April at the Botanical Garden
April is an undeniably exciting month. So much is happening in April in the garden that we won’t pretend that this article even begins to cover all the sights and scents to behold. Here is a small slice of the highlights worth experiencing at Cleveland Botanical Garden this month.
What would April be without daffodils (Narcissus species & cultivars)? With over 50 varieties of daffodils in just 10 acres, CBG is bursting with bulbs. For the best displays, head to the C.K. Patrick Perennial Border Garden and Evans Restorative Garden. Some interesting cultivars to look for are Narcissus ‘Barrett Browning’, a small-cupped daff with bright white petals and a peachy orange cup, N. ‘Amadeus Mozart’ with white petals, yellow-orange frilled cup, and a sweet fragrance and N. ‘Jenny’ with reflexed white petals that are reminiscent of a shooting star. (Disclaimer: as you may be able to tell, this author prefers white petalled daffodils).
Early in the month the canopies of Magnolias (Magnolia cultivars) are peppered with the promise of elegant blooms to come. In the Restorative Garden find a small grove of pink-flowered Magnolia ‘Ricki’ coming into bloom early in the month. On the Restorative Terrace find the pink blooms of Magnolia ‘Betty’. One of my favorite facts about Magnolia is that they are pollinated mostly by beetles!
While on the Restorative Terrace enjoy the intoxicating blooms of snowball Viburnums (Viburnum x carlcephalum ‘Cayuga’). Even when just a few flowers are open the fragrance fills the air. There is also a floriferous group in the Campsey-Stauffer Gateway Garden as well, along East Boulevard.
Serviceberries (Amelanchier x grandiflora) add to the whimsy of April near mid-month when their pink to white blooms that shower the Hershey Children’s Garden in clouds of white. A large specimen in the Medicinal Section of the Western Reserve Herb Society’s (WRHS) garden can be viewed from within the garden or from the main building entrance.
April kicks off wildflower season here in northeast Ohio. Head down to the Woodland Garden to see Dutchman’s breeches early in the month (Dicentra cucullaria), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) early to mid-month, and great-white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) late month. Bloodroot, great-white trillium, and twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla) will also pop-up on the northwest side of the Children’s Garden, near the ramp to the treehouse.
When you are in the Woodland Garden, also be sure to check out the Chinese winter-hazel (Corylopsis sinensis). The pendulant blooms add a zesty yellow to the understory near the footbridge to the boardwalk.
In the Costa Rica biome the place to be for intimate encounters with butterflies is up in the canopy. Flanking the walk is the tropical cucumber vine (Psiguria triphylla). Its small, bright red flower clusters are butterfly magnets and their reaching, spiraling tendrils make for a sensational experience.
In the Madagascar biome, while most of the spiny euphorbia (Euphorbia sp.) have inconspicuous flowers an exception can be found with the crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii & cultivars). Up above the portal to the Costa Rica biome is a colorful assortment of peachy pink mottled varieties of crown-of-thorns.