In the time we don’t spend gardening or plant shopping, we visit botanical gardens. We basically live and breath plants. Below are some of the gardens we’ve visited and some thoughts about each. This post will be picture heavy and will likely be broken up into a few parts (possibly ongoing if we can visit a few more).
My biggest botanical garden pet peeve is a lack of labeling and every garden has this flaw to some extent (hence why I’m claiming it here). I’m sure it is time consuming and maybe even costly to label everything, but it is difficult to locate and purchase a plant if it is not labeled. Surely there are re-seeders that migrate and plants that are repeated throughout a garden, but somewhere on one of those plants should be a label. What irks me even more is a label like ‘Hosta’ which is incredibly vague given the thousands of varieties. As an unfortunate result, many of the plants listed here do not have labels (which is a combination of the garden’s lack of labels or my lack of logging them at the time). I will include some best guess names where appropriate.
Cleveland Botanical Gardens (CBG)
I have been to the CBG a number of times in winter, spring, and summer. The pros: they have an indoor garden with butterflies and birds that can be enjoyed year-round. They have plenty of events including an annual orchid show and sale. They have a nice variety of garden types such as culinary, herb, Japanese, rain, and shade gardens. Finally, they have a nice selection of hosta. The cons: The entrance fee is a bit pricey, but worth it if you are visiting once (use a reciprocal garden membership if you are a garden club member). There could be more variety to plants (probably could be said of every garden). Parking can be a hassle in the area depending on the time. Also, their rose display is limited. As an FYI, they are closed on Mondays.
I should mention that there is both an arid environment and a tropical environment at the CBG. I seem to be lacking pictures of the arid environment.
Rockefeller Park Greenhouse (RPG)
While you are in Cleveland visiting the CBG, you should always make a stop at RPG. It is just down the street and has the very affordable entry price of free. I never seem to make it in the spring, but I believe they have a bulb display (that could be completely untrue though). The pros: Free admittance and free, convenient parking. Has a classic conservatory style (maybe that is a con to some?). The cons: Small displays and rather limited plant varieties (those that they have are quite well-established though).
This conservatory usually smells amazing as there are a number of citrus trees and jasmine plants in bloom. There are a number of sections including a tropical, arid, seasonal, and fern room.
Franklin Park Conservatory (FPC)
I have only visited this botanical garden once and it was a lovely surprise. We visited in winter so I do not have any sense of its outdoor gardens, but the indoor selection was impressive. The pros: There was a lot of artwork that you could enjoy in addition to the plants. Nice diversity of displays: they have an arid, tropical, and temperate plant display indoors. There was an interactive kid’s room when we went which helped occupy the toddler (who was disappointed that an orchid show is not on TV). The cons: Also a bit pricey, but I thought it was worthwhile (again, use a garden membership). I apologize for the poor pictures, we forgot our fancy camera.
I will leave you with these three gardens for now; happy exploring!