MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Like much of the state, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is suffering from this summer’s drought, and they are having to hustle to keep up with watering demands.

The arboretum is a 1,200-acre escape, with perennials, trees, and flowers Clarence White — who grew up tending to his grandmother’s garden — so beautifully maintains.

“I love the roses. I love every plant out here though but roses are my favorite,” White said.

There’s still plenty of beauty at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, but a wider look shows the damage the drought has left behind.

“This is the worst I’ve seen out here, in the last 20 I’ve been out here,” White said.

And White’s roses have fared far better than other flowers, shrubs and especially the grass. Erin Buchholz, a plant health specialist at the Arboretum, is assessing the damage.

“We will see wilting, we will see insect diseases popping up, we’ll see diseases that only show up in hot dry weather,” Buchholz said.

The combination of early and long-lasting heat, and only a very little rain, has made for a mad dash of watering.

“We are — I hate to use the word triage — picking and choosing the areas we have to concentrate on the most,” she said. “There’s only so many hours in a day. We have outstanding staff but we also have to realize there are limitations to what we can all do here.”

They are prioritizing the rarest plants, covering most of the ground but leaving some outlying grassy areas on their own against the elements.

The team is hoping for the best and that next year, with a little luck and lot of water, the area will fully return to the green oasis it once was.

“As long as we’re keeping them watered, we will do just great,” White said.

Buchholz told WCCO her advice is to buy a watering wand and water your plants low and slow, either early in the morning or at night.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield