Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where to see Spring Flowers

Spring is really taking some time to get here.  I was hiking at Seven Bridges Trail today and found very few wild flowers in bloom.  I know they are coming though.  Get ready for it! Trillium can be found in many of the park ravines if you look for them.
Trillium at Estabrook near the Milwaukee River

Wild flowers in bloom at Grant Park's Seven Bridges Trail
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum has lovely grounds.  It won't be long and there will be a sea of daffodils on the hillside behind the museum.  If you want to see it for free, go on May 3 from 11-4, when the Milwaukee Museum Mile offers free admission to 5 museums- including two that are in parks- Villa Terrace and North Point Lighthouse.  North Point Lighthouse is always a treat too, and you can get in for reduced admission on this date.  $3 adults and $1 per child.  Take the opportunity to climb the stairs into the tower and see the lake before leaves cover all the trees.
Villa Terrace

Shorewood Nature Preserve is a bit tricky to find because it's just a slice of land stuck in between houses, but if you venture down the narrow path to the lake, there will be a sea of blue flowers in the woods to welcome you.  This is also a great place to see migrating birds, both in the trees and on the shoreline.  3600 Lake Drive.  Look for the small wooden sign and pay attention to on-street parking regulations, because they vary by time of day and day of week.
Shorewood Nature Preserve
Boerner Botanical Gardens just opened officially last week. It's a treat to go there no matter what is blooming, but I especially enjoy the sea of tulips they have on display.    Once these bloom, you can be sure there will be something to look at every week throughout summer.  The garden cafe is open too, serving coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and salads from 10-2 daily.  Be sure to watch their newsletter or events page for interesting things to see and do.  This would be a great time to buy an annual pass so you can go back as often as you like.  Remember that once you are a member, you can visit other botanic gardens, and the Domes at Mitchell Park for free.
Tulips at Boerner 

So many beautiful colors!

Call me crazy, but another beautiful setting I enjoy is Forest Home Cemetery.  Long ago when cemeteries were first formed, they were considered parks.  People would pack up the family and a lunch and spend the day there enjoying the outdoors while paying respects to dead family members.  The landscaping here is very pretty.  I was here last year when the irises were in bloom and really enjoyed the show.  There are plenty of flowering shrubs as well. This is the burial place for many of the beer barons and famous people who started Milwaukee.  Take a docent led walking tour if you want to learn more, or download the tour map from their website, or follow the Facebook page for tours.

If you want a more natural setting, check out the trails at Grant Park Seven Bridges Trail, Wehr Nature Center, Jackson Park, or Jacobus Park Nature trail. You'll likely find trillium, marsh marigold, trout lily, bluebells, and wild ginger.  You don't really need to know plant names to enjoy the view.  Jacobus park has interesting signage to help you learn more about what grows in the woods which makes it even better.  Mangan Woods in Whitnall Park is a spot to see unusual red trillium. You can find more hiking trails at The Park People website.
Seen at Wehr Nature Center trails

Jackson Park has these beauties
I hope this has given you some ideas about where to see some pretty signs of spring.  There are just a few flowers now so give it another week or two and you'll be sure to find something. Where's your favorite spot?

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