Many of us visit the Arboretum with family and friends, however, have you ever treated yourself to a day out on your own? We get pulled in various directions daily by work, family, and other commitments. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a break, and find some “me” time. The Arboretum is a great place to reset your mind, rejuvenate your spirit, rekindle your creativity, and get some exercise at the same time. I recently took a “me” day at the Arboretum. Here are some of the things I did on my most recent solo outing that will hopefully inspire you to treat yourself to a day out.
- Took a morning class: I often start off a solo visit to the Arboretum with a weekend class. Learning something new is a great way to spark your inner creativity. I’ve taken classes in everything from botanical illustration and canning, to pruning and shade gardening. The atmosphere is fun and friendly, and I always meet new people with similar interests.
- Enjoyed a bite to eat at the Compton Café: The café behind the visitor center is so convenient, and saves me from having to leave the Arboretum to get food before exploring. The café offers soups, salads and sandwiches. It’s open seasonally, so check the hours before you go.
- Visited the Rose Garden: I can’t visit Morris Arboretum without stopping in the Rose Garden. It’s more than just roses. There are lots of interesting perennials and annuals in the garden beds, plus the plantings in the rock wall are fun to check out. On my visit, the place was alive with insects – all sorts of pollinators such as digger wasps, bumble bees, honey bees, tiger swallowtail butterflies, and hummingbird hawk-moths (large moths that are often mistaken for hummingbirds). I am a shutterbug, so I spent quite a bit of time taking photos of flowers and insects.
- Enjoyed some quiet time: When on my own, I like to find the quiet, out of the way places. The area that encompasses the Key Fountain, Ravine Garden, Mercury Loggia, Seven Arches, and the Japanese Overlook garden is often less crowded, and you can find several peaceful places with shaded benches. I took my time sitting on as many of these benches as possible, enjoying the sounds of the birds, and breathing in the fresh air. Birds often visit the shallow water at the bottom of the Key Fountain, and there is a lovely spot to sit at the top where you can watch the bubbling water. The soothing sounds of water can also be heard from the benches across from the Mercury Loggia fountains. I also ventured into the Japanese Overlook garden, where I really enjoyed the stone formations, moss, lichen, and ferns. There is a shady, circular stone area to sit.
- Explored a new area: I had never been to the wetland, and today seemed like a good day to check it out. To get there, I took the unpaved, woodland trail that starts next to the Fernery. As I walked this less-traveled dirt path, I saw a group of Canadian geese lazily floating down the Wissahickon Creek, and heard birds amongst the trees. As I reached the wetland, right away I could see what a peaceful, magical place it is. The bench by the pond is the perfect spot to reconnect with nature. You can hear insects in the grasses, frogs in the pond, various birds singing in the trees, and will most likely see some monarchs making their way toward the milkweed. Turtles sunbathe on rocks in the pond. I had downloaded and printed out the wetland tour from the website, and was able to read more about the history of this place and the native plants and creatures that call it home. It was the perfect way to end my “me” day at the Arboretum.
I thoroughly enjoyed my solo day at the Arboretum and I hope I’ve inspired you to do it, too. It may seem like a luxury to treat yourself to a day at Morris Arboretum, but your mind and body will thank you for it. Taking the time to reconnect with nature can be healing, inspiring, and rejuvenating, and a lot less expensive than spending the day at the spa!
Article contributed by Kristen Bower, Guest Garden Blogger for Morris Arboretum