After a glorious weekend, things turned ugly today. No, the Garden is still very beautiful, but the horticulture staff has gotten mean. This morning I was sitting in the Flowering Arboretum, minding my own business when the droning noise began. Mowers whirring in the distance – a clever form of psychological warfare intended to scare me and my ground hugging friends. It worked.
Despite this bit of nastiness, the Arboretum is quite beautiful right now. Flowering magnolias are the dominant blooming tree. Tulip magnolias bloom in shades of pink and white. The flowers of the star magnolia explode like small white fireworks at the ends of branches. Against the background of a bright blue sky, it is stunning. There are several “Little Girl” hybrids of the Lily Magnolia. Another hybrid, ‘Elizabeth’ is a more unusual. She is starting to show creamy yellow flowers.
Other trees and shrubs compete for attention. There are a couple of spike winterhazels, broad shrubs that drip with yellow bell-shaped flowers. A redspire pear stands tall, trying to outshine the Bradford pears in the nearby NATO vista. But two weeping Higan cherries are commanding the most attention in the arboretum. The larger one stands near the road. It’s broad sweeping branches are full of delicate flowers cascading to the ground. Standing inside the canopy of this tree is like standing in a translucent tent of flower petals. The other tree is more upright as it grows amongst the magnolias and pears in the middle of the garden.
As you walk through the arboretum, you attention is drawn skyward. Perhaps that is why many of my misaligned friends stay here. Down here on the ground, we hope you won’t pay attention to us. Unfortunately the Garden staff has noticed the henbit growing happily. It’s hard to miss the soft purple flowers that float above the grass like a low haze. The henbit and the wild onions have drawn out the mowers in a vicious attack on the “weeds.” Thank goodness I can stay low with the white and light blue wild violets, avoiding the mower blades. (Well for the most part – I’ve had a haircut or two before.) The gardeners may not like our efforts, but the observant visitor may enjoy the drifts of flowers that form a pale echo of the flowering trees above.
Keep your stamens crossed for us and hopefully we’ll see you the next time you come to the arboretum.