Springtime! Nature awakens from her winter nap to display lovely shades of green, blossoming trees, and springtime flowers. It’s the perfect time for a walk outside to soak up the sun while enjoying the Spring Show.
One place perfect for this adventure is Secrest Arboretum located on the campus of Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. The arboretum was established in 1909 by Edmund Secrest, the first state forester in Ohio and director of the Experiment Station from 1938-1948. Although it is a research arboretum over 10,000 people visit in annually.
This arboretum was designed with adults and children in mind. While adults will enjoy the trees and plants, children have been given play areas in the midst of the natural world.
Fortress at the Hogs-back is a place for kids of all ages. Kids enjoy climbing over the rocks, walking through cement storm drain pipes, and best of all, going down the huge slide in the side of a hill. That slide is even big enough for adults to enjoy!
Training programs and evaluation of new plants are provided to Ohio Nursery, landscaping organizations, and Master Gardeners. But the grounds are a beautiful and peaceful place for a walk any season of the year.
Stop at the Orientation Center where outside there’s a map of the grounds showing the different trails to take and information about the arboretum. This 110 acre facility is a living laboratory for research, teaching and learning. There are over 2,500 varieties, species, and cultivars of plants to learn about.
Visit their new research project, a Coneflower (Echinacea) Garden with over 100 varieties of coneflowers. There are colors from white and pink to red and yellow. Here they are determining the best coneflowers to grow in our area.
Flowers appear everywhere. There are 15 different theme gardens so you will be sure to find something you enjoy. There’s Gayle’s Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, Ohio’s Native Garden, and Million Flower Pathway to give you an idea of what is available. The Garden of Roses of Legend and Romance might become a favorite.
The main reason the Native Garden is so important is that it provides food for our native butterflies, birds, bees, and all wildlife. They have done an outstanding job of labeling the plants and trees so you can have information for perhaps a new plant for your garden.
John Streeter Garden Amphitheater is a great place for weddings, concerts, and theater productions. The sandstone steps make a perfect entrance for the bride while guests can sit on the sandstone seats. Several musical events have been scheduled for this summer. Check their website at www.secrest.osu.edu for more information.
Along the way you will find giant frogs, tortoises, and pieces of metal artwork in the form of butterflies, birds, and flowers. There’s also a pavilion for picnics, and benches throughout for visitors to rest or just enjoy the scenery and the scent of the flowers.
Friends of the Secrest Arboretum are responsible for funding, volunteering, keeping the grounds looking wonderful, and scheduling educational and musical events. They have played an important role in developing Secrest into a national and international treasure.
The arboretum is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year. Easiest access is to place 2122 Williams Road, Wooster in your GPS, then follow the signs that lead to the arboretum.
Stroll their paved walks through forests and meadows to discover what plants would be best for your home. It’ s a great place for a family outing any season of the year!