Magnolias are in bloom in the gardens at the Arboretum in early May. Experience the hardy magnolia hybrids of our native cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata) and Asian magnolias including ‘Daybreak’ in the Conifer Collection and the Arthur S. Holden Sr. Hedge Garden, Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ west of the hedge garden, ‘Yellow Bird’ in the Display Garden and ‘Butterflies’ in the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden and at Lantern Court.
Flowering crabapples bloom early in the month in the collection north of the Warren H. Corning Visitor Center, in a plot established in the 1980s to the north of the Holly Collection, in the Conifer Collection, at Lantern Court and in the Display Garden.
See and enjoy the fragrance of lilacs in the Display Garden and at Lantern Court (Syringa vulgaris, S. x hyacinthiflora). The earliest varieties are blooming on May 1 and the majority will be in bloom during the second week of the month lasting for a week or two depending on the weather. The “peak” of bloom this year should be right around Mother’s Day. Later in May enjoy the fragrant dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) and other late blooming lilacs (S. pubescens, S. x josiflexa, S. josikaea, S. komarowii, S. x nanceana, S. tomentella, S. wolfii).
Rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom in the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden, the Eliot and Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden, and at Lantern Court.
At the beginning of May in the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden see the Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), trillium (Trillium grandiflorum, T. erectum, T. sessile). The lakeside daisies (Tetraneuris herbacea) in the limestone rockery and at Lantern Court’s rockery are at their peak in mid-may but bloom throughout. See wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), columbine, also in the Butterfly Garden (Aquilegia canadensis), woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata), creeping phlox, also at Lantern Court (Phlox stolonifera) and golden star, also in the Display Garden (Chrysogonum virginianum). Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) will be blooming throughout the gardens at Holden. Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is blooming in the Display Garden, near Blueberry Pond, and at Lantern Court in early May.
Check out the buckeyes and horsechestnuts including the red buckeye in the Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Butterfly Garden (Aesculus pavia), the yellow buckeye, both at Lantern Court and the Display Garden (Aesculus flava), the natural cross between the two on the south side of the Wildflower Garden (Aesculus x hybrida), the European horsechestnut by the Corning Visitor Center parking lot (Aesculus hippocastanum ‘Baumannii’) and the red horsechestnut right next to it and the gate house (Aesculus x carnea). See the tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa, P. rockii) in the Display Garden and at Lantern Court. Don’t miss the Japanese primroses (Primula japonica) at Lantern Court’s valley garden.