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It’s Poppin’: May 5th

May 5, 2023


With two sunny days in the forecast, now is the time to visit!  Five straight days of rain and cold weather has kept the blooms waiting for you.  Cold, but not freezing conditions is just what we need to preserve our spring blooms for a few more weeks- but act soon, we’re already nearing the end of the spring flower season- the leaf canopy will be green again before you know it.

Cleveland Botanical Garden

This past week saw quite a few of our azaleas begin to bloom. On your way down to the Japanese Garden, find Girard’s fuchsia blazing away.  And once you’re in the hillside Japanese Garden,  Look for the pink-magenta and white azaleas just beginning to bloom. Also, if you’re a Japanese maple fan, all of our trees are sporting young, fresh, foliage.  The rhododendrons in the Waterfall Garden have also started to bloom and this area is looking the best it has all year.

Girard’s fuchsia
Japanese Garden

Scattered around the garden you’ll find some of our Epimediums, or barrenworts, beginning to bloom. A great perennial for dry shady situations, they’re slow growing groundcovers that have been bred in a variety of colors. Finally, outside the garden gate along Wade Oval Dr., you’ll see a small pocket garden where wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) and a pink-flowered azalea (possibly Rhododendron prinophyllum but we’re still working out the identification) growing alongside large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) and last week’s mention, the drooping trillium (Trillium flexipes).

wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
Rhododendron prinophyllum
Gateway Garden with Tulips

Finally, while the daffodils have senesced, there are still plenty of tulips showing off – but this will be the last week before we say goodbye to them for another year as well.

Holden Arboretum

Things are absolutely stunning at the Arboretum right now – If you’re going to visit just one day this Spring, it looks like this Saturday will be the day you don’t want to miss.  Sunshine and moderate temperatures will match with the peak bloom of lilacs, azaleas, and spring wildflowers.

The lilacs in the Display Garden are stunning right now – take in the dozens of varieties of Syringa vulgaris, in purples, magentas and even white.  The fragrance is wafting throughout the gardens.  Please do stop and smell the lilacs – don’t be afraid to leave the path and walk on the grass – you’re allowed!

Syringa vulgaris,

Several azaleas and rhododendrons are absolutely stunning.  Take a hike to the canopy walk entrance, and you’ll be greeted with several glowing clumps of the pink-flowered Rhododendron ‘Easter Dawn’.  Continue past the walk’s entrance around the Layer Garden loop, and you’ll find more rhododendrons blazing in the spring sunshine.

Rhododendron ‘Easter Dawn’
Rhododendrons in the Layer Garden

Finally, the Wildflower Garden is absolutely at peak right now.  In addition to the large white trilliums, look for wakerobin (Trillium erectum) and its rich maroon flowers. Lakeside Daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea), one of Ohio’s globally rare plants, is now blooming in the limestone rockery.  Wild phlox, wood poppy and golden ragwort are also putting on quite the display.

wakerobin (Trillium erectum)
Lakeside Daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea)
Wild phlox
Wood Poppy
Golden Ragwort

Enjoy the floral show this weekend – It looks like Saturday will be the best day to explore the Arboretum and Botanical Garden this weekend for sun and flowers abounding throughout our carefully tended gardens.  It’s Poppin’ out there!

Thomas Arbour

Thomas Arbour

Curator of Living Collections

I grew up in northeast Ohio, graduating from Stow High School. I attended Hiram College, where I learned to love plants through the mentoring of Dr. Matt Hils. After Hiram, I obtained a Master of Environmental Science at Miami University, completing an internship with The ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves in Columbus to help convert the Ohio Natural Heritage Database from paper maps to a GIS-based system. Over 20+ years, I worked with ODNR in central office in Columbus as a rare plant botanist, wildlife research technician, nature preserves administrator, and finally, the state trails administrator. In these positions, I had the opportunity to document many of Ohio's rarest plants and plant communities.

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