The Arboretum’s Woodland Garden is home to many native plants like pawpaws and spicebush.  In late April and early May, you may even catch a glimpse of plants including foamflower, Virginia bluebells, wild geranium, and large-flower trillium. Throughout the season, wildflowers like these blanket the area, making it a sight to see.

ramps woodland gardenAdding to the area’s diversity, the floor of the Woodland Garden is covered with an impressive display of ramps (Allium tricoccum), also known as wild leeks.  In fact, The Arboretum’s ramp collection is one of the most impressive public displays of woodland ramps in Licking County.  Visible by their broad green leaves, this early spring vegetable is a favorite among foodies and chefs who value their onion-garlic flavor, yet they are incredibly scarce in the culinary world due to their slow growth and short season.  A testament to their popularity, many Appalachian Mountain communities actually hold annual festivals celebrating these plants.  This year, The Dawes Arboretum is honoring its ramp crop with two special events.

The Arboretum is hosting a Ramp Celebration on April 6 at 10am.  Learn the natural history, medicinal properties and unique qualities of this legendary wild onion species.  Participants will take a guided tour through the Woodland Garden and have the opportunity to dig up to one pound of ramps for transplanting in home gardens.

rampsRamps will also be the star of the Plant Sale Preview (PSP) on May 19, the day before our annual Spring Plant Sale and Garden Fair. Each year, Arboretum members at the Buckeye level and higher are invited to enjoy refreshments and do some early-bird shopping the night before our Spring Plant Sale.  This year’s PSP refreshments will feature recipes that use ramps harvested at The Arboretum along with copies of the recipes for participants to take home.  A limited number of ramps will be sold during PSP and Plant Sale.  Contact our Development Department at 740.323.2355 if you would like to join or upgrade your membership to be invited to PSP.

If you’re fascinated by ramps, you’ll also want to make plans to attend our upcoming program, Dining at Dawes: Foraging for Wild Edibles on April 1 from 12:30pm – 2:30pm.  Our Landscape Technician will lead participants in a presentation about wild edibles, ramps and other plants, that are common around central Ohio in the spring.  Learn how to forage for wild edibles during a 1.5 hour hike throughout The Arboretum identifying, collecting and tasting nature’s garden. Participants will want to bring a camera and note-taking material.

PLEASE NOTE: Foraging is prohibited at The Dawes Arboretum unless part of an Arboretum sanctioned program.

Use our online events calendar to register for these programs and learn about other interesting and educational events coming up this spring at The Dawes Arboretum.