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It’s Poppin’: June 2nd

June 2, 2023


This long stretch of sunny days with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s certainly makes it feel like Memorial Day brought instant summer! This weekend is the perfect opportunity to soak up some rays and enjoy the latest blooms to flourish at both of our campuses. Grab some sunscreen and a cold drink and hit the trails!

Cleveland Botanical Garden

Goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus), Woodland Garden

First up on our list is the stately yet whimsical goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus). This native wildflower lines the path through the Woodland Garden and is just beginning to bloom here in Cleveland. A quick look amongst the flowers is sure to uncover a few pollinators enjoying these early summer bloomers.

Long-horned beetle on goat’s beard flowers

Speaking of plant-animal interactions, I happened to come across a crab spider blending perfectly into the green-white bracts of this kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) in White Oak Walk this morning as well. Crab spiders are ambush predators that sit and wait for a pollinator to come along to feed on a flower and then BAM! the pollinator becomes lunch. While you may not be so lucky to find a crab spider, the kousa dogwoods scattered throughout the botanic gardens are worth searching out. They are technically not in bloom yet (see the green nodules on the photo below- those are buds of the true flowers), but their showy bracts are stunning right now.

Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) in White Oak Walk
Crab spider perfectly camouflaged against the bracts of kousa dogwood

Other highlights include the deep purple flowers of Iris sibirica in the Hershey Children’s Garden and Campsey-Stauffer Gateway Garden as well as the numerous fragrant and historical roses in the Western Reserve Herb Society Rose Garden. Last week, several of the roses began blooming, but this week the garden has really taken off. Be sure to stop by and sniff as many as you can—each one has its own unique fragrance.

Siberian iris (Iris sibirica)
Western Reserve Herb Society Rose Garden

Holden Arboretum

As always, the arboretum is bursting with color at every turn. If you are a fan of pink, some vibrant finds include hardy orchid (Bletilla striata) outside the Corning Visitor Center and old-fashioned weigela (Weigela florida Wine and Roses®) in the Display Garden. While you’re in the Display Garden, try searching for the gas plant (Dictamnus albus ‘Purpureus’) on the garden’s south side. This plant got its common name from the flammable oils produced in its flowers and seed pods. Despite the hot weather lately, you should be safe to approach!

Hardy orchid (Bletilla striata)
Old-fashioned weigela (Weigela florida Wine and Roses®)
Gas plant (Dictamnus albus ‘Purpureus’)

Some more colorful bloomers this week are the bluestars (Amsonia species and cultivars). These clump-forming perennials have beautiful foliage ranging from the willowy leaves of Amsonia tabernaemontana to the thin, thread-like leaves of Amsonia hubrichtii. Beyond the periwinkle-colored flowers that appear in late spring and early summer, these plants have excellent yellow fall color as well.

Bluestar (Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’)

At this time of year, there are simply too many new blooms to list each one. Visit for yourself and discover your new favorite flower!

Alex Faidiga

Alex Faidiga

Plant Recorder

Alex Faidiga is the Plant Recorder in the Horticulture and Collections Department at HF&G. She earned her Masters degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she studied plant evolutionary ecology and the impacts of climate change on native plants. She was excited to return to her hometown of Cleveland in 2022 to work for HF&G, one of the many places in northeast Ohio where she discovered her love for plants at a young age.

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