Exploring Spring Blooms at the Arboretum

Exploring Spring Blooms at the Arboretum

As winter’s chill begins to yield to spring’s warmer and longer days, the flowers at Hoyt Arboretum are responding enthusiastically. Being situated nearly a thousand feet above the valley means that the seasonal shift at the Arboretum lags behind lower elevations. As the cherry blossoms begin to fade by the waterfront, the flowering cherries at Hoyt Arboretum are just starting to bloom.

What to see:

The flowering cherries and magnolias are two of the showiest spring displays at the Arboretum, and both are just getting into full swing. This past weekend I strolled through the Rosaceae and Magnoliaceae collections and observed the pinks and whites of the cherry blossoms, and saw that the magnolias are starting to show their many colors as blooms emerge. 

The Flowering Trees of Wildwood and Hawthorn Trails

On my self-guided tour of the flowering trees of this section of the Arboretum, I followed the Holly Loop up to the ridge, hung a left onto Overlook, merged onto Wildwood, diverted onto Hawthorn, and explored the connector trails in between.


As usual, I made a quick stop at the Viewpoint to see if Mount St. Helens was visible through the clouds. On a clear day, this is what you can expect to see from this spot.





A short distance along Hawthorn Trail and next to the connector trail to the left, I saw the stunning blooms of a purple-leaved plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Trailblazer’)





I swung left at the next connector trail and read about the Rosaceae (the rose family) on the informational sign. There are several flowering cherry and plum trees along this trail, and I was completely awash in blooms. 



When the trail met Wildwood again, I took a sharp right to explore downhill through the abundant flowering cherries, making a short loop (always keeping to the right). 




I saw some flowering cherries with single flowers and flowers with multiple blooms in the cluster. There are also some cultivars with multiple flower parts (more than just 5 petals per flower)! 

According to Hoyt’s Plant Taxonomist Mandy Tu, many of our Fuji cherry (Prunus incisa) trees were given to us from the U.S. National Arboretum and have slightly different bloom times, so for several weeks in a row there will always be something in bloom!


Onto Magnolia Trail

To keep exploring the spring blooms, I turned left on Wildwood, past the large green water tank, continued through the green gate, crossed SE Upper Cascade Dr, and stepped onto the Magnolia Trail.  

The view from this point is astounding, and I spared several moments to take in the view of the magnolias down below.


Then I started down the gentle switchbacks, through fragrant California bay/Oregon myrtle trees. I meandered through the several connector trails, winding through the magnolias to get a close-up views of the different trees.

On the day of my walk, many of the magnolias are not quite in bloom yet, but were showing their colorful magenta, pink and cream-colored flower tips, peeking out from their fuzzy bud scales. 

One very tall and showy tree however, was in full bloom in the magnolia section. This was a Clarke magnolia (Magnolia dawsoniana ‘Clarke’), with huge bright-pink flowers. There is one other large Dawson magnolia also in full-bloom splendor located across the street from the Winter Garden. 



Returning to the Visitor Center

When it was time to head back, I followed a connector trail to Beech Trail and wound my way back up. There were lots of wildflowers in the woods to admire too! There was trillium, yellow wood violets, creamy toothwort, osoberry, yellow Oregon grape, red-flowering currant, salmonberry, and more!


Do It Yourself!

This walking route only measures about a mile, but you should allow for about an hour (or more!) to really see the flowers. Many flowers of spring are only around for a few weeks, so get out soon if you want to see what is described in this article.


Happy Trails!

About the Author

Greg Hill is a Visitor Information Specialist with Hoyt Arboretum Friends.

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