Stroll abundant outdoor gardens full of seasonal color and interest, set within the 88-acres of Franklin Park.
Seasonal displays welcome you as you approach the entrance to the Conservatory. The landscape plan was designed by Columbus-based landscape architecture firm MKSK and garden plant selections were designed by Associate Director of Horticulture, Amanda Bettin. The Main Entrance Gardens, installed in 2016, are designed to complement the architecture, style and beauty of the Master Plan 2.0 construction projects completed in 2016 in the Grand Atrium, Lower Atrium and the east entrance. Hundreds of colorful bulbs emerge in early spring, followed by annuals and container displays. The 30-foot GreenScapes Green Walls are visible through the windows.
The Crane Ornamental Grass and Conifer Collection displays diversity among coniferous plants (division Pinophyta) and grasses (family Poaceae). The collection is located between the Conservatory and the Community Garden Campus. The collection showcases a variety of forms, sizes, textures, colors, blooms and fruiting bodies. Many different genera and species are represented—both native and non-native—as straight species, varieties and/or cultivars. The design includes both arranged garden beds and single specimen plants and exhibits the landscape value and diversity of the collection items through four full seasons of display.
Additional specimens from outside the grass and conifer families were incorporated to complement the beauty and landscape value of the collection items, including some Sedges (Carex), Magnolias, Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), and spring-flowering bulbs. This garden was installed from 2011 to 2012 with financial support of the Crane Family.
The more formal gardens on the Grand Mallway feature pathways lined with evergreen shrubs and abundant perennial beds. The NavStar, created by artist Stephen Canneto, has become a landmark sculpture in the park.
Showcasing both architectural and horticultural beauty, the Brides Garden is an elegant space popular for small ceremonies or just an afternoon stroll. Lush foliage, blooming perennials and white redbud trees are complemented by detailed stonework, a bubbling fountain, romantic swing and embellishments symbolic of the “tying the knot” theme.
Visit the Ohio Hybridizers Historic Daylily Garden from late spring and through the summer to view 850 varieties of blooming daylilies. Arranged in beds by the decade from when the cultivars and species were introduced, this space to the south of the entry plaza erupts with color while illustrating the history of this very popular plant. All of the cultivars featured in the gardens were bred and registered by Ohio hybridizers. The Daylily Garden is maintained in partnership with the Metropolitan Columbus Daylily Society.
The Wells Barn Gardens are a collection of gardens designed to complement the architecture, style and beauty of the Wells Barn. The plants in this garden fit within numerous garden themes such as natives, sustainable gardening, wildlife attracting, four season interest and sensory gardening.
The overall feel of the garden is meadow-like. Sweeping masses of perennials, grasses and shrubs are repeated throughout the gardens. The northern most gardens in the parking lot islands mimic a Midwest grassland prairie.
The gardens were installed in 2015 as part of the Master Plan 2.0. The landscape plan was designed by Columbus based landscape architecture firm, MKSK and garden plant selections were designed by Senior Horticulture Manager, Amanda Bettin.