A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious
with a feeling of serenity and joy.
“The Secret Garden” describes this hidden-away place of relaxation in the midst of an older residential area of Zanesville. Mission Oaks Gardens has over seven acres to keep you in the arms of Mother Nature.
The setting acquired its name because the home had the appearance of a mission-house surrounded by oaks. Today that name acquires a double meaning as they definitely have a mission: to provide and protect a little piece of nature for all to enjoy.
Here you will find everything from waterfalls to conifer forests at no cost to you or your friends. Seven days a week from dawn until dusk, you are invited to relax surrounded by flowers, or explore these seven peaceful acres for free.
From springtime until fall, flowers of the season flow along the stone path…from tulips to mums. The porch makes a pleasant place to sit and enjoy the aroma of the fragrant blossoms.
Established in 1925, legend has it this charming mission style home was built by a local businessman for his mistress, a party dress designer during the roaring 20s. But for the last twenty-five years, the home has been owned by Albert “Bert” and Susan Hendley.
When Bert first saw the abandoned mansion in 1988, he told his wife, “You’ve got to be crazy. This place is a dump.” Now, Bert’s developed a masterpiece of beauty and he takes great pleasure in finding unique and rare plants for visitors to view.
The Perennial Garden surrounds the charming home. From early spring until fall, you’ll find something blooming from hyacinths and peonies to chrysanthemums and sunflowers. Relax in the gazebo being surrounded by the sight and scent of nature. New blossoms open every week.
After you have had a leisurely walk through the upper gardens, then it’s time to explore the rest of the acreage. Head down a steep flight of stairs, or enter the garden from the rear entrance, which is marked with stone pillars. The sight before you, right in the middle of Zanesville, will amaze you.
Once into the forested section of the garden, the paths go two separate directions. One path leads to the Woodland Garden, while the other descends to the Conifer Garden.
Paths meander throughout the wooded areas with surprises around every bend. While no overall plan was ever made for the gardens, unusual rare trees and flowers greet you at surprising places along the pathways.
The wooded section includes two small waterfalls, which flow over rocky hillsides into a small pond at one end, and a small stream on the other. At the small pond, elegant water lilies and lotuses bloom along the water’s edge. Comfortable wooden benches provide a great spot to relax while soaking up the ambiance of the scenic view.
Over 300 trees give plenty of shade to the home and wooded areas. This includes original white oaks as well as many unusual trees Bert has discovered in his travels. In addition there are nearly 200 conifers, making Mission Oaks acknowledged for having one of the most renowned conifer gardens in Ohio.
Mission Oaks provides the perfect place to avoid the maddening crowds, relax in meditation, take a walk with Mother Nature, or just run away from home for the day. Many find it the perfect place for wedding or prom pictures.
All this is kept beautiful by the Muskingum Valley Park Department with assistance of Mission Oaks Foundation staff and many volunteers. Be sure to stop in Zanesville at 1864 Euclid Avenue – not far from Maple Avenue – and visit this hidden gem…if you can find it!