In winter, the colors, shapes, and textures of our now-dormant plants provide interest throughout the collections. Especially stunning are the dry grasses, winterberry fruits, and evergreen shrubs in the Zucker Shrub Collection, as well as conifers such as the spruces, firs, and pines in the Mullestein Winter Garden, on Conifer Slope and at Kienzle Overlook.
Colorful berries and interesting bark really stand out within Cornell Botanic Gardens’ sleeping, snow-covered gardens. Though it’s cold outside, the Mullestein Winter Garden is a winter wonderland.
Witch hazel blossoms unfurl on Comstock Knoll during the first warm days of early spring. As the snow melts, tiny bulbs and alpine plants emerge in the Heasley Rock Garden, along with early-blooming bulbs throughout the collections. Visitors strolling through the boggy areas of the Mundy Wildflower Garden will be rewarded with sightings of emerging skunk cabbage.
Visit the Mundy Wildflower Garden, where trilliums, hepaticas, trout lilies, and bloodroots are at their peak bloom, taking full advantage of the sun hitting the forest floor through the leafless trees. Look for the yellow flowers of the Cornelian cherry tree in the Groundcover Collection and the “Cornell Pink” rhododendrons on Comstock Knoll.
Spring brings flowering trees and shrubs to the F. R. Newman Arboretum; look for redbuds, serviceberries, cherries, crabapples, magnolias, and viburnums; as well as the stunning Japanese primroses along the arboretum’s Treman Woodland Walk. Behind the Nevin Welcome Center, the rhododendrons begin their annual display. Take a spring hike in Fall Creek Gorge and Cascadilla Gorge after they open for the season.
The gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center in June are a feast for the eyes. Peonies, false indigo, Texas blue-star, rhododendrons, masterworts, cranesbills, Siberian irises, and our famous big-leaf magnolia are just a few highlights. In the F. R. Newman Arboretum ponds, the irises and water lilies are in full bloom, as are the nearby fringe trees, viburnums, and spireas. Many pocket gardens throughout the arboretum are bursting with early summer blooms.
See the Robison York State Herb Garden and the Young Flower Garden at the peak of their glorious bloom time. Enjoy the fragrant azaleas in the Rhododendron Collection, and the blossoming daylilies in the Zucker Shrub Collection. Enjoy the blooming yarrow, purple coneflowers in the Bioswale Garden.
Enjoy the tapestry of flowers and foliage displayed in the Class of ’53 Container Gardens, the Groundcover Collection, the Young Flower Garden and the Bioswale Garden. This is also the best month to see the tomatoes, eggplants, beans, and cabbages in the Pounder Vegetable Garden.
Hardy cyclamens, Japanese anemones, asters, kirengeshoma, tender Mediterranean and Western sages, as well as ornamental grasses are late bloomers around the Nevin Center and arboretum. Also, check out the ripening pumpkins, squashes, and beans in the Pounder Heritage Vegetable Garden, or enjoy a stroll along Fall Creek and other on-campus natural areas.
Enjoy fall foliage on a mile loop trail around Beebe Lake. The arboretum’s Newman Overlook provides a panoramic view of the brilliant colors in the arboretum and woods along Fall Creek. The red and yellow fruits of viburnums, winterberries, and hawthorns appear in the Zucker Shrub Collection, while hardy kiwis mature on the arbor at the Lewis Education Center near the Nevin Welcome Center.
Garden design is most clearly seen before the snow conceals each garden’s hardscape, or architectural features. Ornamental grasses provide color, structure, and interest throughout the collections including the Bioswale Garden and Zucker Shrub Collection. Japanese anemones inexplicably continue to bloom along the Groundcover Collection’s North Walk.
Before the snow gets too deep, enjoy the variety of tree bark colors and textures throughout our gardens and natural areas. Plants to look for include maples, birches, cherries, beeches, red and yellow dogwoods, and stewartia trees. The shapes and forms of the evergreens on Conifer Slope and Kienzle Overlook are also stunning.