My family and I have made a twice annual trek to Longenecker Horticultural Gardens at the UW-Arboretum (Madison) for many years now. We always time our spring visit to coincide with peak spring color which will include the last of the magnolias blooming, peak lilac (Syringa) color and many of the crabapples (Malus) as well. Our autumn visit is usually in October when we can observe superior fall color. This 50 acre garden, while part of the UW-Arboretum, features close to 2,500 types of plants. Founded in 1935, this premiere collection of woody plants continues to include vast assortments of trees and shrubs suitable for our climate including the nation's largest lilac (Syringa) collection and most current crabapple (Malus) collection. The rest of the UW-Arboretum is also worth exploring as it includes woodlands, wetlands, the Curtis Prairie and many other features (along with a nice Visitor's Center). Dr. Ed Hasselkus, Professor Emeritus of Horticulture (UW-Madison) has been the Curator of Longenecker for many years and is only the second person to hold that responsibility. He has seen the organization and planting of this collection over many years and has formed a connection with so many of these plants that he's installed and watch grow over the years. A tour with Dr. Hasselkus in the arboretum is a real treat and everyone is encouraged to take advantage of those opportunities. Longenecker Horticultural Gardens is a worthwhile visit for anyone as is the UW-Arboretum. Find the time to make the trip and enjoy some of the sights like those I've included below (from two weeks ago).
Syringa 'Purple Haze'
Syringa x hyacinthiflora 'Purple Heart'