At the Holden Arboretum in April, Asian magnolias and their hybrids, can be a sight to behold. In the Sally Gries Entrance Beds on Sperry Road, the fuchsia-pink flowers of Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ are wonderfully fragrant. Other fragrant Loebner types in the gardens include ‘Encore’, ‘Merrill’ and ‘Spring Snow’, all with white flowers. At Lantern Court the fragrance of the anise magnolia on the rise east of the drive is reminiscent of grape Kool-Aid (M. salicifolia ‘Grape Expectations’). Like a sentinel, the Kew magnolia, (M. x kewensis ‘Wada’s Memory’) stands guard by Lantern Court’s valley garden, in the Conifer Collection and the Display Garden, where the more diminutive Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’ and star magnolia hybrid ‘Betty’ are to be seen. Larger magnolia hybrids involving our native cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata) bloom later in the month. These include Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ and ‘Elizabeth’ in the Display Garden, ‘Butterflies’ at Lantern Court and in the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden, where ‘Jolly Roger’ and ‘Yellow Lantern’ are as well, and in the Conifer Collection ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Ivory Chalice’ are repeated in the Arthur S. Holden, Sr. Hedge Garden and the Display Garden.
At Lantern Court the pink flowered weeping Higan cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’) is not far from Prunus ‘Snow Fountains’ by the salamander pool. There is a grove of the magenta-pink Sargent cherry, Prunus sargentii in the Conifer Collection and the Display Garden. One of the earliest and largest of our flowering cherries is Prunus subhirtella ‘Whitcomb’, on the southeast downslope of the Conifer Collection.
Serviceberries (Amelanchier arborea, A. laevis, A. x grandiflora) display their white flowers in mid to late April throughout the gardens including along the R. Henry Norweb, Jr. Tree Alleé.
Greek windflower (Anemone x blanda) is in bloom along the Tree Alleé, in the Display Garden, Layer Rhododendron Garden, and at Lantern Court. In the Layer Rhododendron Garden and the Eliot and Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden, a number of small-leaved rhododendron including Rhododendron dauricum, R. mucronulatum and a number of showy cultivars including ‘Cornell Pink’ are to be seen. Forsythia ‘Meadowlark’, ‘Northern Sun’, ‘Northern Gold’, and ‘Sunrise’ brighten up the Display Garden and Lantern Court, along with daffodils (Narcissus) that bloom throughout the month.
In the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden, see the bright yellow flowers of the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) along the stream, and the early buttercup, (Ranunculus fascicularis) on the limestone rockery. Check out the small yellow flowers of leatherwood (Dirca palustris), a shrub related to Daphne. Other wildflowers of interest include the white-flowered bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and the lavender-purple to white flowered sharp-lobed hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) that are at Lantern Court and the Wildflower Garden. Later in the month Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and great white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) start to bloom.
This year the crabapples (Malus) should be in bloom by late April so visit the crabapple collection, the Display Garden, and Lantern Court where primroses (Primula x polyantha & other Primula vulgaris hybrids), moss-pink (Phlox subulata), leopard’s bane (Doronicum ‘Magnificum’) are also in bloom.
At the Cleveland Botanical Garden in April, see the ephemeral white flowers of weeping cherries in the Gateway Entrance Garden, Japanese Garden, and Hershey Children’s Garden (Prunus ‘Snow Fountains’). Magnolia kobus is in bloom in the Whitney Restorative Garden. A profusion of flowering bulbs including daffodils (Narcissus), Siberian squill (Scilla siberica), Greek windflower (Anemone blanda), glory-of-the-snow (Scilla forbesii & luciliae a.k.a. Chionodoxa), and fragrant hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) can be enjoyed throughout the gardens. Forsythia is in bloom in the Restorative Garden, the C.K. Patrick Perennial Border, Children’s Garden, and Japanese Garden. Primroses (Primula) are in bloom in the Restorative Garden, Perennial Border, and the Western Reserve Herb Society Herb Garden. Flowering quince (Chaenomeles) is in bloom in the Restorative Garden, Perennial Border, and Hershey Childrens Garden. Jerusalem sage or lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) is blooming in the Herb Garden, and Bethlehem sage (Pulmonaria saccharata) is blooming in the Restorative Garden.
By mid-April the ephemeral white flowers of serviceberries (Amelanchier arborea, A. x grandiflora) are on display in the Children’s Garden, the Woodland Garden, the Sunken Garden, the Inspiration Gardens, and the Herb Garden. Magnolia ‘Betty’ and M. ‘Ricki’ are flowering in the Restorative Garden. Grape-hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum, M. latifolium) are in bloom in the Entrance Garden, Hershey Children’s Garden and Herb Garden. Sour cherry (Prunus ‘North Star’) is flowering in the Children’s garden along with strawberries (Fragaria). On the West Terrace in a pot, a cultivar of chokecherry (Prunus virginiana ‘Canada Red’) is blooming while the wild chokecherry may be found in the Woodland Garden.
By late April tulips (Tulipa) throughout the gardens, bleeding-hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) in Restorative Garden and Hersey Children’s Garden, Guinea hen flower (Fritillaria meleagris) in Children’s Garden, and Restorative Garden are in bloom. Moss phlox (Phlox subulata) is in bloom in the Entrance Garden, Hersehy Children’s Garden, and Japanese Garden. Look for the Juno iris (Iris bucharica) in the Perennial Border. Yellow corydalis (Corydalis lutea) is blooming in the Restorative Garden and the Perennial Border. Virginia bluebells are blooming in the Hershey Children’s Garden, Sunken Garden, Woodland Garden and Inspiration Gardens. Great white trillium is in bloom in the Woodland Garden, Rain Garden, and Hershey Children’s Garden. Yellow wakerobin (Trillium luteum) is in bloom in the Restorative Garden and the Woodland Garden. Check out the diminutive flowers of fairy wings (Epimedium) a.k.a. Bishop’s hat in the Restorative Garden, Perennial Border, Japanese Garden, Sunken Garden, Woodland Garden, Inspiration Gardens, and Hershey Children’s Garden. Flowering crabapples (Malus ‘Sugar Tyme’, M. ‘Lancelot’) will be coming into bloom in the Restorative Garden and Hershey Children’s Garden. The flower buds of redbud (Cercis canadensis) will be adorning the stems of the trees in the Entrance Gardens, Sunken Gardens, Woodland Garden, Waterfall Garden and Hershey Children’s Garden.
Historically, bloom is on average, 3-4 days earlier at the Cleveland Botanical Garden than at Holden Arboretum.