April at the Arboretum
In April, magnolias can be a sight to behold. The fuchsia-pink flowers of Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ are wonderfully fragrant, and the tree south of Lotus Pond in the Display Garden, and at Lantern Court east of the exit drive adjacent to Kirtland-Chardon Road have flower buds that survived the early April frost. Star magnolia hybrid ‘Betty’, in the Display Garden has tepals reddish-purple on the outside and white within. Larger magnolia hybrids involving our native cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata) also bloom in April and early May. In the Display Garden these include Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ on the northeast side, pink and white ‘Daybreak’ in the Arthur S. Holden, Sr. Hedge Garden, and pale yellow ‘Elizabeth’ west of the Hedge Garden. Light yellow ‘Butterflies’ at Lantern Court by the reflecting pool and in the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden by Sherwin Pond, ‘Yellow Lantern’ on Beech Knoll. In the Conifer Collection ‘Daybreak’ by the Serbian spruce in Bicknell Field, ‘Peachy’ along the trail leading north from the member parking area to the firs, and ‘Ivory Chalice’ also west of Sperry and further south near Kirtland-Chardon Road. ‘Ivory Chalice is also on the east side of the Display Garden. In the Eliot and Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden (RDG) are three Magnolia ‘Golden Gift’ on the south side and two Magnolia ‘Sunburst’. On the southeast side of the RDG is a fabulous group of fragrant winter-hazel (Corylopsis glabrescens ‘Longwood Chimes’).
Glory-of-the-snow (Scilla luciliae, formerly Chionodoxa) is blooming in early April near the Warren H. Corning Visitor Center, in the Display Garden, along the Norweb Tree Allée , and at Lantern Court. Siberian squill (Scilla sibirica), and striped squill (Puschkinia scilloides) are blooming near the Visitor Center, in the Display Garden, and at Lantern Court. In the Display Garden are young flowering cherries, Prunus ‘Pink Cascade’ on the northeast side and just north of the lily pool. At Lantern Court the pink flowered weeping Higan cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’) and the white Prunus ‘Snow Fountains’ will bloom by the reflecting pool. There is a small grove of magenta-pink Sargent cherry, (Prunus sargentii) in the Conifer Collection and a single tree on the east side of the Display Garden.
Serviceberries (Amelanchier arborea, A. laevis, A. x grandiflora) display their white flowers in mid to late April throughout many of the gardens including the Wildflower Garden, by the parking lot, Layer Rhododendron Garden, by Blueberry Pond, and at Lantern Court. At Lantern Court in the Valley Garden the white Asian skunk cabbage (Lysichiton camtschatcensis) shows off its white spathes in April.
Greek windflower (Anemone x blanda) is in bloom along the Norweb Tree Allée, in the Display Garden, Layer Rhododendron Garden, by the Visitor Center, and at Lantern Court throughout April. In the Layer Rhododendron Garden the Korean rhododendron (Rhododendron mucronulatum ‘Cornell Pink’) and near the end of April, pink flowered Rhododendron ‘Olga Mezitt’ will be in bloom. Daffodils (Narcissus) including the exotic double ‘Tahiti’ will be flowering throughout the month.
In the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden, see the bright yellow flowers of the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) will be flowering by mid-April along the stream, and the early buttercup, (Ranunculus fascicularis) has already started to bloom in the limestone rockery. White-flowered bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and the lavender-purple to white flowered sharp-lobed hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) are at Lantern Court and the Wildflower Garden. In late April, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), great white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), and yellow flowered wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) start to bloom.
Common primroses (Primula vulgaris) are blooming along the Primrose Path at Lantern Court. Later in the month see polyantha primroses on Beech Knoll in the Rhododendron Garden and in the northwest part of the Display garden in the bed above the footbridge. Lantern Court’s Valley Garden also features creeping forget-me-not (Omphalodes verna), and by mid-April the blue flowers of heartleaf brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla) will be in bloom by the reflecting pool and adjacent to the rose garden and also in the Display Garden, Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden, and adjacent to the bus pull-off at the Visitor Center. The earliest daisy (composite) to bloom is leopard’s bane (Doronicum ‘Magnificum’) with yellow flowers on the north side of the Display Garden.
In late April to early May see the crabapples (Malus) in bloom north of the Visitor Center in the crabapple collection, Display Garden, and at Lantern Court.