Friday, July 25, 2008

Discover What’s Blooming In Ohio

(NAPSI)-Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that the “Earth laughs in flowers,” and if that’s true, Ohio is certainly one of the world’s more joyful places. Each region of the state hosts a diverse collection of natural preserves, botanical gardens, estates, garden cemeteries and more.

Natural Areas and Preserves

Natural areas and preserves provide visitors the opportunity to experience Ohio’s plentiful mature forests, lush wildflowers, wildlife and rare plants all in their natural habitats. Lawrence Woods State Nature Preserve in Northwest Ohio is one such wooded oasis. Visitors can enjoy a boardwalk to spot wildflowers or explore more than 1,300 acres of centuries-old oak trees.

In the same region of Ohio, Oak Openings Preserve Metropark hosts prickly pear cactus blooming on dry, hot sand dunes just yards from orchids growing in low, wet swales. Nearby Kitty Todd State Nature Preserve is home to more than 100 rare plants.

Tucked along the coast of Lake Erie is the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve on Marblehead Peninsula. This former limestone quarry is home to the only natural population of Lakeside Daisies in the United States and one of only three locations worldwide. The Lakeside Daisy is the rarest of more than 200 endangered plant species in Ohio.


If majestic tree and woody plant collections are more your style, Ohio has plenty of arboretums offering shady spots for relaxation or audio walking tours. The Stranahan Arboretum on the University of Toledo’s campus grows 1,500 specimens of trees from as far away as China, Japan and Norway.

Holden Arboretum in Kirtland is one of America’s largest arboretums at 3,400 acres and is also known for its rhododendrons.

Estate and Cemetery Gardens

Ohio’s estate and garden cemeteries represent some of the most exquisite, historic and artist-worthy settings in the state. For instance, the gardens at Adena Mansion in Chillicothe were created with seeds from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate in the early 1800s. Jefferson gave the seeds to Thomas Worthington, one of Ohio’s first senators. The view from Adena is said to have been the inspiration for Ohio’s state seal.

Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati is among the top garden cemeteries in the country, offering 400 acres of artfully developed landscape dotted with 12 ponds. It was established in 1845 to honor 40 Civil War Union generals.

Gardens and Conservatories

Ohio’s city gardens and conservatories bring colorful plants from every corner of the Earth to the core of the state’s cities, providing spaces to learn about distant habitats and to escape from life’s hectic pace.

The Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus takes visitors on a journey through the Himalayan Mountains, the rainforest, the desert and the Pacific Islands. Franklin Park is known for its annual Blooms & Butterflies exhibition, which transforms the Pacific Island Water Garden into an enchanting haven for butterflies. Downtown Columbus is also home to the world’s only existing topiary interpretation of a painting. The Topiary Garden depicts Georges Seurat’s famous “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” His re-creation consists of 54 topiary people as tall as 12 feet.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden in University Circle provides 10 acres of award-winning gardens set in the heart of the city’s arts and cultural area. The Garden features the Armstrong Glass House, where visitors can walk into two of the world’s most endangered environments--Madagascar’s Spiny Desert and the Costa Rican Cloud Forest.

Annual Garden Events

No matter what time of year you visit Ohio, there’s something colorful and alive waiting to greet visitors. In addition to Ohio’s permanent sites and attractions, the following annual events attract visitors from around the world:

WinterBlooms Orchid Show & Sale (Mid-January-February), Holden Arboretum, Kirtland

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Zoo Blooms (Held annually each spring)

Cincinnati Flower Show (April), Coney Island, Cincinnati

Cleveland Botanical Garden Flower Show (Biannual, Late May), Cleveland

Columbus Rose Festival (June), Park of Roses, Columbus

Tipp City Mum Festival (Held annually in September), Downtown Tipp City

Free visitor information is available to travelers interested in planning a garden getaway to Ohio. For more information about Ohio in Bloom, visit

Visitors enjoy a guided tour through the gardens at Adena Mansion in Chillicothe, Ohio.

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