Dawes Arboretum
Newark, Ohio
June 2012


This 1700-acre arboretum was founded in 1929. It is really huge so if you want to see it all you’ll have to come numerous times. This is great for locals. They can visit every week and find something new to discover each time. In the few hours I could spend, I saw only a tiny portion but enough to get a feel for the place, see some beautiful scenery and some great plants and leave wanting to come back.

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There are beautiful sweeping vistas throughout the property with rolling hills, meadows and deep wooded areas. The Dawes can be enjoyed just as a picturesque park

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but it is much more than that because of its focus on plant collections.

Scattered throughout the property are large pockets of plant groupings, all very well labeled with great interpretive signage. Here is the Holly Collection with a large introductory sign and well-maintained beds showing the diversity of plants in the genus
Ilex.

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The plant collection includes more than 4,500 taxa. Several of the arboretum’s collections are recognized by the North American Plant Collections consortium (NAPCC), including Maples, Buckeyes and Dawn-Redwoods. Other major plant collections include Hamamelis (Witch Hazel), Buxus (Boxwood) and Viburnum. Not much was in flower during my visit, but the tremendous diversity of plants still made for a fascinating visit. Things like the shape and texture of this witch hazel leaf always amaze me.

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There is a very, large-scale Japanese Garden with a lot of interesting features, including a Zen rock garden

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and a pond.

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One of the highlights for me was a Bald Cypress swamp. I’m always amazed by these trees with their knobby knees jutting out of the water.

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Another interesting and unusual exhibit featured plants grown for biofuels. The plants themselves are very commonplace but the interpretation shows them in an entirely new way.

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The collection includes a vast array of conifers

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including lots of unusual cultivars, like this
Pinus strobus ‘Goldie’.

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Dawes is a wonderful place to visit and would warrant a lot more time than I spent. Anyone interested in trees could spend many rewarding hours exploring the collection.


To see more photos of Dawes, click
here.
Click
here to visit the Dawes Arboretum website.

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