Cleveland Botanical Garden
This is a walker’s self-guided tour through the Gardens inside-and-out that will help us to discover the magic of local Nature in August. Every month is a new top-ten list!
- AUTUMN ANENOMES (Anemone hupahensis).
Children’s, Restorative & Japanese Gardens. “Anenome” derives from the Greek anemos for “wind.” And that’s apt because these yardstick-tall flowers borne on wiry stems gracefully dance into the slightest wind. And if you know them as “Japanese anemones” they are in truth from Hupeh province in China but naturalized and cherished in Japan.
- MEDUSA SCULPTURE.
Woodland Garden. Look at those magnificent lips and that monumental nose. But don’t look into those empty eyes or they’ll turn you to stone, according to Greek mythology. Crafted right here in Cleveland from cement conglomerate by William McVey, it originally hung on the Medusa Cement Company HQ at Monticello and Lee. It’s one of over a dozen significant garden sculptures at the Garden.
- COCKSCOMB (Celosia argentea var. cristata).
Herb Garden. Seed-grown from last year’s flowers makes every flower unique. There are spicate (spiky) forms, plumose (cockscomb-y) forms, and every imaginable atwixt. And they’re all fuchsia except for this lone white cockscomb. What? White recessive but uncommon in the population’s gene pool? Oh, père Mendel, how did you do that–a genius true among the pea rows.
- ORNAMENTAL GRASSES.
Gateway & Children’s Gardens. It’s the perfect season for the grasses: their leaves are still bright and full of summer even as their seed heads are growing heavy and burnishing in the September sun. Pictured is lyme grass Elymus arenarius ‘Blue Dune’ but don’t miss the man-eating mondo grass in our Children’s Garden.
- COURTYARD GARDEN.
Just off the Herb Garden. Here’s a little pocket garden that I bet many of us miss. Its stucco and sandstone walls discourage the city’s shout, hide the whole world but for the blue sky, and transform this garden into a cozy cubby. Come on in–you’re welcome guests–and consider the garden in the nut-shell.
- TALL TULIP (Liriodendron tulipifera).
Woodland Garden. This immense tree is nearly two centuries old. Like the big red oak we met a few months ago, its straight, clear trunk, informs us it’s a remnant from the 1800s when University Circle—and much of the Western Reserve—was still forest. Please stand underneath this tulip and marvel at its awesome presence.
- GOLDENROD & IRONWEED.
Children’s Garden. Here are our two quintessential autumnal Ohio wildflowers. Although they aren’t the tamest of garden guests, at the back of a sunny pollinator plot they are worth inviting to the party. There are also some sport-jacket and khakis cultivars that won’t frighten your more civilized garden guests.
- ROSE HIPS. Herb Garden.
“Yes” to roses in June—but to rose hips in September? Hips are the resultant fruits from rose flowers, and evince their own myriad fascinations. The antique roses (Rosa ‘Louise Odier’ shown) in this garden are now showing hips as varied as, say, apple or citrus varieties. Say “yes, definitely!”
- HERBS, HERBS, HERBS.
Herb Garden. September in the Herb Garden is the season of maturation and harvest and the ideal time to visit this immaculate, edible Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme and scads more common and rare are standing in the sun just waiting to ennoble that first fragrant ragoùt against October’s chill.
- * Costa Rica Biome.
Our coffee bush (Coffea Arabica) bloomed mid-summer and now sports little green berries (shown). By October one those berries will be red, ripe “beans.” Coffee is a big story worth getting to know beyond that morning cuppa. Visit our bush for inspiration; for edification, try “Devil’s Brew” or “Coffee Justice.”