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Ever seen a tree covered in crochet? Head to Chicago.

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Courtesy of Craig Summers Black

(Read caption) Magnolia stellata blooms in early May at the 1,700-acre Morton Arboretum in Chicago.

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This kind of weather really frosts my flakes.

And I mean that literally. “Literally” as in “literally.” Not “literally,” as some people now use the word, as in “I am raising my eyebrows and being hyperbolic.”

Yes, it is the merry month of May, yet we in Madison County, Iowa, had frost this morning. And more frost is predicted for, as TV weatherfolk call it, “the overnight.”

Well, pooh. I am not merry in the least.

OK, so I am whinging (an Englishism, and a fine one) again about Iowa’s overlong winters.

At least the daffs are up and many of my magnolias are abloom. Although the constant 30-m.p.h. winds of the past week are tearing the blossoms to tatters.

Off to find better weather

The solution to dealing with this confounding weather is probably obvious to you at this point: road trip.

Surely even Chicago would be warmer than here, and what finer place to get some schooling in my tree planting than at the Morton Arboretum? Hey, it’s only a 12-hour round trip.

Turns out it was a great idea. It was clear, sunny, and warmish at the 1,700-acre park. Wish I had brought my bike. Or, like the woman in the oak savannah, knew Tai chi.

The magnolias were out in full force [see first photo above], and I found myself admiring the brightly colored catkins of the many kinds of willows, not something I ever thought about before. Actually gorgeous.


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