Oh, Minnesota in autumn. The sharp, sweet air in your nose, whirlwinds of leaves circling your boots, and the reds, golds, and purples of the changing foliage. Aside from the foreboding of winter, it is one of our most beautiful seasons. One of the best places to admire all that this season has to offer is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. And while the beautiful sights and smells are enticing enough, the arboretum also hosts a variety of events to educate, inspire, and celebrate the beauty of what our great state has to offer during this time of year.

Savage Gardens

An exciting event that runs through September 18th is “Savage Gardens,” which explores the awesome world of carnivorous plants. Located in the Visitor Center and Snyder Building, the exhibit is free with gate admission. It includes six interactive stations for children (or children at heart!) and four oversized sculptures of different carnivorous plants.

A Perfect Place for Your Pooch

If you don’t have a dog park near your home, consider bringing your pup(s) to stroll with you through the 65 acres of dedicated on-leash dog trails amidst the beautiful setting of the arboretum. It’s a great excuse to get exercise, breath in some fresh air, and socialize your four-legged friend.

Arts and Gardening Classes

The arboretum also holds a great variety of different art classes. From sketching bees to watercolors, to crafting an eco-print scarf, make sure to regularly visit www.arboretum.umn.edu/artsclasses to see what they have to offer. Sign up as early as you can, as space is limited and classes can fill up quickly. They also offer gardening classes, (more information at www.arboretum.umn.edu/gardeningclasses) such as home landscaping, caring for houseplants through the winter, and tree pruning. Admission to the arboretum is included in the registration fee.

Auxiliary Fall Harvest Sale

Another fun event is the Auxiliary Fall Harvest Sale. You have two opportunities to attend, both Saturday, September 24th from 9am-4pm and Sunday the 25th from 11am-4pm. Featured are one of a kind nature gift items created by Auxiliary members; items include flower arrangements, wreaths, greeting cards and more. The event is located in the Snyder Building Auditorium, with all proceeds go to the Arboretum. This is a great opportunity to chip away at your holiday shopping! Most major credit cards are accepted.

Also, be sure to visit the Oswald Visitor Center to buy a $2.00 Quilt Raffle Ticket to try to win this year’s quilt “Old Fashioned Summer Garden.” The raffle will be held at 2:00 in the Visitor Center on Saturday the 24th.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

If you enjoy photography, one of the best times to take pictures of the beauty outdoors is the “golden hour.” It’s that sweet spot just as the sun is setting when everything is cast in the golden glow of the end of day. But no matter when you visit, be sure to take a few moments and just feel yourself within nature. The stillness, the gentle power of the swaying trees, the independent beauty of a solitary flower, whatever moves you. The busy of life and work and schedules removes us from the awesome wonder of the natural world, and the arboretum is a perfect place to find ourselves moved once again by something bigger than us.


By Whitney Grindberg