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Plan Your Visit: Monthly Guide



In winter, the colors, shapes, and textures of our now-dormant plants provide interest throughout the collections. Especially stunning are the dry grasses, winterberry fruits, and evergreen shrubs in the Zucker Shrub Collection, as well as conifers such as the spruces, firs, and pines in the Mullestein Winter Garden and at Kienzle Overlook.



Colorful berries and interesting bark really stand out within Cornell Botanic Gardens’ sleeping, snow-covered gardens. Though it’s cold outside, the Mullestein Winter Garden is a winter wonderland.




Witch hazel blossoms unfurl in the Deans Garden during the first warm days of early spring. As the snow melts, tiny bulbs and alpine plants emerge in the Heasley Rock Garden, along with early-blooming bulbs throughout the collections. Visitors strolling through the boggy areas of the Mundy Wildflower Garden will be rewarded with sightings of emerging skunk cabbage.


Visit the Mundy Wildflower Garden, where trilliums, hepaticas, trout lilies, and bloodroots are at their peak, taking full advantage of the sunlit forest floor, which the leafless trees temporarily allow. Look for the yellow flowers of the Cornelian cherry tree in the Groundcover Collection and the "Cornell Pink" rhododendrons on Comstock Knoll and on campus.



Spring brings flowering trees and shrubs to the F.R. Newman Arboretum; look for redbuds, serviceberries, cherries, crabapples, magnolias, and viburnums; as well as the stunning Japanese primroses along the arboretum’s Treman Woodland Walk. Around the botanical garden, the rhododendrons beginning their annual display.



The botanical garden is a mass of color. Peonies, false indigo, Texas blue-star, rhododendrons, masterworts, cranesbills, Siberian irises, and our famous big-leaf magnolia are just a few highlights. In the F.R. Newman Arboretum ponds, the irises and water lilies are in full bloom, as are the nearby fringe trees, viburnums, and spireas.



See the Robison York State Herb Garden and the Young Flower Garden at the peak of their glorious bloom time. Enjoy the fragrant azaleas in the rhododendron collection, and the blossoming daylilies in the Zucker Shrub Collection and in the Class of ’60 Daylily Garden on Tower Road, on campus. Also stop by the F.R. Newman Arboretum’s Baird Field-Flower Meadow to enjoy the blooming yarrow, purple coneflowers, and other meadow flowers.


Enjoy the tapestry of flowers and foliage displayed in the Class of ’53 Container Gardens, the Groundcover Collection, the Young Flower Garden and the Bioswale Garden. This is also the best month to see the tomatoes, eggplants, beans, and cabbages in the Pounder Heritage Vegetable Garden.



Hardy cyclamens, Japanese anemones, asters, kirengeshoma, tender Mediterranean and Western sages, as well as ornamental grasses are late bloomers around the botanical garden and arboretum. Also, check out the ripening pumpkins, squashes, and beans in the Pounder Heritage Vegetable Garden, or enjoy a stroll along Fall Creek and other on-campus natural areas.


Enjoy fall foliage on a mile loop trail around Beebe Lake. The arboretum’s Newman Overlook provides a panoramic view of the brilliant colors in the arboretum and woods along Fall Creek. The red and yellow fruits of viburnums, winterberries, and hawthorns appear in the Zucker Shrub Collection, while hardy kiwis mature on the arbor at the Lewis Education Center in the botanical garden. 



Garden design is most clearly seen before the snow conceals each garden’s hardscape, or architectural features. Ornamental grasses provide color, structure, and interest throughout the collections. Japanese anemones inexplicably continue to bloom along the Groundcover Collection’s North Walk.



Before the snow gets too deep, enjoy the variety of tree bark colors and textures throughout our collections. Plants to look for include maples, birches, cherries, beeches, red and yellow dogwoods, and stewartia trees. The shapes and forms of the evergreens on Conifer Slope and Kienzle Overlook are also stunning.