Kansas Landscape Arboretum Welcomes Nature Lovers For Nearly 60 Years

By Quinn O’Hara

Since 1969, the Kansas Landscape Arboretum has served as a space to host a variety of native and nonnative species of woody plants and shrubs, and to educate the public on those species located within its boundaries.

The Arboretum was established in 1960 by Bill Flynn, a nursery worker from Abilene, and Leland Quinlan, a Kansas State University Landscape Architecture professor, who saw the opportunity to create the Arboretum during the flooding of Milford Lake, said Kansas Landscape Arboretum Volunteer Board Secretary Jerry Patterson.

The KLA now features hundreds of species of plants, several tree collections, three nature trails, and woodland, wetland, and grassland habitat. Patterson said of particular note is the Arboretum’s Crabapple tree collection, which was partially destroyed by a flood in 1993.

Patterson said the Arboretum gives families a space to enjoy nature and learn about local flora and fauna and recalled an encounter he had at the Arboretum with two young boys interested in snakes.

The Kansas Landscape Arboretum is located just south of Wakefield on the shores of Milford Lake. It is free and open to the public year round, sunrise to sunset. Patterson said this time of year is especially spectacular with several species of trees currently blooming at the Arboretum, and he encourages all to witness the wide variety of plants and animals found within its boundaries.

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional