Flowering Trees at Morton Arboretum

Midwestern winters can be shocking. Poor wife. For her they’re basically the same as the generation-long winters from Game of Thrones. She grew up in California after all. Yet in a blink of an eye, spring’s here. For all the lingering beauty of winter, spring surpasses it with a swift-growing beauty.


For me the best part of spring is the flowering trees. They pop up everywhere. You can’t miss their cheerful presence plus they smell fantastic. Unless you’ve got horrible allergies and a million flower petals falling all over your car and making a mess, they put everyone in a good mood. In Japan and in Washington DC they go crazy over the cherry blossoms. Emily and I wanted our own afternoon of blossoming trees so we hit up Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL.

Morton Arboretum is essentially a tree garden, somewhere between a botanic garden and a forest preserve. Thousands of different kinds of trees grow there. The arboretum’s open all year and it’s huge. With 1,700 acres to explore, you could easily spend the whole day hiking there.

We just had the afternoon, so we headed right away to the Flowering Trees section on the west side of the arboretum. We ditched the car and walked over to the main grove. On the little hill were a half-dozen blooming magnolia trees. Their limbs swayed heavily with bright pink-and-white flowers. Whenever there was a breeze flower petals would fly away. It’s a bit otherworldly. All the other trees are still budding leaves and are a kind of hazy pastel green. These blossoming trees are the show-offs.

Not far away we walked along glades filled with yellow-and-white-daffodils. They were everywhere. They were so vibrant that they almost looked fake. Lots of other people had the same idea as us. There were plenty of couples and families with newborns taking a stroll. Lots of photo sessions. We waited out two wedding parties before we got our turn for a few pictures.

Later, after walking around for a couple of hours we got back in the car and went for a ride around the park before sunset. Saw plenty more flowering trees along the way. What better way to enjoy spring? Flowering trees are a springtime delight.