Visiting the Morton Arboretum

Last Thursday I visited the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. It was a beautiful, sunny day.

The entrance to the Morton Arboretum.

I enjoyed the ground cover garden and the formal and informal hedges. After seeing those I wandered over to the conifers. The spiky cones of table mountain pine were interesting to see up close. I also found the variation in the shades of green in the needles intriguing.

Table mountain pine (Pinus pungens) at the Morton Arboretum.

I saw a very cool dragonfly that seemed to enjoy conifers too. It had effective conifer camouflage.

A dragonfly at rest.

After walking several miles of trails in the East Side of the arboretum I walked back toward the visitor center. Along the way I saw a Morton Peking lilac with the registered name China Snow® (Syringa pekinensis ‘Morton’). It had spectacular exfoliating bark with light colored lenticels.

A lilac I had not seen before (Syringa pekinensis ‘Morton’ ).

I stopped for a late lunch at the Ginkgo Restaurant in the visitor center. I was surprised at the quality of the food and the reasonable prices. The seating area overlooks Meadow Lake.

Meadow Lake at the Morton Arboretum.

After lunch I walked the West Side of the arboretum. I saw a large fishing bird in Sunfish Pond; I think it is a great blue heron.

A great blue heron?

The glass trail near the Thornhill Education Center fascinated me. It shimmered and sparkled in the sunlight. Upon close examination the buffed little pieces of glass are many different colors and shapes. It’s a very cool design. I wonder how well it holds up? I also wonder why I haven’t seen more of these?

The glass trail by the Thornhill Education Center (close up on right).

I spent a lot of time in the fragrance garden. It has a great variety of shrubs and herbaceous plants. I’d love to see (and smell) all the viburnums in the spring when they are blooming. I really like heliotrope, so I spent some time admiring the impressive display of Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine.’

Marine heliotrope looking very purple.

I saw a nice group of Viette’s Little Suzy showy black-eyed susans. I’ve seen this plant for sale–and I even grew it briefly–but I have not seen large plantings like this before. It is impressive.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. speciosa ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’ in bloom.

I liked the ginkgo leaf tiles along the sidewalk near the Thornhill Education Center. Ginkgo leaves, with their parallel venation and curved shape, are very unique.

A ginkgo leaf tile at the Morton Arboretum.

Additional highlights from my visit include seeing 86 species and hybrids of Ulmus, seeing an Alnus species I had never seen before, and seeing beaver damage on a large tree. I was very impressed by how manicured the trails were, as well as the attention paid to the gardens in the center of the arboretum. To fully appreciate a garden or arboretum many visits in different seasons are required–but I really enjoyed my summer visit to the Morton Arboretum.

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Filed under General, Horticulture

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