Within over 1,100 acres, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum contains woodlands, wetlands and prairie that typify the natural Minnesotan landscape. It includes a conservatory, gardens, plant collections located along a three-mile scenic drive, and environmental models. The Arboretum remains true to its roots as a Horticultural Research Center, with new fruit and plant varieties added annually to earlier variety introductions such as the Frontenac grape and Honeycrisp apple.
Many Arboretum visitors begin their tours by using touch-screen kiosks at the Visitor Center to see what plants are blooming. The kiosks also describe what special exhibits or demonstrations are available each day.
The "Discover the Arboretum" brochure includes a map identifying the Arboretum highlights. The brochure lists the various flower gardens, the shrub and tree collections, the environmental models, which include a Japanese garden and the Home Demo gardens, and the native plant areas, such as the prairie. Other brochures highlight specific plants or special exhibits, such as the Spring Peeper Meadow, the Wildflower Garden and the Behrens Weed Exhibit.
The three-mile scenic drive meanders through the gardens and collections of the Arboretum, with parking lots at strategically located points. As you enter each area, a road-side sign indicates that you are entering the Weeping Tree Grove, the Hedge Display, the Shade Tree Exhibit, or one of the other numerous collections.
Each flower and plant in the gardens and collections is individually tagged with the plant's botanical name indicating its genus and species as well as its common name, such as "Gomphrena globosa; Las Vegas Pink; Globe Amaranth. Additionally, those plants introduced by the Arboretum include the date of their acceptance. If the plant is currently used for research, it includes the location where that specific plant was found. For instance, in the sedge collection, one plant tag reads: "Carex pensylvanica; (St. Croix Co. WI); Pennsylvania; Sedge."
"Minnesota Hardy" Magazine
Published by the University of Minnesota, the "Minnesota Hardy" highlights new plants introduced by the University, many of which can be seen at the Arboretum. The 2009 edition includes, among other plants: a list and photos of 28 new chrysanthemums introduced between 1974 and 2007, 13 new azaleas introduced between 1978 and 2001, and 17 new apple varieties, beginning with "Beacon" in 1936 and ending with ""SweeTango" in 2009.