Picture Ohio! Secrest Arboretum Crabapple Display

Crabapple 'Adirondack', Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Crabapple 'Adirondack', Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

One of my favorite places to visit in mid-April is the Secrest Arboretum, which is tucked into the sprawling campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) just south of Wooster in Wayne County. The address is 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. Tel: (330)-263-3761. Website: www.secrest.osu.edu. GPS Coordinates: 40.78352N 81.917585W.

Crabapples. Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Crabapples. Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

Secrest Arboretum is an Ohio public garden that deserves to be better known. There has been an arboretum here since 1908, when the Forest Arboretum was established, and in 1950 it was renamed in honor of Dr. Edmund Secrest, the founder of Ohio Forestry. The gardens are open  year-round from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.

The Secrest Arboretum covers 115 acres, and includes about 700 crabapple (Malus) trees, one of the largest collections in North America. Secrest also has more than fifty specimens of dawn redwood, a deciduous tree that was discovered in China in 1944. There is a rhododendron garden and a prairie garden, and in May and June, 500 varieties of heirloom roses bloom in the Garden of Roses of Legend and Romance. I will devote another blog article to this rose garden later this year.

Crabapple 'Candymint', Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Crabapple 'Candymint', Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

On Friday, September 17, 2010, at 5:30 pm, a tornado touched down and caused extensive damage to the OARDC campus and Secrest Arboretum. More than 1,500 trees, many of them more than a century old, were toppled or damaged. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Secrest’s curator, Ken Cochran, other OARDC staff and volunteers, and numerous generous donations of trees and shrubs from nurseries and other contributors nationwide, Secrest is recovering and is once more open to visitors. Because of the unusually warm weather during March, some of the crabapples bloomed earlier than usual, but the display right now is peaking and many of the crabapples are still in bud and will bloom over the next couple of weeks.

Crabapples, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Crabapples, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

In addition to being a magnet for local photographers, the crabapples are beloved by butterflies, and during my visits over the weekend hundreds of Red Admirals were nectaring on the crabapple blossoms.

Red Admiral, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Red Admiral, Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

There is a gazebo with a parking area that is a convenient place to leave your vehicle during a visit. Several large crabapple trees line the drive through the arboretum, and the main display, which is called Crablandia, has long rows of crabapple trees, most of them with labels that identify the crabapple variety. My approach is to photograph the label, then the crabapple, so that when you get home you can easily identify and caption your crabapple photos. Each crabapple has thousands of flowers, and it can be challenging to compose close-up photographs. Try handholding your digital camera with a zoom lens so you can preview a variety of vertical and horizontal compositions. When you have found one you like, set up your tripod and wait for the wind to die down before taking the photograph. The Red Admiral butterflies are rapid fliers and are constantly on the move from blossom to blossom. Rather than using a tripod, I find it is much easier to use a high ISO setting, usually 400, and handhold the camera with my 180mm Sigma macro lens attached. Although the butterflies prefer sunny weather, they also fly on cloudy days as long as the temperature is at least 60 degrees, and I prefer to photograph close-ups of the crabapple blossoms on cloudy or partly cloudy days when the lighting is diffuse.

Malus 'Rosseau', Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio
Malus 'Rosseau', Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio

Although there will be crabapples blooming for the next couple of weeks, each tree flowers for just a few days, so try to visit soon if you would like to enjoy and photograph one of America’s finest displays of flowering crabapples at the Secrest Arboretum.

 

 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This is the first time I have looked at your BLOG or anyone else’s in fact.

    Very nice article about Seacrest and it certainly looks great at this time of year.

    Keep up the good work…imagine these Blogs are closely followed by interested

    photographers or would-be folk.

  2. Hi Ian, I’m writing an article about crabapple trees and birds for the Spring 2014 Greater Mohican Audubon Newsletter. I found your blogpost about the trees at Secrest Arboretum and am including the web address in my article to your page. 🙂 Your photos are fantastic! Thanks! Jan

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