‘Spring at Five Rivers MetroParks is about the quiet and understated as much as the bold’

Daffodil River is already blooming at Cox Arboretum, and the scent of hyacinths fills the air.

But these vibrant shows of nature are just the beginning. Spring at Five Rivers MetroParks is about the quiet and understated as much as the bold.

“Spring is little,” said Betty Hoevel, Five Rivers education coordinator. “Look at the things that are happening, that are just starting.”

Ephemeral wildflowers, tree buds — both brilliant and subtle — even the early morning shadows are unique to this season. Week by week, nature will come to life.

“Spring in MetroParks is such a progression,” Hoevel said. “You want to start coming in March and then come every week. Because if you don’t, you might miss that little thing that happens, some little magic thing that only blooms for a minute.”

To get the most of the season, walk slowly, says Allison Bush, Five Rivers horticulturist. “Don’t always look down, look up.”

What to look for this spring at MetroParks

  • Witch hazels at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. Wegerzyn has one of North America’s largest collections of witch hazels. Their blooms are winding down.
  • Bluebells at Aullwood Garden MetroPark. Tens of thousands of Virginia bluebells are about to burst to life. “It’s not just hype, it’s real,” Hoevel says.
  • Daffodils and tulips at Cox Arboretum MetroPark as well as many other flowers and flowering trees.
  • Ephemeral wildflowers including skunk cabbage, blood root and trout lilies at Wegerzyn, Germantown, Englewood, Cox and Possum Creek metroparks.
  • Trees. The magnolias and dogwoods have extravagant blooms, but other tree buds are also interesting — like maples and horse chestnuts. Even their exfoliating bark is fascinating.
  • Shadows. “The shadows this time of year are really cool, and you won’t see them much longer,” Hoevel said. Without the leaves on the trees, “you can see the shapes of trees, the shadows they cast, and it’s really just stunning.”

Jana Collier serves on the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation Board.

Upcoming events

April 5: Tea Time: Herbs and Flowers to Grow for your Tea Blends at Second Street Market.

April 6: Planting Early Gardens at Cox Arboretum.

April 8: Eclipse effect on flowers. On your own, head to any MetroParks to watch the flowers close up slightly during the Solar Eclipse.

April 13: Propagating Spring Wildflowers at Cox Arboretum.

April 20: April Wildflower ID at Germantown MetroPark; Spring Wildflower Exploration for kids 3-13 at Taylorsville MetroPark.

April 21: Carolyn Kimes Tree Seedling Give Away at Second Street Market.

April 27: Springtime at Aullwood MetroPark.

May 3: Mayfair Plant Sale at Second Street Market. Sponsored by Wegerzyn Gardens Foundation with proceeds going to Wegerzyn’s.

A new garden at Wegerzyn

Work on a rain garden will start this month. After erosion and drainage issues continued in some landscape beds, MetroParks decided to make a change. “Instead of trying to add more drainage, we decided to just do a rain garden and work with Mother Nature instead of against it,” Bush said. Native plants will thrive where perennial flowers struggled. Interpretive signage will help homeowners develop their own rain gardens. The project was funded by the Wegerzyn Gardens Foundation and should be complete next year.

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