We've gone to the auxiliary plant sale at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on Mother's Day weekend for the last few years now. This year was no exception...only this time the weather was gorgeous (it's always been cold or rainy in the past), so we spent the rest of the day exploring the Arboretum's gardens.
We picked up some nice plants at the plant sale. I came home with a new peony and a gorgeous clematis, and Noah picked out a few little hostas for our front garden. We now have 10 different types of hosta in that garden!
Noah's mom brought our two nephews, who kept Abe happily entertained even while we were looking at plants. The boys had a ton of fun just running around being boys...no girls to slow them down!
After stopping by the car to drop off our newly purchased plants, we took a stroll through the Arboretum's tulip gardens and experienced some major tulip envy.
Tulips are my favorite flower so you'd think my yard would be full of them. I've planted tons of tulip bulbs, but I think the squirrels must have dug them up because I only had three tulips bloom this year!
They're also never this pretty. It's easy for me to get lost at the Arboretum since I want to take pictures of everything, so when I finally tore myself away from the tulips, I found that everyone else had moved on. I didn't know where they went so I started wandering around, and came across the azaleas which were in bloom.
Maybe I need an orange azalea in my front yard...
After admiring the azaleas for awhile, I called Noah and made plans to meet up at the Japanese maple near the entrance to the sensory garden.
Noah's mom took a picture of us in front of this maple tree a few weeks before we got married almost five years ago. It's one of my favorite pictures of the two of us. Last year we got a shot with Abe in front of the tree, so we decided to make it a tradition and posed for a quick family photo.
Then we found another gorgeous tulip garden. What I wouldn't do for a garden like that! And this one is in front of the restrooms! I'm not even sure those toilets have plumbing... Tulip. Envy.
Since the boys were getting tired, we decided to take a short walk through the Woodland Wildflower Garden. It's a paved trail that's nicely shaded and at certain times of the year you can spot Minnesota's state flower: the pink and white Showy Lady's Slipper.
They weren't blooming this time around (I think they bloom around the end of June/beginning of July), but there were a bunch of these yellow lady's slippers.
This trail is great for kids because it has all these fun little trails and bridges that cross a tiny stream. It feels like a real hike...without the trouble of really hiking.
Which brings me to other kid-friendly activities at the arboretum. Abe was pretty happy just running along trails (little did he know what he was missing), but on weekends, the Arboretum offers a bunch of different programs for kids at the Learning Center. There's also the "Under the Oak" nature play area just outside the Learning Center, built beneath the oldest tree at the Arboretum! And if you walk (or drive) along Three Mile Drive, make sure to stop at the Maze Garden. Not quite as large or confusing as a corn maze, but just as much fun!
The Arboretum is a nice place to visit any time of year, but I especially love going when the apple trees (usually mid-May), tulips (late April/early May), roses (June-September), and peonies (late May/early June) are in bloom. (Click here to find out what's currently in bloom.) I remember going to the Arboretum in the winter as a kid for their pancake breakfast, but did you know you can also go shoe-shoeing and cross-country skiing when there's snow?!
For more information about the plants and upcoming events at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, go to www.arboretum.umn.edu.