The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
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Take a botanical tour of the world in our Conservatory.

what's in bloom

spring

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum burst to life come spring time. The Peonies start to peak. The woody plants begin to flower. The daffodil line emerges at the Arb.

There is no better time to become a Friend of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum to help sustain our organization while receiving numerous discounts and benefits for the year to come.

peonies (May/Jun)
Location:
Peony Garden (Arb)

With its huge blooms and wide variety of shapes and colors, peonies are popular with everyone. The world renowned Peony Garden at the Arboretum shows 27 beds of peonies arranged by season and color. It is a sight to behold in June when the blooms are at their peak.
 
daffodils (April/May)
Location:
Main Valley (Arb)

In 2003, artist Susan Skarsgard and 150 volunteers planted 10,000 bulbs to create a half-mile line of bright yellow blooms. Her project is called Imagine/Align and it can be viewed in April when the blooms are at their peak. Click here for past photos or click here for photos taken on 4/9/2007.
 
vernal witchhazel (March/April)
Location:
Behind Herb Knot Garden (MBG)

Vernal Witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis) flowers are pungently fragrant with unique strap-like petals that dangle down from the calyx lobe like spiders' legs. Those petals can vary in color from yellow to orange to dark red. The seed capsules that eventually follow are mildly interesting to look at but alarming if you are near when they forcefully expel the seeds within on a sunny day in September-October. It is native to the US. Click here for photos
 
azalea (May/Jun)
Locations:
Heathdale
Laurel Ridge Trail

Azaleas are part of the Rhododendron family. The difference between the two is Rhododendrons grow their flowers in clusters, while most azaleas have terminal blooms (one flower per flower stem). However, they have so many stems that during the flowering season they are a solid mass of color. Click here for photos
 
skunk cabbage (Feb - Apr)
Locations:
Trails of the Gardens
Trails of the Arb

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) belongs to the Arum family and blooms in March in the boggy areas along the trails at both sites of the botanical gardens and arboretum. Its flower has the unique ability to generate heat then melting the snow around it which attracts pollinators along with the "unpleasant" odor! Click here for photos
 
trillium (Apr 26 - May 8)
Locations:
Throughout the Gardens
Throughout the Arb

While trillium flowers are very attractive, they should never be picked, since the three leaves below the flower are the plant's only food source and a picked trillium may die. Click here for photos
 
lilacs (Apr 26 - May 8)
Location:
Centennial Shrub Collection (Arb)

Lilacs have been a spring favorite in the Arb for years. Its small, bunched blooms can be white, pink, and most commonly purple and give off a strong fragrance. Click here for photos

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