The record temperatures we are experiencing are very unusual and are causing many plants to bloom several weeks before they normally would. If the temperatures stay warm this will not be a problem, but if temperatures drop down into the normal range, flowers or flower buds could be injured. There is really nothing that can be done so let's just enjoy the warm weather and hope that temperatures stay mild or drop down into the normal range within the next week.
It is still too early to plant anything outside, but it is a great time to prune most trees and shrubs and to cut back dead tops on perennial flowers and ornamental grasses. Never walk on top of plant crowns and avoid walking in your gardens when the soil is thawed and wet. Walking on wet soil damages the soil structure and reduces infiltration of air and water that are essential to healthy plant growth.
A sure sign of spring is the Arboretum's annual Sugarbush Pancake Brunch & Maple Syrup tours. This year's events take place Sat. & Sun., March 24 & 25. Enjoy a delicious brunch from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., featuring pancakes, Arboretum maple syrup, pecans, sausage links, juice, coffee, milk. Tickets: $9 for Arboretum members ages 8 & older/$11.50 for non-members ages 8 and older, $6 for ages 4-7 and free for ages 3 and under. Purchase tickets at the Oswald Visitor Center during the event.
Take time before or after brunch for a self-guided tour of the sugarbush tapping area, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Explore the SugarHouse, see how trees are tapped and witness the process from beginning to end. New demonstrations include cooking maple syrup in a large evaporator, as well as on a small wood fire outside, and seeing the many systems of collecting sap: buckets, bags, gravity tubing and the new vacuum system. Visitors can make their own spile and participate in tree-tapping demonstrations.
Maple Syrup Note: The Arboretum usually collects over 2000 gallons of sap in a season. So far this year, with the unseasonably warm temperatures, we have collected 500 gallons. The good news is the Arboretum has a large cooler that allows us to store 300 gallons of sap for this weekend's Sugarbush Pancake Brunch. Read the Maple Syrup blog to catch up on the Arboretum's sap collection efforts.
—Hay Fever at the Guthrie. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum members save 50% on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday performances of Hay Fever through April 11! Read about Hay Fever. Call the Guthrie Box Office at 612-377-2224, and mention "H15" offer to receive this offer. Not valid in Area 1A or on previously purchased tickets. Tickets are subject to availability. Handling fees may apply.
—The Small Enough Garden. Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Snyder Building. $35 member/$45 non-member. Expert Arboretum gardener Mary Bigelow will show how to create a small, meditative garden space inside of a larger area, or how to take a small area and choose the plants and elements of design. Register for class.
—All About Dogs Day at the Arboretum is Saturday, April 7, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. $25 per dog with two Arb members/$30 per dog with two non-members. Take a walk together on scenic Three-Mile Drive, and enjoy a pet expo at the Margot Picnic Shelters, including new events: Dog Easter Egg Hunt and Dog-O-Rama Fashion Show. Register online for Dogs Day by March 30 for a doggie goodie bag, or call 952-443-1422.
—Easter Bunny Brunch. Sunday, April 8, MacMillan Auditorium. Two seatings: 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The menu includes fresh fruit, salads, egg delights, meats, desserts, coffee, juice and more. Don't miss our favorite guest - the Easter Bunny! $21.49 members ages 8 & up; $23.49 non-members; $9 for ages 4-7; and free for 3 & under. Call 612-626-3951 or Reserve for the brunch online.
—Children's Garden. Dig in and grow your own garden this summer at the Arboretum. Join our weekly, summer-long growing adventure, grades K-8. Get hands-on with planting seeds and transplants, harvesting and cooking—and exploring! Check out the Children' Garden and other summer kids programs. Hurry! Classes are filling up quickly.
—Travel. There's still time to sign up for travel trips! Choose from: Floriade 2012, Brussels and the Begonia Carpet, Aug. 10-17, a great trip to see the "once in 10 years" garden extravaganza in Holland, the Floriade; a special trip to Scotland: Gardens, Castles (and Golf if you so desire!), Sept. 22-Oct 1, see famous gardens and castles (ruins and lived-in) and travel by boat on Loch Ness—contact Jim Glad at 612-724-1915 or firstname.lastname@example.org; and India: Palaces and Gardens of Northern India, Nov. 4-15, take this exotic trip to visit Mogul palaces, including the Taj Mahal, and view gardens and British-influenced architecture.