May at the Arboretum
Early May at the Arboretum magnolias are in bloom in the gardens. Hardy magnolia hybrids of our native cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata) and Asian magnolias including ‘Daybreak’ are blooming (May 1st) in the Conifer Collection and the Arthur S. Holden, Sr. Hedge Garden, Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ west of the hedge garden, ‘Yellow Bird’ on the north side of the Display Garden, ‘Butterflies’ in the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden by Sherwin Pond and at Lantern Court by the salamander pond, ‘Ivory Chalice’ on the southwest part of the Conifer Collection and the east side of the Display Garden, and ‘Golden Gift’ in the Eliot and Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden.
Fragrant winter-hazel (Carylopsis glabrescens ‘Longwood Chimes’) is in the early stages of bloom on May 1st on the southwest side of the Rhododendron Discovery Garden.
Flowering crabapples bloom early in the month in the collection north of the Warren H. Corning Visitor Center, in the research plot north of the Holly Collection, in the Conifer Collection, at Lantern Court and in the Display Garden.
Fragrant lilacs in the Display Garden and at Lantern Court (Syringa vulgaris, S. x hyacinthiflora). The earliest varieties are blooming already (May 1st) and the majority will be in bloom during the second week of the month lasting for a week or two depending on the weather. The “peak” of bloom this year should be right around Mother’s Day. Later in May enjoy the fragrant dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) and other late blooming lilacs (S. pubescens, S. x josiflexa, S. josikaea, S. komarowii, S. x nanceana, S. tomentella, S. wolfii).
Rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom in the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden, the Eliot and Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden, and at Lantern Court throughout the month but the “peak” of bloom will be around the third or fourth week.
At the beginning of May in the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden the Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), and trillium (Trillium grandiflorum, T. erectum, T. sessile) are in full bloom. Lakeside daisies (Tetraneuris herbacea) in the limestone rockery and at Lantern Court’s rockery are at their peak in mid-May but bloom throughout the month. Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), columbine, also in the Butterfly Garden (Aquilegia canadensis), woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata), creeping phlox, also at Lantern Court (Phlox stolonifera) golden star, also in the Display Garden (Chrysogonum virginianum), and wood poppy also in the Display Garden and west of the Corning Visitor Center (Stylophorum diphyllum) . Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) will be blooming throughout the gardens at Holden. Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is blooming in the Display Garden, near Blueberry Pond, and at Lantern Court in early May.
Buckeyes and horsechestnuts are blooming in May. Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) in the Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Butterfly Garden, yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava) at Lantern Court, Display Garden, Rhododendron Discovery Garden. On the south side of the Wildflower Garden is the natural cross between red and yellow buckeyes (Aesculus x hybrida). European horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum ‘Baumannii’) by the Visitor Center parking lot and the red horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea) right next to it and the gate house.
Tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa, P. rockii) in the Display Garden and at Lantern Court. Japanese primroses (Primula japonica) at Lantern Court’s valley garden.