Ohio: The Dawes Arboretum

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7770 Jacksontown Rd , Newark, OH 43056

The Dawes Arboretum was established in 1929 by Beman Dawes and his wife, Bertie. The idea for an arboretum came to Beman during his youth in Marietta, Ohio, where his father’s lumber business supported the family.

About 1917, Beman Dawes purchased 140 acres of the old Brumback farm in Licking Township. The farm, known as “Woodland,” had gently rolling hills and several acres of mature trees native to central Ohio. Beman felt that the farm was well situated; it was located practically in the center of the state with diversified soils and good climate for hardy trees.

The family renamed the farm “Daweswood” and the brick, half-century-old farmhouse became their country home. By this time, Beman and Bertie Dawes had passed their love of nature on to their four sons and their daughter. Daweswood served as both a retreat from the family’s East Broad Street residence in Columbus, as well as a place to pursue their horticultural interests.

It was Beman Dawes’ aim to inspire people to plant trees. He planted trees at Daweswood, striving to obtain specimens from all over the world that would survive in central Ohio. The first planned tree planting began in 1917 with 50 sugar maples. By the time The Dawes Arboretum was founded, over 50,000 trees had been planted and the grounds had almost doubled in size to 293 acres. Beman and Bertie Dawes created The Arboretum as a private foundation: “To encourage the planting of forest and ornamental trees … to give pleasure to the public and education to the youth.”

Today, The Dawes Arboretum displays nearly 5,000 different types of woody plants. Active records are kept on more than 30,000 individual plants. To ensure the continuation of The Arboretum, Beman and Bertie Dawes established an endowment fund. Today, the endowment continues to be the major source of funds for The Dawes Arboretum that has now grown to over 1,800 acres.

The Conifer Glen

The Conifer Glen is an eight acre tract located in the south end of the Arboretum, east of Dawes Lake. The entire tract was developed to display large, compact, dwarf, and miniature conifers. Planting of dwarf conifers began in early 1990’s.

Inspiration for the conifer garden was from a photograph of a conifer planting in Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest in Kent, England. An important element was leaving the center view open, making use of existing larger conifers as a framework, placing dwarf conifers on either side, emphasizing this view. The result is a panoramic view both to the north and south, occurring at various elevations. At the lowest elevation an intermittent stream meanders from east to west emptying into Dawes Lake.

Large sandstone boulders have been strategically placed to simulate geologic outcroppings. The rocks provide backdrops and microclimates for plants. The sloping terrain, remaining large deciduous trees, and various soil conditions and exposures create planting sites for a diversified and comprehensive collection that not only provides a palette of beautiful specimens but is a garden both unique and inspiringt.

Old, weathered logs are used to add an element of 'aging'. Some are used as vertical snags; others cross the stream area here and there or simply lie on the ground to rot, eventually adding to the enrichment of surrounding soil.

A bridge and bridge/boardwalk combination have been constructed for easy access. The stream will have additional granite boulders installed and more sandstone ledges will be added in higher elevations.

Plants are mapped using Global Positioning Satellites and labeled with UTM coordinates. All pertinent records data are stored in Iris BG Plant Collections Management System.