Contributed by Guest Blogger Rick Sellano

Cold weather can be a cool thing! As kids, some of us learned how wintry weather contributed to animals’ adaptation to cold. They migrate, hibernate or adapt. Migration activity is easy to identify. All we need to do is look up and see the grasshopper sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum) in flight. Hibernation, by definition, is a more covert phenomenon—more challenging to identify.

One human form of a ‘mini-hibernation’ on cold weather days is to take refuge in The Fernery which is always cozy and warm. It’s a magical glasshouse for more than 200 varieties of ferns, and a pond for koi, the only freestanding fernery in North America. 


Be Bowled Over by Winter Blooms

The circle of life—quite naturally—continues all year, and there's no doubt that it's in full force in winter. A visit to Morris Arboretum in December showcases a bevy of nature's beauties. To start, amble to the Azalea Meadow, a location that pays homage to Philadelphia's historical and current medical sciences. There you'll find the soft yellow hues of the spindly witch hazel flowers (Hamamelis virginiana). Here's a plant with a storied past, owing to both its historical and current medical applications. A mild and soothing astringent, a solution of the plant's leaves and bark has been used in skincare and to reduce inflammation for centuries. Get to Morris Arboretum before January to see this one. Continuing from our November "bloom book," is Winter Gold common winterberry (Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’). Its yellow and golden colors punctuate the Morris Arboretum terrain with a delicate artistry. Find winterberry below the Wisteria Walk. Ilex × meserveae (Meserve holly) adds its unique blue-green hues to the Holly Slope. While visiting the Orange Balustrade, be sure to take in the white flowers of Camellia oleifera (tea-oil camellia), a plant as beautiful as it is economically important around the world for cooking. And please recognize that “tea oil” is very different from “tea tree oil”!

While the Winds Whip

With wind gusts and snapping cold temperatures, hibernation might seem appealing. But, there's a big, bold, beautiful experience—that’s enjoyable, educational and historic, too—awaiting intrepid explorers of the outdoors. Naturally, we’re talking about Morris Arboretum. Experiencing all that Morris Arboretum offers is among the strongest drivers we know to conquer the push-back of cold weather and enjoy our Planet's local winter landscapes. We believe that each visitor departs feeling nourished by the Arboretum's natural banquet of sensory fare. Why not visit today?