Located just east of Columbus, The Dawes Arboretum was founded in 1929 by Beman and Bertie Dawes. The love of trees, history and nature inspired the now 1,800 acre arboretum which is explored by nearly 250,000 visitors a year. Over 12 miles of trails guide visitors through meadows, wetlands, woodlands, near the historic Daweswood House Museum, around a Japanese Garden and past nationally recognized plant collections. The traditional collections and display gardens are meticulously cared for and the over 15,000 accessioned plants are highly accessible to its visitors. The Arboretum is proud to have the Aesculus and Metasequoia member collections for the North American Plant Collections Consortium as well as participating in the multi-site Acer collection. Other diverse areas are the witch-hazel, holly and conifer collections, the 60-acre Dutch Fork Wetlands and the Woodland Garden. The Arboretum plays a leadership and collaborative role in the conservation of Ohio Valley flora including the propagation and cultivation of plants of wild known origin. Other research includes evaluation of native and nonnative plants, phenology, natural resource management and conservation agriculture.
Set within an 88 acre public park, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens houses plant collections from a variety of global climates representing the rainforest, Pacific island water gardens, the desert, and the Himalayan Mountains. Built in 1895 and housing more than 40 species of palms, the John F. Wolfe Palm House is illuminated each evening by the light installation of world-renowned artist James Turrell. Annual exhibitions include Blooms and Butterflies and holiday and orchid based exhibitions as well as rotating exhibitions, based in nature and art. A signature collection of Dale Chihuly glass artwork, purchased by community members for the Conservatory after an exhibition in 2004 is on long-term view. A working glassblowing Hot Shop is also on premises. In 2009, the four-acre ScottsMiracle-Gro Community Garden Campus opened as a resource for gardeners, educators and community groups, and has become a popular location for events. It features culinary and medicinal gardens, rose and fragrance gardens, a berry house, fruit espalier, community garden plots, a pollinator’s garden, an education pavilion with a demonstration kitchen, and a Live Fire Cooking Theater. The headquarters of the American Community Gardening Association is located in the restored park caretaker’s house along with a community gardening resource center.