now.

Seeing amazing planty architecture like this is just not possible at other times of the year. This Ginkgo biloba has been trained and trimmed into this shape--it surely looks amazing when in leaf, but it looks even more stark and stunning during the winter!

During the rest of the year, these colorful sedum near the main building are visible--but with so much other wonderful plant delights to distract a visitor, I'm sure they're often overlooked.

"Winter interest" in the herb garden.

This bush (Chimonanthus praecox, Wintersweet) looks sort of drab from afar.

But up close, C. praecox flowers smell amazing--something between jasmine and honeysuckle and used to make scented water in Japan.

A bottom-up view shows beautiful colouring inside the flower, as well.

A visit to the Arboretum is not complete without a snapshot of the iconic columns in the meadow.