Monday, April 26, 2010

GWA Region III Meeting in Cincinnati

I've put off blogging about my two-day trip to Cincinnati last week for the GWA Region III Meeting and Cincinnati Flower Show, because I hardly know where to start to recount all the fun Mom and I had.  Not kidding either.  It almost reminded me of the time that I went on our older daughter's 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C.  Not a wasted moment!

The meeting was held at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which was an excellent choice of venues.  After visiting the Toledo Zoo a few weeks ago with my Master Gardener class, and now this one, I'm beginning to think that zoos are a well-kept secret when it comes to horticulture.

We had a pizza and salad lunch to start out, and I spent most of my time renewing friendships with those I'd met before (Carol of May Dreams Gardens and Carolee of Carolee's Herb Farm), meeting friends I'd made on Twitter and Facebook (Patty Craft from Horticulture Magazine, Maria Zampini from Lake County Nursery, and Stacy Walters from The Good Life With Stacy), and chatting with all the other wonderful people that were in attendance.

After we got our tummies full, we embarked on a short tour of some of the zoo's horticulture facilities, namely the CREW (Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife) building, where research takes place. It is a state-of-the-art facility devoted to the preservation of endangered animals and plants.

One of the goals of the center is to propagate and reintroduce endangered species so as to preserve them and increase their population in the wild. One of the plants they are actively working on is the Northern Wild Monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense), growing near Akron, Ohio.


The zoo has a large rain garden which contains a number of native plant species.

 Rain garden

As we walked the zoo grounds, only occasionally were we reminded that we were in a zoo, since we were so focused on the horticultural treasures here. Though we didn't get to see the thousands of tulips in all their glory, due to the early spring, there were enough blooming that the display was still impressive.

Tulipa 'Monsella'

After the short zoo tour, we drove to Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, where we took a short walking tour. In addition to many famous people being interred here, it is home to 21 state champion trees and 2 national champion trees.

State Champion Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani)

 Cornus florida 'Spring Grove'

Look at the size of its blooms!

We returned to the zoo for dinner, where we were privileged to hear two speakers: Brian Jorg, who spoke to us about spring wildflowers (a favorite topic of mine!) and Steve Foltz from, which is a database of the location of specific plants, including trees.  On this website, you can see photos as well as find the location of the actual plant, as the GPS coordinates are included in the listing.

The meal was wonderful and the chocolate lava cake dessert really hit the spot. But the pièce de résistance (for me, anyway) was when the lovely Patty Craft drew names for the gifts provided by the sponsors.  There were t-shirts, planter boxes, color wheels, and two gift certificates for plant samples from Proven Winners for next spring, among other things.

Guess whose name was drawn for one of the Proven Winners certificates?

The garden writers were also gifted with wonderful swag bags containing books from Timber Press, plants and idea books from Proven Winners, plants from Lake County Selections, gloves from Womans' Work, a certificate for plant samples from Blooms of Bressingham, seeds from Natorp's (a local independent garden center), a nylon bag, hat and magazines from Horticulture Magazine, and many informational tidbits.

I'll be blogging about the second day of the meeting, too. Yes! There's more! The Cincinnati Nature Center, Bill Lee's Garden, Beth Karp's garden, and of course, the Cincinnati Flower Show. Stay tuned!

Thank you to those who made all of this possible - the sponsors, the GWA, the Cincinnati Zoo, Spring Grove Cemetery, and the Cincinnati Flower Show. I hope I didn't miss anyone!

More photos from Day I of the GWA Region III Meeting


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Kylee, sounds like fun. I enjoyed the Region III regional meeting in 2008 (or was it 2007?). Were Nancy Szerlag or Jeff Ball from the Detroit News there?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

No wonder you were having trouble knowing where to begin to tell us about this trip. What wonders you saw. Fun fun fun.

Carol Michel said...

Oh, yes, fun times indeed! I laughed when someone asked if we saw any animals at the zoo. What, there were animals at the zoo?

All I saw were plants, flowers and more plants. And oh yeah, some peacocks, two monkeys and three giraffes. But it was mostly about the plants. It always is, isn't it?

Coach Stacy said...

Kylee, great post and gorgeous photos highlighting an amazing day with wonderful new friends!

Funny, I think I identified more plants than I could some of the animals! :)

Victoria Williams said...

I noticed when we visited Columbus Ohio a few (more than a few) years ago how gorgeous the garden was at their zoo. Great idea. Wish Boise was better at that. Maybe someday we will be.

Your trip looked great!

Kylee Baumle said...

Monica ~ I don't recall those names. There were 33 in attendance and I only heard the full names of everyone once.

Lisa ~ And there's more to come!

Carol ~ I think I saw an elephant! I missed the giraffes and monkeys! It's ALWAYS about the plants.

Stacy ~ So great to meet you!

Kim and Victoria ~ I've not yet visited the Columbus Zoo. I think I need to!

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