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Visit Ohio's Beautiful Public Gardens

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Ilona has gardened actively for most of her life and has been a writer and webmaster online since 1998. Homeschooled all 10 of her children.

Dawes Arboretum in Autumn | Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Dawes Arboretum in Autumn | Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Finding The Gardens Of Ohio

I thought that people visiting or new to Ohio might like a gardener's recommendations of the sights to see. It also occurred to me that I might like to discover some new ones and record the experience.

I garden and have lived most of my life in Ohio- because I like it! One of the things I love to do is visit other peoples gardens and public ones for inspiration and just plain enjoyment.

The garden in the photo is of the Children's garden section of Inniswood Metro Park, also known as the Sister's Garden. it is a garden our family has visited many times. Looking like an Ohio farmhouse and orchard, it holds a child's discovery area, including a water play area. There are many such delightful discoveries for garden lovers of all ages in Ohio. If going on vacation to Ohio, be sure to see some of the available gardens near your destination. Make your travel plans more fun!

Ohio In Autumn

See the video to view Stan Hywet's autumn beauty. Admittedly, tree foliage color steals the show, and our flowers play a background role at that time. Strong showings are made by purple and pink asters, golden and various colored chrysanthemums, but if you pay close attention you will find there are many others whether the wild look of goldenrods or the bright blues of leadwort. My favorite pastime in autumn Ohio is to walk among the trees in flaming colors of fall.

Discover more about a garden you want to visit- see if they have a travel guide available.

Ohio Redevelopment Projects - ODSA Follow Akron-Stan Hywet Hall Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Ohio Redevelopment Projects - ODSA Follow Akron-Stan Hywet Hall Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Best Ohio Gardens

Don't Miss These Public Gardens and Arboretums

Stan Hywet-The Seiberling mansion and its grounds.

If you go to Akron, Ohio don't miss this destination. It is closed during the winter months of January to March, but reopens in April. The grounds are well kept and full of interesting gardens of several types. Warren Manning designed the gardens, and Ellen Biddle Shipman redesigned the English garden. Warren Manning advocated "informal and naturalistic "wild garden" approach" (1) in much the same way as William Robinson, famous for changing English gardening tastes to this style from the stiff Victorian bedding and decorative garden fashions. Ellen Biddle Shipman was once called the "Dean of American Women Landscape Architects".

Besides the sunken garden in the English style, there is a Japanese garden, a Rhododendron walk, and a famous Birch allee; the wildflower "Dell" and the Lagoon are other features. This is one of the few grand residences and gardens in our state that mimic the great gardens of England. Many wedding photos take place here for good reason. I think two of my favorite features has always been the birch walk and the Japanese garden, which winds down the hillside.

Stan Hywet is the magnificent house and gardens that F. A. Seiberling built in Akron, Ohio. The tours through the home highlight important features and fill in details with anecdotes of the family and this wonderful place in its heydey.

If you can travel to Stan Hywet, you will seef a beautiful property and Tudor home built in the last century by the Goodyear magnate.

(1) Warren H Manning

Stan Hywet official site

Dawes Arboretum - the legacy of the Dawes family

A famous Ohio family (Beman Gates Dawes, brother of Charles Dawes who was the 30th Vice President of the United States) created this arboretum with gardens around his historical home. Perennial gardens, a Japanese garden, Rhododendron dell, along with the many examples of trees and shrubs, fill the 1,800 acres of the arboretum. It is a short drive from Columbus, located about 20 miles east in Newark, Ohio.

I enjoy the perennial gardens the best, situated down a hillside from the visitor center, followed by the fern garden, and the magnificent Japanese garden. In fact, Dawes is a great place for the Japanophile. Besides the large Japanese garden with teahouse, there are fine bonsai on display in their own garden connected to the visitor center.

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Dawes Arboretum official site

Franklin Park Conservatory -adjacent to the suburb of Bexley

Rain or shine, gardener or not, Franklin Park Conservatory is fun to visit. Inside are fine displays of climate zones, sometimes with special art exhibitions, sometimes with a live butterfly event (usually beginning in March and running through the summer months.) Outside are botanical gardens, but it is indoors where the real show resides. Walking from desert climes through tropical rainforests is something few can do in a daytrip, but you will find that here. Everyone seems to love the live butterfly event, where the tropical plants vie with attention that clouds of exotic, brightly colored, and friendly butterflies attract as they float through the rainforest enclosure.

Franklin Park official site

Kingwood Center Gardens - a former estate garden

Gorgeous gardens, especially in spring. The sunken garden, an orangery, garden flower collections of peonies,roses,daylilies and iris mean there is quite a show in early to mid summer, too. The beautiful season displays are accented by fountains and many like to enjoy a picnic on the grounds. Greenhouses full of interesting plants and a beautiful herb garden are not to be missed. Forty seven acres that many visitors feel are like a storybook come alive. Only a parking fee is charged.

The house is open and costs a small fee to enter, and there are events throughout the year. Located in Mansfield, closed in January and February, it is an easy distance from Columbus, Akron, Cleveland and Malabar Farm State Park is not far.

Kingwood Center Gardens

Whetstone Park of Roses- Columbus promises a rose garden

Within the city, right off High Street, is a lovely park; inside the park is a grand rose garden filled with roses, with a gazebo, with a perennial garden, and an herb garden as well. The height of rose season in June is the best time to visit, but with the wooded surroundings and the other gardens, it is a peaceful and beautiful any time of year. This is a favorite place for weddings and you might see one being celebrated here.And what is more romantic than thousands of roses blooming and filling the air with fragrance? An old fashioned rose garden is at the highest point of the garden from which to view the main axis of a formally laid out garden plan, or you can climb to the top of a wrought iron viewing platform. It is a gem of a garden and isn't to be missed, whether it is high season for roses or not. There are private gardens to see which surround the park and offer intriguing glimpses through their gates as one tours the garden and follows the avenue back out into the bustling city. One of my Gardener's Top Ten favorite places to go in Columbus.


Take a Tour

Park of Roses .org

Whetstone Park of Roses

Heirloom Roses in June are part of what you would expect to see in this world class rose garden. There are hundreds of roses of all types blooming throughout the peak season of May through June. Concerts are held all through the summer month weekends.

Inniswood Metro Park- made by visionary sisters

Another in the top ten gardens to visit in Columbus, Ohio is this once private garden which was given to the metro parks system. It retains much of its personal feeling despite public walkways and the necessary changes a public park must make for the visits of so many people. From the home, which serves as a visitor center today, to the mini-train area right outside the door, to the further reaches of the park, there are many intimate places to discover with many garden ideas. I especially like the secret garden in an area of "old ruins". There are many types of exposures from sunny to shady which hold a great array of flowers and landscape plants.


Inniswood Garden - A Metro Park Garden

Inniswood rock garden

Inniswood rock garden

Inniswood Gardens Herb Garden


Cox Arboretum and Gardens - Dayton's Must See

James M. Cox, Jr. donated his family property for the arboretum which now has a Butterfly House, a tall grass prairie, a wetlands preserve, and many gardens within. The director of the arboretum hopes that people find a refuge and peaceful place here. It has a shrub garden with over 500 varieties of trees and shrubs, a children's maze, crab apple allee, herb garden, ornamental grass collection, and 3.5 miles of walking trails besides all the gardens.

Cox Arboretum official site

Ault Park- Cincinnati's Home of the Cincinnati Flower Show

The fourth largest park of Cincinnati plays host to the flower show, has flower gardens and considered to have a place on the "must-see in Cincinnati" list on the Cincinnati Enquirer. I really would like to see this garden after reading the blog. A Guide to Cincinnati's Ault Park, about the Ault gardens.

Ault Park official page.

Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati

Krohn Conservatory, a part of the Eden Park landscape, was built in 1930 in the Art Deco style. In similarity to the Franklin Park Conservatory it hosts a Butterfly Show and is available to rent for events. It holds special events including 5 annual flower shows. Open everyday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and extended hours for the winter holiday show. Call the visitor center at 513-352-4080 for information.

Krohn Conservatory site

Take Your Camera, Too

I always try to remember my camera when visiting public gardens. Besides recording memories, it saves the great ideas that such gardens provide. You think you will remember each idea and the experience, but time fades so many details that a photo captures so well.

A Canon camera is on my personal wish list- it takes wonderful pictures. The garden bloggers who take the finest photos use this brand of camera, so I hope to obtain one soon to improve the quality of my photos. I love that way it captures color and detail.

Cleveland's Botanical Garden- Take a Tour

Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland has a very fine children's garden within, the Hershey's Children's Garden. The Hershey Children's Garden at Cleveland Botanical Garden has been considered one of the best of the new public children's gardens that are being built throughout the country.

It is home to the Japanese Garden (Gan Ryuu Tei). Gan Ryuu Tei translates from Japanese to 'Dry Rock Stream', giving you the focus but holding the mystery of how beautiful this can be. There is also a Rose garden, an Herb garden, and a "Restorative" garden - which is what I would call a Serenity garden. Their site has photos of the beautiful displays, the events and more that you can find there.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland State University Cultural Gardens

Whether you are interested in the Italian cultural garden or the Armenian, the Hungarian ... or one of the others... there are beautiful landscaping, sculptures, ironwork, all with a celebration of a particular culture.

The Szekely Gate in the Cleveland


The Szekely Gate in the Cleveland

"Clara Lederer, in Their Paths are Peace, describes the principal plot on the upper level as "a rectangular reflecting pool and fountain are set in a pattern of low walls and geometric walks of brick, stone, and marble, and rich plantings of the growths best known in Hungary--hawthorn, yew, cotoneasters, and azaleas. Two linden trees, formal flower beds, and brick, stone, and marble walls and walks are the features of the lower garden. Two wing sections, formal arrangements of lawn, brick paths, and sculptured stone benches, adjoin the larger upper garden. In the section to the left of the entrance is a bas-relief of Franz Liszt." - The Hungarian Cultural Garden"

Toledo Botanical Garden

Toledo Botanical Garden has many features and helps neighborhoods to create community gardens. Among the interesting things to see are the Artist Village, small buildings that resemble cottages to showcase different artistic forms such as glassblowing. there is an English border, a collection of hostas, and shade, herb and perennial garden features.


Kingwood Center

5403 Elmer Drive

Toledo, Ohio 43615

(419) 936-2986

More About Kingwood Center

-visit the site for fabulous photos,detailed descriptions, and events.

In Mansfield, Ohio is the French Provincial house with gorgeous gardens that Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kelley King built. It is now a center for horticultural education. It is well known for a fine spring display with huge numbers of bulbs, so if you are able to visit in Spring, you will see one of the greatest features of this garden.

This is one of the most popular gardens in Ohio to see, with woodland, perennial, and special collections to enjoy. It is also available for weddings.

Kingwood Center Gardens

900 Park Avenue West,

Mansfield, Ohio, OH 44906


George Seurat's Painting In Topiary

Inniswood Metro Park Secret Garden



Like visiting a private garden because it used to be one, Inniswood is chock full of ideas for your own home garden, but groomed and planted so that it is an exciting place to visit and while away the day.

Two maiden sisters with complementary ideas for their garden bequeathed a natural reserve garden and very lovely gardens constructed in both informal and formal style.

Herb gardens, a rose garden, a child's garden, secret garden, with numerous features enough to fill a small book. One of my own favorite haunts in the Columbus area.

Features of Inniswood Gardens

  • Woodland Reserve
  • Perennial garden
  • Herb garden
  • Rockery
  • Children's garden
  • Rose garden

Dawes Arboretum - Make It A Daytrip

Dawes Arboretum

Dawes Arboretum

A visit to Dawes is an all day adventure. It is one of the best for different age groups, for different reasons. For children, there is a wonderful basement room in the visitor center with a big picture window viewing birds visiting the feeders, a real honey bee hive encased in glass, puzzles, books, exhibits, a great way to get children interested in nature.

For the elderly the entire arboretum is accessible through a driving tour, parking to inspect features of interest and taking a short walk. For everyone else there are lots of walking trails and interesting features. some of my favorites are the log cabin hidden in a wildflower-filled woods, the old graveyard, the mixed shrub and perennial display gardens. You mind discover your own favorite areas.

Located in Central Ohio, not far from Columbus.

Vicarious Visits in Ohio Gardens

Ohio Autumn Activities

Autumn in Stan Hywet, Late Summer in Inniswood, Ohio has many moods.

Even a topiary garden replicating the French Impressionist painting 'Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte' by Georges Seurat. You might be inspired to make a topiary garden yourself, after seeing it.