Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Sunshine on waterI hate to say this out loud and jinx us, but it’s possible that here in Minnesota we’re actually moving on to spring – and it’s May 9. Winter is normally long and drawn-out here, but this year it was especially so. Needless to say, the Vitamin-D deficient masses are eager to get outside for some fresh air.

ArboretumThe Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a fabulous place to do just that. Located in Chaska, it’s just minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Stop by the Oswald Visitor Center first to get a map and find out about the day’s events before heading out to explore the over 1,000 acres of gardens, woodlands, and landscapes.

On the expansive grounds there are guided tours, nature walks, weekend family fun events, classes and speakers. Buildings include the syrup evaporator house, a sensory garden, a conservatory, and the Midwest’s only horticultural research library. Visitors can eat in a picnic shelter to refuel after a long hike, then explore the gift shop and art gallery. Kids will love the learning center, which houses A Growing Place for Kids.

photo by Bill Roehl
photo by Bill Roehl

The website describes this amazing place far better than I can: “The Arboretum features more than 1,100 acres of magnificent gardens, model landscapes, and natural areas-from woodlands and wetlands to prairie-with extensive collections of northern-hardy plants. Tour the Arboretum on 12.5 miles of garden paths and hiking trails. Walk the close gardens and walk or drive Three-Mile Drive to see more gardens and collections. Limited access to Three-Mile Drive in winter for vehicle traffic (pedestrian traffic remains open).  Winter Wonder bus tours are available Thursdays and Saturdays (check times and fees at Visitor Center. Circulators offering step-on and step-off service to three destinations throughout the Arboretum will start in 2013.

The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is part of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Our mission is to be a growing resource for horticultural and environmental information, plant conservation, research and education; to inspire and delight a growing visitorship with quality plants in well-designed and maintained displays, collections, model landscapes and natural areas.”

Check out these upcoming events to enjoy being outdoors – finally!

Friday, May 10:  National Public Gardens Day and  World’s Largest Tree Hug Attempt!  All day, free admission, Arboretum grounds
Celebrate with fun activities and prize giveaways, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Jim Gilbert book-signing at 10 a.m., and the world’s largest “tree hug” from noon to 1 p.m. in the Shade Tree Exhibit on Three-Mile Drive!

flowering plantAuxiliary Spring Plant Sale- Rescheduled to May 18/19   This popular plant sale has been rescheduled due to weather conditions.  (See? You thought I was exaggerating!)

Sunday, May 12:  Arboretum Outdoors! with Hoigaard’s  1 & 6 p.m. Learn the techniques of Nordic walking.

Friday, May 17:  SummerHouse Opens   10 a.m.-6 p.m., daily; Rolling Acres Rd &Summerhouse2_web State Hwy 5
Check out the repurposed Summerhouse, where you’ll find handcrafted and vintage finds and one-of-a-kinds for home and garden from “Mama’s Happy” occasional store and more!

Saturday, May 25:  That’s for the Birds! Photographing Our Feathered Friends  10 a.m.-4 p.m., $95/$110, Learning Center    Photo class with John Pennoyer.  952-443-1422 or www.arboretum.umn.edu/photographyclasses.aspx

Boy, I think I’ll head out there right now. I’m in serious need of greenery, sunshine and fresh air! Care to join me?

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