Featured Bloom: Tulips
This year’s Tulip Display feels like a jubilant celebration of spring. More than 39,000 blooms highlight the wide range of colors, textures and sizes of tulips (Tulipa). Landscape gardener Duane Otto decided to play with colors for the display, so visitors will discover beds of tulips in complementary, warm, cool and primary colors, as well as a few beds featuring monochromatic colors. He carefully considered the placement of each color theme, so that the beds work together to tell a cohesive color story throughout the display.
Don’t miss the “White Garden” on the terrace in front of the Snyder Building. White tulips will bloom (as of May 3, we’re still waiting for them to open) at the base of the Professor Sprenger Crabapple (Malus ‘Professor Sprenger’), which features white blooms. The main display in the Annual Garden is a visual delight with vibrant colors in a variety of formations.
In addition to selecting tulips for color, Otto incorporated single, double (tulips with extra petals -- sometimes they look more like peonies than tulips), fringed (petals with ruffled edges) and parrot (petals are fringed like feathers with unusual color streaking) to add depth and interest to the displays.
You’ll find tulip displays surrounding the gatehouse and near the entrances to the Oswald Visitor Center and Snyder Building, as well as in the Annual Garden.
What Else Is Blooming
Saskatoon Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia 'Regent')
‘Regent’ is a compact ornamental serviceberry that blooms in early May and is adorned with small white flowers. This shrub is a great addition to the landscape or home garden as it provides an excellent early food source for pollinators.
Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
Growing to heights of up to 20 feet, this small tree/large shrub is native to eastern North America and Canada. The small white flowers will appear before the leaves emerge, which once pollinated, will form into small green berries.
Our Serviceberry Collection is home to multiple species, hybrids, and cultivars. In early May, this collection, just north of the Shrub Walk and off of Three Mile Walk, turns into a sea of white.
Hybrid Magnolia (Magnolia 'Butterflies')
A cross between M. acuminata and M. denudata, ‘Butterflies’ produces large yellow blooms in early May that are known for their ability to hold onto their color. This small tree is best planted in an area with full sun to part shade.
Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum)
You’ll certainly know when you walk past the clove currant, as its fragrance permeates the air in a several-foot radius from the plant. The small shrub produces vibrant, small yellow flowers that turn into edible fruits.
Our crabapple collection is home to 350+ individual specimens that begin blooming in early May. They bloom in shades of white, pink, and red. Due to the delicate nature of the flowers, a sudden heatwave can wither the flowers quickly. Make sure to stop by the collection to see the show before it’s gone!
Hybrid Plum (Prunus ‘Toka’)
We all know plum trees for their delicious fruit, however, they also provide a beautiful spring floral show, producing small white flowers that provide a sweet fragrance. ‘Toka’ is a small tree that only reaches heights of up to 20 feet.
Moss Phlox (Phlox subulata)
Noted for its creeping habit, Moss Phlox can quickly turn into lush carpets. The flowers most often range in color from pink to purple to white.
Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
While not the most eye-popping of all spring blooms, redbuds are a bright pink sign that warmth and color are on the way.
Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)
These dainty, pendulous flowers are often confused for Snowdrops. This plant works well planted in mass with other spring bulbs, especially those that bloom in late spring.
Common Bleeding-heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Gold Heart')
This gold-leaved form of Bleeding-hearts is an absolute showstopper. This plant will thrive in shadier parts of the garden and most often goes dormant during the middle of the growing season.
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
A native plant to North America, this herbaceous perennial blooms in spring and creates a blanket for yellow flowers in moist woodland settings. If planted in a home garden, make sure to plant in a space where it can receive plentiful sun in spring, but be provided shade in the summer.
Large-flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)
Blooming in spring, this Minnesota native can easily be spotted in its woodland habitat due to the pendulous shape and yellow flowers. This plant will work best in a garden that offers plenty of shade.
Armenian Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike')
The ‘Blue Spike’ Armenian grape hyacinth is known for its blue and large double flowers. ‘Blue Spike’ is a selection from the species that is known for having the largest inflorescence.
Rhododendron (Rhododendron 'P. J. M.')
A winner when it comes to cold hardiness, ‘P. J. M.’ will create a compact and rounded shape as the shrub matures. When in bloom, flowers are bright pink.
Daffodils can be found in various shades of white to yellow to orange to pink to bicolors, and the flowers generally feature a trumpet or cup, called the corona, surrounded by six petals. We’ve planted more than 150 cultivars of daffodils, with delightful names like ‘Fairy Chimes,’ ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Jetfire.’
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
These beautiful spring ephemerals often create seas of blue blooms. When the flowers first emerge they start off pink and quickly fade to a blue hue. They also serve as an early food source for pollinators.
Updated May 4, 2021