Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Earns Prestigious National Honor

CHASKA, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has been named the best botanical garden in the nation.

That’s according to USA Today Readers. WCCO’s Molly Rosenblatt was at the arboretum on Wednesday to find out what makes it so special.

“We did know we were the best but it’s nice when people, thousands of people, vote for you. And that shows that we’re meeting people’s needs, people love coming here,” Arboretum Director Pete Moe said.

Moe says there’s obviously a lot that goes into being the best.

“We’ve got our permanent exhibits, our sculpture gardens. There’s really world-class sculptures out on Three Mile Drive. You’ll see similar work by major artists all across the globe,” Moe said.

Now it’s not all about the gardens and grounds at the arboretum. It’s that extra effort with exhibits, events, programs and research that they feel put them at the top.

“We always are looking for ideas and then what are the ones that really fit to Minnesota and have a Minnesota edge to them, or they fit our climate better than other exhibits,” Moe said.

The list of special events, programs and exhibits is a long one. Last fall, it was all about the endless varieties of pumpkins and squash.

And of course, there’s the University of Minnesota Extension program, where they’ve created the Honey Crisp apple along with grapes for an original Minnesota cold, hardy wine. The arboretum also boasts a vast maple syrup production system, created solely for educational purposes.

Moe says seasonal events like artist Bruce Monro’s “Winter Light” are also a big part of their success.

“Bruce Monro is a world-acclaimed artist. That puts us in a whole other echelon because only a few gardens have had these exhibits,” Moe said.

And it’s the extra effort and attentional to detail that keeps arboretum lovers coming back.

The arboretum has several upcoming Spring events.

More from Molly Rosenblatt
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