COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) campus sits a hidden gem of color and beauty splashed across landscapes of horticulture design.
Ohio State University Chadwick Arboretum is home to one of the most varied collections of flora in the state, made up of woody plants, tropical plants, wildflowers, native Ohio plants, perennials and more than 400 cultivars of newly planted annuals.
And the public is invited to enjoy what the 60-acre arboretum offers at the first Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens Open House, being held July 24 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The free event is being sponsored by Ohio State's Department of Horticulture and Crop Science and Chadwick Arboretum staff and volunteers.
"The Open House is designed simply to bring people to our gardens. It's an opportunity for us to showcase the beauty we have here," said Mary Maloney, Chadwick Arboretum education and volunteer coordinator. "And whether people are gardeners or they just love flowers, this is a great place to visit."
Participants of the event have the opportunity to attend hourly tours or stroll at their leisure while enjoying bluegrass music. Staff from C. Wayne Ellett Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic will be on-hand to share displays and diagnose diseased plant material. In addition, the Central Ohio Hosta Society will host a plant auction with proceeds going to $500 scholarships for future horticulture students.
Chadwick Arboretum consists of three main areas: Learning Gardens, Lane Avenue Gardens and Arboretum North. The Open House will mainly feature collections from the Learning Gardens, an area of perennials, annuals, wildflowers, pansies and rare bulb and dwarf conifers that are found mainly on the CFAES grounds surrounding Howlett Hall.
"The Learning Gardens are designed mainly for teaching and learning, but they can also provide visitors a one-stop place for ideas of what they can add to their garden for diversity," said Kathy Burkholder, Learning Gardens horticulturist. "There is even an area of container plants, themed to highlight plants that attract pollinating insects."
Visitors to the Learning Gardens will be introduced to the new Murphy Family Annual and Pansy Trials. Situated in a lot on the corners of Woody Hayes Drive and Fyffe Road, the trials consist of over 400 cultivars of annuals from 14 plant companies.
Claudio Pasian, an OSU Extension horticulturist and trials leader, said that the annuals trials are designed to provide cultivars suitable for central Ohio that not only commercial producers would benefit from, but that home gardeners would enjoy.
"The trials are for everybody. The information is useful to companies producing new cultivars because it gives them an idea of how plant material performs in our area. Growers benefit from these results because it allows them to choose high-performing cultivars," said Pasian. "Finally, these results help customers to buy the cultivars that they like."
The plants are evaluated three times during the summer and fall months for such performances as mortality rate, overall growth, number and quality of flowers and resistance to insects and diseases. Results of the trials are available by logging on to http://floriculture.osu.edu.
For more information regarding the Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens Open House, log on to http://chadwickarboretum.osu.edu, or contact Mary Maloney at (614) 688-3479.