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Gardenview - A Lifetime Labor of Love

A visit to Gardenview Horticultural Park in Strongsville is an experience of seeing the fruition of a life's work by Henry A. Ross, who is the Founder and Director of the Park.  


Mr. Ross had a vision as a young man to create an "oasis of beauty".  In 1949, when Mr. Ross was in his early 20's he purchased the 16 acre parcel of land which he figured was always going to be in the country, but which today, to his disappointment,  is in the middle of thriving and growing Strongsville.   Since he purchased the land in the winter when it was covered with snow he did not realize until spring came that what he actually purchased was acres of swampy blue and yellow clay, overgrown with blackberry brambles and weeds.  The transformation of the land from then till now has taken a lifetime of hard work, dedication and determination to fulfill the dream of providing enjoyment to visitors, to demonstrate the art of English Cottage Gardening, of traditional perennial borders, and to give an opportunity to those wishing to do so, to adapt these ideas and planting combinations to their own gardens.


Mr. Ross developed and maintained the gardens by himself from the beginning to 1994.  He brought in hundreds and hundreds of truckloads of soil to cover the grounds with a four feet deep level of good dirt to create the base in which to grow the plants.  Now, at 86 years old, he still works the gardens everyday with the assistance of his only helper, Mark, a volunteer.  Gardenview is the only facility of its kind in this country.


Gardenview has all kinds of extremely choice, rare and uncommon plants from all over the world that Mr. Ross has obtained throughout the years.  There are various gardens of different shapes and sizes fitting together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into one large picture 6 acres in size.  There are many unusual trees including hundreds of varieties of flowering crab-apples. The water lilies were in full bloom in magnificent colors, with a few yellow ones popping their heads.  


Gardenview is not tax supported in any way so any donations that are made are used for the ongoing maintenance of the gardens of which much is needed.  These gardens have truly been a labor of love, the commitment of one man who has spent his lifetime to fulfill his dream of creating a place of beauty and enjoyment for others.


Cultural Gardens are Rare Treasure

On May 7, the Westlake Garden Club sponsored a bus tour of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.  Forty-five attendees enjoyed a wonderfully planned day and Mother Nature contributed sunshine and warm weather.  Below is an excerpt from an article that Regina McCarthy wrote for the Westlake Bay Village Observer. 


Located in Rockefeller Park, a 254-acre expanse of land John D. Rockefeller donated to the city in 1896, the first garden was created in 1916 as a tribute to William Shakespeare.  Ten years later, the Hebrew Garden became the first “culture” garden and the Shakespeare Garden was renamed the British Garden.  Following the Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided funding for 13 new gardens.

Currently there are 29 established gardens, with more in the planning stages.  Each garden displays its ethnic culture in its own way.  Some use interpretations of architecture and garden design principles from that country, while others contain statues, busts and plaques honoring that country’s poets, composers, philosophers, writers and artists.

Of particular interest was what appeared to be a relatively unremarkable slope of grass and trees; but we learned the soil underneath was brought to Cleveland from 40 separate countries and mixed together to symbolize a mutual understanding across cultures.  Another was column shaft from the Roman Forum topped with a bust of the poet Virgil in the Italian Garden.

Following lunch in Little Italy, we visited the historic Rockefeller Greenhouse, established in 1905, situated on four acres of land at the park’s northeast corner.  Tulips and irises were blooming outside, with ferns and exotic plants inside.  Rockefeller Park includes two separate entries on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: one for its architecturally historic bridges, and one for its Cultural Gardens.  I recommend taking the time to visit the only gardens of its kind in the world.

Westlake Garden Club Plants a Tree for Arbor Day

Members of the garden club, Mayor Clough and City Hall officials were present on Friday, April 26 at Founders' Walk at Clague Park for the planting of a tree to celebrate Arbor Day. The garden club has been involved in helping Westlake maintain the honor of being a Tree City for over 20 years. This year a concolor fir was planted on the north side of the Founders' Walk to mirror the one planted on the south side last year. Kathy Molner once again presided over the ceremony with Mayor Clough. The garden club thanks Cahoon Nursery for once again donating the tree. Mother Nature cooperated by providing a sunny, mild day for the ceremony. Mayor Clough presented a proclamation to Kathy proclaiming the day as Arbor Day 2013 in Westlake. See the Photo Gallery for pictures of the tree planting.


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