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Preserve Profile: Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

by Alyssa Baggio, Alexandria Peacock, Tiffany Price

 

Spring is a wonderful season to visit Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden because everything is just beginning to bloom. The trees are coming out if their dormancy and the flowers are finally revealing their petals. The forest preserve has different types of trails for people to choose from. Some are paved and in the open while others paths are dirt and in wooded areas. The people who work at the Visitor’s Center are friendly and informative. There are picnic tables offered if people want to have a picnic on the patio.

 

A luscious garden to walk upon, Klehm Arboretum has a variety of plants, trees, and bushes that give the garden its practically unparalleled beauty, especially in the summer when the plants are all in full bloom.  It also has many trails that showcase the different and diverse plant life that inhabits the garden and allows for the exploration of these plants.

 

The East Loop is one of the easiest trails to walk at the preserve. It has a paved road to walk on and is a very short distance. It is not uphill and the flowers and trees do not impede the walk. The natural elements are a distance from the path on either side. Wooden benches are set on the side of the path for people to sit. The benches are labeled with small plaques in memory of people or groups of people. Picturesque stone benches are also offered for people to use at intervals along the path. In this particular part of the forest preserve, beautiful Maple trees can be seen. These Maples are interesting because they are small, but host large, pointed leaves. Most of the trees along the trail have plaques on them depicting what type of tree it is. While different types of trees and flowers can be seen, there are pretty little glades interspersed among the trees. Vibrant, green grass decorates the landscape. If people are more interested in gardens than trees, they can see the Hosta Garden, Peony Garden, Rhododendron and Azalea Garden, Wildflower Garden, Grasses Garden, Prehistoric Garden, and five Demonstration Gardens. The flowers are wonderful colors and come in different shapes and sizes.

 

The Woodland Wildflower Trail is located on the East Loop of the preserve. It is not a long walk. It has a dirt road that but is not difficult for people to travel. It is not uphill, and foliage crowds the path. When walking this particular trail, you feel immersed in nature. On this specific trail, Umbrella Magnolia trees can be seen. These amazing trees can grow up to 15 meters tall. The petals are 15 to 25 centimeters in diameter. The Umbrella Magnolia is just one magnificent tree that can be viewed.

 

The Pine Trail started in the farther parts of the gardens and had many great sights to see despite the fact that the trees and plants were not completely in bloom yet.  For example, while walking along the trail, there were altered conifers, which displayed unusual characteristics in growth, such as the tree growing on the side inside of upright.  Norway spruces lined different parts of the trail and were covered with some lovely pine cones which are said to be the inspiration for weights on grandfather clocks in Germany.  Along the way, there were European larches which are also conifers, but unlike other conifers, their leaves change color and drop in the autumn, which is a sight to see.  Other thick oak trees lined up the trail as well and even though they did not have their leaves, they were still breathtaking with their incredible heights and endless branches and tough bark.

 

Klehm is a wonderful place to spend the day, either with a family or for some quiet time alone.