Posted by: kerryl29 | June 5, 2017

Morton Arboretum Spring

I’ve mentioned the Morton Arboretum a number of times in the past on this blog; it’s an oasis of nature amid the suburban sprawl that makes up most of DuPage County, west of Chicago.  It’s the place I’ve photographed the most over the years and though I know the property quite well there’s almost always a surprise of one sort or another when I visit.

Redbud Meadow, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

I only had one opportunity to photograph at the Arboretum this spring–and even that single visit was truncated as the wind ultimately picked up and it began to rain.  But I had 2-3 hours on the ground before the weather turned inclement and, with the benefit of a quick drive-thru scouting session a couple of days earlier, knew right where to go.

Redbud Isolate, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

There are some magnificent stands of redbud in the Arboretum and if you catch them at the right time…yowza.  I’m often away during the time that the redbud peaks in northeast Illinois but this year I was in town and that’s what captured my attention when I scouted the location.  I presume you can see why.

Redbud Cluster, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

In addition to the copious redbud, there are several mature dogwood trees in the Arb.  Dogwood blossoms are, as I’m sure many of you know, quite delicate and their peak is frequently after the redbud has virtually leafed out, but this year, for whatever reason, both sets of trees were at peak at the same time, much to my delight.

Dogwood Delight Black & White, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

Dogwood Delight, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

Dogwood Delight, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

On the south side of Lake Marmo, on the Arboretum’s West Side, there’s one spot where redbud and dogwood adjoin.  The combination is one of my very favorites and I’ve only had one opportunity to capture flowering redbud and dogwood together–at Oconoluftee, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.  Only once until late April of this year, that is, at the Arb.

Dogwood & Redbud, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

While a steady breeze kept the reflections from being glass-like–a common experience in these parts during the spring–I still felt that a few across-the-water shots of Lake Marmo redbuds were warranted.

Redbud Reflections, Lake Marmo, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

Redbud Reflections, Lake Marmo, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois

It was an impressive bloom in the upper Midwest this spring, at least partly because of how wet it was.  So wet, in fact, that after several days of hard rain right at the end of April I squeezed in some time one day to run out to Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks in north-central Illinois.  My experience with the ephemeral waterfalls at the former will be the principal subject of my next post.

Redbud Isolate, Lake Marmo, Morton Arboretum, DuPage County, Illinois



  1. [ Smiles ] Trees have a way of looking great in spring!

  2. Utterly lovely and captured so well (as usual)! 🙂

  3. Lovely shots..

  4. Kerry, you did justice to these lovely trees, one of my favorites. The water reflections are beautiful; I don’t think I’ve ever seen redbuds along water before – they tend to be a woodland tree. The trees themselves are magnificent – wow!

    • Thanks, Lynn. The redbud bloom was really impressive at the arboretum this year.

      I’m aware of a few other places where redbud lies near water–in several spots in the Smokies (along the Little River Road in particular); in Illinois Canyon at Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen Lake at Matthiessen State Park in north-central Illinois; near Delaware Lake at Ft. Harrison State Park in central Indiana, and at a few spots along the Merced River in Yosemite Valley to name several. But, to your point, all of these are in or on the edge of wooded areas themselves (i.e. the water part of the scenario seems to be incidental).

  5. Hi kerry , i was just browsing articles in nature and i had to stop by, to look at these beautiful colorful pictures of tress…. they are so colorful

    • Thanks very much, both for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

  6. The redbuds are lovely. In combination with the dogwoods they are really special. I’m glad you had the opportunity to spend some time at the Arboretum.

  7. I’ve never seen anything like this. Our redbuds are nice, but they’re always small, and unpredictable, and short in their bloom time. And of course we don’t have dogwoods; you have to go to east Texas for that, and even there I’ve never seen particularly impressive stands. What I have seen are dogwoods and azaleas in Mississippi: the colors were the same, at least.

    I especially like the next-to-last, because of the glimpse of solid white behind the redbuds. Combined with the reflections, it seems to be the very essence of spring: light, ephemeral, and very, very lovely.

  8. Thanks very much!

    The redbud in this part of the world can be really impressive when it peaks in a good bloom year. When you get a cluster of mature redbuds (as exist at the arboretum), it can be exceptionally impressive.

    This is really far north for dogwoods, and this is the nicest dogwood bloom I can ever remember at the arboretum. Historically, the best dogwood I’ve ever seen has been in the Smokies. I caught an extremely good bloom there in 2008 and it was remarkable. But when I was at Yosemite last month I was amazed at how nice the dogwood was there. (Examples coming in future posts.)

  9. Beautiful Spring images. Just love the redbud reflections.

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