I thought Ohio was going to be lame. I was wrong.

I’m still thinking about my trip to Columbus and how much fun we had there.  I’d never been to Ohio before…ever in my life.  I was kind of expecting it to be a pretty boring city with not much to do.  I was definitely wrong.  I mean if you’re looking for party central nightlife then this is probably not the place for you.  But there were delicious restaurants…I wasn’t disappointed ONCE and I might be the pickiest person you’ll ever meet!  We ate many great meals with different growers, discussing the past season, as well as the upcoming spring, and many of the new plants that are coming out for next year.  FUN!

One of the coolest places we went was the North Market.  It looked like an old warehouse converted into a market area with local independent merchants selling anything from delicious BBQ (which is what we got – the grits rocked!!!) to breads and pastries to ice cream to, well, pretty much anything else you could possibly want!  There was a wine festival going on outside the North Market with jammin’ bands and other vendors selling T-shirts and other hand made items.  Unfortunately we couldn’t attend since we were on official business, but it looked so fun!

Another thing that was super awesome – the Trial Gardens at OSU.  The following is taken from the Trial Gardens website, http://ohiofloriculture.osu.edu/cultivar-trials because I can’t say it any better than they did!:

The cultivar trials, located at Ohio State University’s Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens, are conducted each year in order to evaluate ornamental bedding and container plants.  The objective of these trials is to observe the performance of new and recently introduced cultivated plant varieties under environmental conditions typical of central Ohio.

We offer four different trials over the summer:

  • Field Trial – ornamental bedding plants are grown in the ground, in full sun
  • Container Trial – ornamental container plants are grown in plasic containers, in full sun
  • Shade Trial – ornamental bedding & container plants are grown in plastic containers, under a shade structure
  • Hanging Basket Trial – ornamental trailing plants are grown in baskets

It was interesting to see all the different varieties growing next to each other, some I was familiar with and others were totally new to me.  I would LOVE to be part of something like this someday.  I took some snap shots and posted below so you can see how it’s set up.  Pretty cool!  For more information on how these plants are evaluated you can check out https://apps.cfaes.ohio-state.edu/florpublic/.

A friendly visitor!

And the main thing I want to share with you are the city gardens.  I was truly amazed by the beauty throughout the ENTIRE city.  They really took the time to beautify their city in such a classy way.  Everywhere I turned there were gardens.  And not just the regular stuff like you see around here…too often I see people (mostly local businesses) just throwing in a bunch of Wax Begonias or Flowering Vinca and calling it a day.  These folks are using a variety of Coleous, Elephant Ears, Grasses, Snap Dragons, Calibrachoa, Alyssum, Salvia, Impatiens (despite the Downy Mildew problem – although I’m not sure it’s as big of a problem there as it is here in the Mid-Atlantic region), New Guinea Impatiens, various Grasses and Tropicals and SOOOO MUCH MORE!!!  Whether there were gardens and fountains on the properties of businesses, flowers under signs, gorgeous hanging baskets on lamp posts through the city, green roofs on top of bike racks and bus stops or container gardens on the sidewalk in front of EVERY business, everything was perfect…except for one “fancy” restaurant across the street from our hotel…it was the ONLY place I saw that DIDN’T do up their pots.  They still had old spindly pansies from the spring and half dead Dwarf Alberta Spruces .  So we boycotted that one.  Why would we ever want to eat at the only restaurant in town who can’t maintain their containers?  Yep, that’s how we roll.

So check out these pics below of just SOME of the awesome containers and landscapes we saw…

Bike Rack Green Roof

Nice Restaurant Landscape

Excuse my shadow!

Overall we had a fantastic time, stuffed ourselves silly, learned a lot and saw countless exquisite plants and flowers.  What a great trip.  I can’t wait to go back next year!