While it is still the height of summer, touring a professionally staffed arboretum and/or botanical garden this time of year can help put new energy into the process of taking care of the back yard, offers the opportunity to share concerns about specific plants with professionals and maybe even plant the seed of an idea or two for additions to the garden next year.
There are several arboreta and botanical gardens within easy driving distance of the Sandusky area and they make for easy day trips. There are many further afield in other parts of the state that might warrant an overnight trip. And, for those going greater distances for a summer vacation it is easy enough to find them close to those destinations.
Some day-trip recommendations include Secrest Arboretum on The Ohio State University Wooster campus, Holden Arboretum in Kirkland (east of Cleveland), the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in Elmore, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Kingwood Center in Mansfield, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, R.A. Stranahan Arboretum at the University of Toledo and the Toledo Botanical Garden in Toledo. For people with not only a few hours to spare consider visiting the James H. McBride Arboretum at the Firelands College campus of Bowling Green State University.
In the broadest sense a botanical garden are professionally maintained gardens dedicated to collecting, cultivating and displaying a wide range of plants. While scientific research is a large part of many of these institutions, they also provide visitor services including tours, educational displays, instructional classes and oftentimes special events. (An arboretum is a botanical garden.)
The McBride Arboretum is a 50-acre complex featuring formal and ornamental gardens. There are 300 species of trees. Other features include a butterfly and hummingbird garden, winter garden, a labyrinth for meditation and a lake. It was established in 1984, was named after the first dean of the Firelands campus and is managed by Erie MetroParks.
The Schoepfle Garden encompasses 70 acres of botanical gardens and natural woodland. It is bordered by the Vermilion River. The complex is part of the Lorain County Metro Parks system.
The Seacrest Arboretum was established in 1908. It is a learning and research center, while being an inviting escape for those wishing to tour a spectacular collection of plants in a beautiful setting.
The Holden Arboretum is one of the largest arboreta and botanical gardens in the United States. It covers 3,600 acres and was started in 1931. More than 120,000 plants, it is recognized for its collection of trees and shrubs in settings that include ground covers and perennials.
Each has its own personality and features exceptional displays of trees, shrubs and plants. Creators of these gardens have masterfully combined the task of botanical research with an eye to visitor friendly experiences.