April 2005 Issue
A Bloomin' Good Time
Ohio is blessed with two major garden shows this spring, as well as permanent exhibits at public greenhouses and conservatories all year long. Join us for a stroll down garden paths in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.
Linda Feagler and Felix Winternitz
Cleveland Botanical Garden
How does your garden grow? Chances are it's with a lot of TLC, mixed with the healthy dose of luck needed to brave Ohio's fickle climate.
Next month, the Cleveland Botanical Garden will show you how to make the most of your terra firma - whether you're striving for an expansive emerald oasis or a cozy, fragrant retreat sheltered from the neighbors' prying eyes. Modeled after the Royal Horticultural Society's renowned Chelsea Flower Show in London, the Cleveland Botanical Garden Flower Show 2005, held May 27 through 30, celebrates "The Garden as Art." Billed as the largest outdoor flower show in North America, it features 10 acres comprised of 16 gardens - four new permanent installations, plus 12 created exclusively for the show. Each explores the ways in which visual interest can add delight-fully unexpected elements to your landscape.
- It takes more than 100 gardeners 10 days to install the show. This is more than 8,000 hours of labor. (The gardeners usually put in much more than 8 hours a day.)
- Not including annuals, there are more than 3,500 different cultivars of plants in the Cleveland Botanical Garden collection. During the flower show, there will be more than 5,000 different cultivars on the grounds.
- The landscapers will use more than 200 tons of stone in the creation of this year's gardens.
- The landscapers will also use enough mulch to cover a football field, or to fill a tennis court 30 feet deep.
- Some 20,000 plants, from impatiens to trees, will be brought to the garden for the flower show.
- More than 1,000 exhibits will be entered in competitive divisions. They span the gamut from 33 bonsai trees to 100 succulents to more than 100 flower arrangements.
'Great American Gardener' Lecture Series
Gardening experts share horticultural advice during the Cleveland Botanical Garden Flower Show 2005.
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.: Keynote luncheon: "The Living Art of Hitomi Gilliam"
11 a.m.-noon: "Creative Containers for Every Need: Plants, Placement and Possibilities"
1-2 p.m.: "New Plants in the Marketplace"
3-4 p.m.: "The Gardening Husband" presented by Elvin McDonald, Better Homes and Gardens magazine deputy editor/garden writer
11 a.m.-noon: "Sustainable Landscapes"
2-3 p.m.: "Container Gardening"
11a.m.-noon: "Creating Garden Vignettes"
2-3 p.m.: "Palms and Warm Climate Plants for Ohio Gardens"
3-4 p.m.: "Gardening for Fun," presented by American Horticultural Society President Katy Moss Warner
Cleveland Botanical Garden Flower Show 2005, 11030 East Blvd. (University Circle), Cleveland, 216/721-1600 or 888/853-7091 www.cbgarden.org, Hours: May 26-30, Thur. 6 p.m.-midnight, Fri.-Mon. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Admission: Fri. night "Grand Promenade" preview party: $250-$1,000; Sat.-Mon. $12 (advance sales through the garden's web site), $14 at the door, children ages 4-12 $6.
"You go to an indoor show in the middle of winter and everything is pretty theatrical," says Bill Fehrenbach, a member of the Cleveland Botanical Garden's board of directors. "There are rhododendrons blooming next to daffodils and hydrangeas and bulbs which have been forced to bloom in time for the show. After the event, everything is dismantled.
"But the Botanical Garden's outdoor show not only celebrates spring in Cleveland but also embraces gardening the way it really is by presenting real techniques, real soil, real plants and real combinations that work. Whether or not you have a sunny space in your yard that faces east or a shady glen next to a ravine, you'll learn how to make the most of it."
Visitors to this year's show will not only see and smell old favorites, such as the peonies and rhododendrons used in traditional garden settings, but will also discover how nontraditional elements can be used in new ways.
"Moss, for instance, is often thought of as being something of a problem, something you want to get rid of so grass will grow," Fehrenbach says. "We'll show you that's not always the case."
Cleveland-area artists are adding their creative touches to the mix. University of Akron art professor Penny Rakoff's "Living Rooms" garden, for example, features ground coverings resembling the geometric patterns found in Oriental rugs and a chandelier adorned with branches.
"It's a wonderful play on what's real vs. not real," says Cleveland Botanical Garden Executive Director Brian Holley. "This is the piÃ¨ce de resistance, the likes of which I've never seen before."
The show also will present competitive exhibits covering horticulture, flower arranging and wearable botanical jewelry, as well as a lecture series featuring Katy Moss Warner, president of the American Horticultural Society, Better Homes and Gardens writer Elvin McDonald and internationally acclaimed floral designer Hitomi Gilliam.
"Gardeners will go berserk over the show because there are so many great ideas and interesting plants and people to talk to who know their subject," Holley promises.
"And to people who aren't gardeners, this will be a visual extravaganza burgeoning with beauty and creativity. It's a wonderful celebration of life."
A World of Color:
Cincinnati Flower Show
You won't need your official United States Passport to attend this month's Cincinnati Flower Show. It will just feel like it.
The theme of this year's botanical exposition is "Color My World," with exhibitors and gardeners drawing their inspiration from a wide variety of international sources.
"There are a ton of new exhibits and floral designs, colorful cutting-edge displays and a hint of international flair throughout - emphasizing the theme," comments Maureen Brierton, publicity manager for the event. "The 2005 show is going to be truly amazing."
One of the city's largest floral fantasies each spring (along with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's "Zoo Blooms" - see Page 23), this year's flower show will include:
- A commemorative World War II garden, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the conflict's end, that will also be exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show in London. Designer Julian Dowle is creating the garden with wildflowers, red poppies and even a thatched-roof English country pub. The landscape's title: "A Soldier's Dream of Blighty."
- A main-entrance Asian garden that will be exhibited, after its Cincinnati appearance, at the China Flower Expo in Chengdu City. A rare collection of seed mosaic art from the Beijing Botanical Gardens will offer a unique glimpse into an ancient art form rarely seen outside China.
- A "Grand Marquee" featuring dozens of colorful landscaped gardens and new varieties such as Coleus Religious Radish, Elephant Ear Black Magic and Begonia Dragon Wing Pink.
- A "Glorious Wedding" exhibition of the latest trends in fashion and entertaining.
- "Splendid Spaces by Closson's Interior Design," showing eclectic room designs.
- An "Artists Studio" featuring works by regional sculptors, painters and ceramic artists.
- "Professional Floristry," displaying classic and contemporary floral designs.
- Displays on tablescapes and table settings, window gardens, container gardens and more.
The Cincinnati Flower Show, presented by National City Bank, was founded in 1989 by Mary Margaret Rochford, president of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society, who in turn based it on the famed Chelsea Flower Show in Great Britain.
Rochford has brought her own unique touches to the Cincinnati version of the show, based in part on her rural roots. "We've added on to the poultry show this year, expanding that dimension with chickens, baby ducks, llamas and other semi-exotic farm animals," she says. (Why farm animals at a flower show? "Superior fertilizer," explains Rochford.)
The botanical blast is the only North American show endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain. (The society sponsors the Chelsea show.) USA Today recently listed Cincinnati's floral fest among the Top 10 flower shows in America. And the show was named "the king of all flower shows" by Better Homes & Gardens magazine.
Some 60,000 visitors attended the Cincinnati Flower Show last year, driving in from all parts of the state. The show has contributed more than $370,000 to Cincinnati in the form of donations to the Lindner Center for Clinical Cardiovascular Research, Children's Hospital, the YWCA Battered Women's Shelter, a Children's Potting Program involving 400 children from 10 inner-city schools, and other causes.
A first time for everything
Want to get a gander at a new variety? The following are first-timers at the Cincinnati Flower Show:
- Sweet Potato Marguarite
- Canna Bengal Tiger
- Canna Tropicana
- Coleus Kingwood Torch
- Coleus Religious Radish
- Coleus Freckles
- Elephant Ear Black Magic
- Impatiens Fanciful Mix Hawaiian
- Impatiens Fanciful Mix Salsa
- Begonia Dragon Wing Pink
- Begonia Dragon Wing Red
Floral Ideas & Advice
In addition to a daily "Ask the Experts" workshop with gardening specialists from across the country, the Cincinnati Flower Show features keynote speakers addressing a wide range of horticultural topics.
7 p.m.: "The New Garden Revolution" by English "rock and roll garden designer" Diarmuid Gavin.
2 p.m.: "A Sacred Setting," a program on the Bishop's Garden at the Washington National Cathedral by Joe Luebke, the cathedral's director of horticulture and grounds.
11 a.m.: Luncheon program, "Room Recipes: Cooking Up Style With Color" by Jane Lockhart of the HGTV channel's "Get Color."
Cincinnati Flower Show, Coney Island amusement park, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township, 513/872-5194, 800/670-6808, www.cincyflowershow.com., Hours: April 20-24, Wed. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Thur.-Sat. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Admission: Adults $16 at the gate, $12 by advance purchase at National City Bank locations and Kroger stores; children 3-12 $3. Tickets are good for any one day of the show. (An evening gala opens the show on April 19; tickets $150.)
Krohn Conservatory, Cincinnati
People who work in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Ruthann Spears knows this maxim better than anybody.
As general manager of Cincinnati's Krohn Conservatory, Spears presides over an empire of glass and tropical beauty that she identifies as "one of the last free attractions in the city.
"When people have visitors from out of town, Krohn is one of the Cincinnati icons that native Cincinnatians show off," remarks Spears. "It's a place to escape and to refresh and recharge the soul."
Indeed, enter the conservatory's front door and you are transported to no less than a tropical jungle jammed with hibiscus, palms and fragrant flowers. A rushing waterfall anchors the jungle display, which winds around the central portion of the facility.
The adjoining Orchid House showcases more than 25,000 lush species in an ever-changing display, while the Desert House displays cacti. There's even a bonsai collection on site.
Operated by the Cincinnati Park Board, the Krohn (pronounced "Crone") is a historical as well as horticultural landmark. The Art Deco structure, built in 1933, is named after a former city park commissioner, Irwin M. Krohn.
The Krohn's 2005 Butterfly Show, featuring more than 10,000 butterflies, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The show, which begins May 7 and flutters through June 19, is the largest ever.
This year's theme is "10 Years With Flying Colors," with the conservatory decked out in festive "south of the border" dÃ©cor as a nod to all the additional exotic species from Central and South America that are visiting town. An accompanying floral show includes such colorfully titled plants as Snapdragon Tequila Surprise, Marigold LaBamba and Dahlia Diablo.
Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Dr., in Eden Park, Cincinnati, 513/421-5707. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission but a donation is requested. Beginning May 7, Butterfly Show admission is $6, seniors $5, children ages 5-17 $4, ages 4 and under free. A $10 commemorative pin allows you unlimited entry. Moms get in free on Mother's Day, dads the same on Father's Day.
Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus
Imagine journeying to the deserts of Africa and Australia, followed by a trip to the Himalayan Mountains and the South Pacific.
You don't need a plane ticket or passport for this whirlwind world tour, just a spare afternoon to spend at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus.
More than 10,000 plants - ranging from flowering plumerias found in the Hawaiian Islands; to michelia champaca from the Himalayas, used to make Joy, the world's most expensive perfume; to 40 orchids grown in the Rain Forest, where the weather is always 80 degrees and balmy - can be found in this glass garden, which opened in 1895 and was modeled after the Victorian Glass Palace at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
"Because we're indoors, the conservatory is a wonderful place for people who live in northern climes to find tropical plants and other species they would not have a chance to see otherwise," says Franklin Park Conservatory executive director Paul Redman.
Indeed, the atmosphere here is always exotic since 13 plant societies make their home at the conservatory and host such seasonal fetes as the upcoming Central Ohio Cacti and Succulent Society Show and Sale May 21 and 22. (Other upcoming shows include the Central Ohio Daffodil Society Show April 23 and 24 and the Columbus Iris Society Show May 14 and 15.)
More than 1,000 butterflies are taking flight each week through September 5 at the 11th-annual Blooms and Butterflies exhibit. Winged creatures from as far away as Tanzania and El Salvador flit to and fro throughout the conservatory's Pacific Island Water Garden, amid pentas and lantanas, which visitors can successfully grow to attract butterflies in their own back yards.
As spring arrives, the conservatory's bulb gardens come to life with the more than 10,000 tulips and 20,000 daffodils that have been planted throughout the 88 acres surrounding the facility.
Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 East Broad St., Columbus, 614/645-TREE. www.fpconservatory.org. Tues.-Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission $6.50, students and seniors $5, children ages 2-12 $3.50.