This is an informal blooming journal from Director of Horticulture Mike Ecker. For specific information on the location mentioned below, please call 740.323.2355 or email us at

I love spring! The Japanese Garden in particular embodies my love of nature and horticulture. The garden is ablaze with various colors of green, red, pink with a freshness only found this time of year. The reflections in the pond during early hours is outstanding and mosses along path are probably at their peak.JPG

Speaking of peak, crab apples are just a couple days away from theirs. The collection is beautiful and with warmer temperature this PM smell should be very noticeable. Dawes Lake is resplendent with mature crabs making their show. And, as predicted, ‘Louisa’ is simply a mound of pink! Of all things – Ottawa forsythia is still in full bloom just north of the lake. Others are gone.

Orchard between History Complex and Visitors Center is also colorful as are two David crab apples that form an arch over trail from Center Point. It’s unfortunate they are susceptible to bacterium that causes fireblight because branches that die seem only those forming arch.

A trip through North End will have one enjoying very nice pink dogwoods around the Dawes Memorial, along with double-flowering kerria called ‘Geisha’. The sugar maples continue their covering of light green flowers and along with them have joined the oaks. Never think of oak as being an ornamental flowering tree but certainly covered this year. The variegated English oak just behind the stone gates is very attractive – even before white and green variegated leaves emerge.

Head to the overlook northwest of the Visitors Center and location of sun dial for a very nice view of pink, white and red crab apples in the foreground of a glacial river bed.

A few outstanding flowering plants by color are – pinks: Rhododendron ‘Pana’ & ‘Olga Mezitt’, the royal azalea (Rhododendron schlippenbachii), Hally Jolivette and Kwanzan Japanese flowering cherries; yellow: Magnolia ‘Maxine Merrill’; white: flowering dogwood (especially in the flowering shrub collection where they have essentially replaced the beautiful flowering of serviceberry); pinkish lavender of redbud where weeping selection Lavender Twist and variegated selection ‘Silver Cloud’ steal the show.

trees on hillI mentioned smell earlier – lilac shrubs continue their flowering march and their fragrance will soon be joined by that of some of the early viburnum all located near each other in the flowering shrub collection.

Another favorite fragrance of mine each year is yellow flowers of buffalo currant, Ribes odoratum, located along the path from Center Point along with honey scented Fothergilla. Like a ritual, some plants just must be smelled each year.