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It’s Poppin’: April 5th


Spring blooms arrived early this year, but then cold weather set in and pressed pause on our floral displays.  The recent heavy rains and cool temperatures mean that spring is gradually arriving, but that makes for the best displays of color.  At both campuses, our flowering trees are now blooming, with cherries and magnolias being the show this week.  Daffodils are on their way out, while the thousands of tulips planted each year at the botanical garden are just starting to open up.

Cleveland Botanical Garden

When you first step outside on the terrace, you’ll notice a single cherry covered in double blossoms – a Prunus First Blush® in our rose garden.

Prunus ‘First Blush’

Below it, you’ll spot our allee of tulips, just beginning to open.  In the restorative garden, we have a grouping of magenta-flowered Magnolia ‘Ricki’ that will be in peak bloom this weekend.

Magnolia ‘Ricki’

Walk around through white oak walk and enjoy the last of the daffodils (Narcissus), and then stop by the top of the butterfly garden to see the Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) also just beginning to bloom.  The earliest show is ending, but the next act is starting to begin.

Holden Arboretum

At the Arboretum, the earliest blooming magnolias may have gotten a tinge of frost, but they’re now fully open and ready for you to enjoy.  They look even better than last week! Spot favorites like Maxnolia x loebneri  hybrids ‘Merrill’ and ‘Leonard Messel’ in the display garden and in front of the corning visitor center.

Magnolia 'Leonard Messel'
Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’

Merrill is mostly white, while Leonard Messel is tinged with pink.  Take a visit to Holden Grove, one of our ‘secret’ gardens at the arboretum, because it’s difficult to spot.  Built above Corning Lake, it offers commanding views and this weekend its grove of flowering Sargent cherries (Prunus sargentii) are absolutely peak.

Sargent's Cherry
Sargent’s Cherry

Finally, if you haven’t seen it, one of my favorite early places is squirrel ridge, and its display of hellebores and daffodils.  But with warmer weather in the forecast – they will soon be gone. 

Hellebores on Squirrel Ridge

Enjoy finding magnolias and cherries at both campuses this weekend.  Things will start to move quickly, so visit early and visit often- the gardens are the show at this time of year!

Tom Arbour, M.En.

Tom Arbour, M.En.

Curator of Living Collections

As Curator of Living Collections at Holden Forests and Gardens, Tom guides the acquisition and documentation of more than 20,000 plants and trees at Cleveland Botanical Garden and The Holden Arboretum. Significant arboretum collections include oak, crabapple, maple, conifers, and Ohio wildflowers. At the Cleveland Botanical Garden, two biome-based glasshouses contain plants of the Madagascar spiny forest and a rich neotropical rainforest community. Tom is particularly interested in connecting with those wanting to use Holden’s living collections for research. Please contact Tom to learn more about the broad collection of trees and plants at our two campuses.

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