I took these photos over the weekend at Longenecker Horticultural Gardens, UW-Madison Arboretum.
With more than 2,000 plants on display, this 50-acre area north of the Visitor Center is the premier collection of trees, shrubs and vines in Wisconsin. Recognized internationally, plantings were begun when the Arboretum was founded in 1934. Today, the Gardens hold major displays of lilacs (one of the nations largest), flowering crabapples (one of the most up-to-date in the country), viburnums, conifers (including a very large collection of arborvitae cultivars), and dozens of other plant groups.It's a spectacular place this time of year, especially with our unbelievably warm early spring -- one for the record books -- when everything seems to be blooming at least a month ahead of its normal schedule. No matter what the weather, it's worth a trip. If it's raining, take an umbrella -- there's a magical meditative stillness to the place in a light spring rain. And on a pleasant, sunny day, everything is erupting into one wild celebration of spring. And when Some of the lilacs have already bloomed, and the entire lilac collection is about to burst into full bloom. The magnolias also reflect this year's accelerated clock. The white ones are mostly beyond their prime already, with each tree shadowed by a ring of white blossoms on the ground below. The darker shades were just starting to bloom over the weekend.