Public Gardens: Morris Arboretum

Judging by my Facebook timeline, half of Philadelphia went to the Shore this past weekend. The other half was at Morris Arboretum.

Before I started gardening, I preferred hiking in the woods to taking a stroll through a manicured arboretum. Now I love seeing what professional gardeners and arborists have managed to grow in the Delaware Valley. I go to Morris Arboretum to get ideas. When I get bored with my plants–how many purple hellebores do you need, really?–I like to check out the sheer variety at Morris.

I also like that the place is well cared for but it’s not all necessarily perfectly groomed. The rose garden is laid out in a formal pattern but the beds are a bit of hodge-podge, with many other plants growing in among the roses. There are gazebos and pergolas and posh-looking water features, but there are also scruffy herb gardens and butterfly gardens, and even a woodland walk along a bend of the Wissahickon Creek that runs through the grounds.

Below the woods, next to the main gate, there’s a meadow with wildflowers and native plants, and a meandering pond with yellow irises and turtles. The pond is also the best place on the grounds to spot red-winged blackbirds, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I braved the crowds to take enough pictures for a slideshow. It was very crowded, and everybody seemed camera-happy, so for some shots there were a couple of people waiting right behind me to snap the exact same picture. Forgive me if you’ve seen similar images already on Instagram.

Photos by Virginia C. McGuire

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania