Bog Boardwalk

Gifts at Work. Thanks to $300,000 from Angus and Margaret Wurtele and gifts from 22 other donors for bog renovation. The aging walkway through the bog was replaced with a sturdy, low-maintenance boardwalk.

The Bog Area

Green Heron Pond is one of the southern most glacial ‘potholes' - an area where a large chunk of glacial ice remained (probably under the ground surface for many years) before it finally melted. A portion of the pond contains a small bog.  The unusual aspect of this particular bog (a bog is a wetland type that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material) is that it still harbors living (peat) moss.  Sphagnum needs a low pH to grow and the pH of soils on the Arboretum grounds is 7.5-8.0 (sphagnum needs 5.0 or under).  How it has survived for thousands of years is one of life's perplexing questions!

First created over 40 years ago, the trail around Green Heron Pond rapidly became a well-loved favorite for generations of Arboretum visitors.  The pond, its adjacent marsh and bog represent three naturally occurring ecosystems in Minnesota that are part of the state's geologic and landscape heritage. Just a half-mile long, the bog trail passes through the most diverse ecotypes of any Arboretum hike.  Oak woods, maple woods and the mosaic of intermingled wetlands along the boardwalk offer rich rewards for birders, school groups and families.  In fact, it's an “off the beaten track” nature experience that's easily accessible to the gardens and parking.

The boardwalk was closed for renovation in 2009. Now it’s back in service and better than ever with 100 new pilings - some to a depth of 60 feet. New interpretive signs will tell the stories of its green heron namesake and other wild residents, the lady's slipper orchids at the boardwalk entry and the tamarack bog, shrub swamp and cattail marsh that line the way. In the middle of this remnant glacial bog, it was fascinating to discover trees actually growing on a 10-12-ft thick mat of old roots, with open water beneath them.  Visitors can enjoy the bog through the seasons from spring's yellow marsh marigolds to the golden tamaracks in fall. 

Nature Notes Blog: An interactive blog highlighting nature on the Arboretum grounds.


For information on where to find plants, gardens, collections and memorials on the Arboretum grounds, plus floor plans of the main Arboretum buildings, click here.

Gardens & Collections

Display and Specialty Gardens
Annual Garden
Dahlia Trial Garden
Daylily and Chrysanthemum Walk
Dwarf Conifer Collection and 
Waterfall Garden

Entrance Garden 
Fern Walk
Hedge Collection
Home Demonstration Gardens
Hosta Glade
Iris Garden
Japanese Garden
Lilac Collection and 
Blackman Garden
Lily and Dahlia Collection
Maze Garden
Ornamental Grass Collection
Peony Walk
Perennial Garden
Rain Gardens
Rose Gardens
Sensory Garden
Shade Tree Exhibit
Terrace Garden
Woodland-Azalea Garden

Visitor Center
Dahlberg Welcoming Terrace
Keating Terrace
Newton Dining Terrace
Sweatt Entry Terrace
Wall Teaching Garden
Wright Terrace Gardens
Wildflower Garden
Garden for Wildlife

Native Areas
The Prairie
Spring Peeper Meadow
The Bog Area

Azalea Collection
Bailey Shrub Walk
Hydrangea Collection
Lilac Collection
Miscellaneous Shrub Collection
Pea Shrub Collection
Potentilla Collection
Rhododendron Garden
Spirea Collection
Viburnum Collection
Weigela Collection

Arborvitae Collection
Ash Collection
Birch Collection
Buckeye Collection
Corktree Collection
Crabapple Collection
Elm Collection
Hawthorn Collection
Larch Collection
Linden Collection
Locust Collection
Magnolia Collection
Maple Collection
Nut Collection
Oak Collection
Pine Collection
Poplar Collection
Prunus Collection
Small Tree Collection
Serviceberry Collection
Spruce Collection
Weeping Tree Collection
Willow Collection