Cincy Conifer Weekend Recap

By Byron Baxter in News and Event Recaps
Spring Grove Arboretum with the original Ginkgo biloba '86' (now 'Jehosephat') on the left
Spring Grove Arboretum with the original Ginkgo biloba '86' (now 'Jehosephat') on the left

September 26th was an overcast day in Cincinnati, but those that arrived bright and early to partake in the ACS day were all smiles. There were 34 ACS members registered for the event which kicked off at the Spring Grove Arboretum.

Chris Daeger presented a review of this year’s Central Region Meeting in Green Bay. His slide presentation showed highlights from the private gardens that were on the tour as well as the Green Bay Botanical Garden, which was just recognized as an ACS Reference Garden.

Ginkgo biloba 'Queen City' at Spring Grove Arboretum
Ginkgo biloba 'Queen City' at Spring Grove Arboretum

Following Chris’s presentation, the group boarded a tram and slowly drove through the arboretum. Brian Heinz, the head of horticulture at Spring Grove, delivered a commentary about the history of the plantings as the tram traveled the hilly terrain. The tram stopped so members could walk to where special historical trees were located. There were too many plants to see in one brief trip, but a couple of the highlights were Ginkgo biloba '86', now 'Jehosephat', Ginkgo biloba 'Queen City' and the extensive collection of Picea orientalis that was planted between 1890 and 1920.

The ACS group looking up at the original Abies cilicica 'Spring Grove' broom at Spring Grove Arboretum
The ACS group looking up at the original Abies cilicica 'Spring Grove' broom at Spring Grove Arboretum

After the tour, Terri Parks fired up the projector with spectacular pictures that included gardens that she and Jay had visited on their way to and from this summer’s meeting in Green Bay.

The main garden on the afternoon agenda was that of Gene & Bev Bare. It was a reminder to those from out of the area that Cincinnati is referred to as the “City of Seven Hills” for a reason. Their garden is situated within the city limits on an urban lot that has a steep upward slope in the back of their property. Over the last 20 years, Gene has developed an outstanding collection of conifers and Japanese Maples that serve as a well-designed landscape. Members were able to sit on the deck behind the house and gaze up at the entire garden. It was a visual home run. Those that walked up and down the slope were further rewarded by seeing cultivars of outstanding conifers that provided their best viewing enjoyment up close. It was another home run from which we all learned many design lessons.

The last stop of the day was the home of Chris & Becky Daeger. Chris provided tours of his garden that featured many plants that were rare and some one of a kind, a benefit of running an arboretum. Many members also took advantage of BC Nursery, which Chris owns and which adjoins the property, by acquiring plants that they loaded to take home.

There was a catered dinner that featured pulled pork and chicken BBQ with the standard trimmings. The night ended with a silent auction and a live auction. Gene Bare served as auctioneer. (Don’t look over your shoulder, Bill Barger.)

The members that drove the furthest to attend were the Speths, who made the trip from Wisconsin. Runners up were the LeFonds, drove from Livonia, Michigan. Thanks to all who made the weekend a coniferal success.

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