Cleveland's Secret Garden
Have you wondered what's behind the mysterious fence along Pearl Road (Rte 42) in Strongsville, Ohio. Since 1949, Henry Ross has spent his entire life creating a garden in the middle of a stripmall wasteland. What started out as 16 acres of swampy blue and yellow clay, overgrown with blackberry brambles and weeds...has been slowly transformed into the beautiful gardens that exist today.
The grounds consist of 16 acres...(6 acres of English Cottage Gardens made up of all kinds of extremely choice, uncommon and rare plants; with special emphasis on plants with variegated, silver, red, or colored foliage) and a 10 acre arboretum. There are numerous individual gardens, fitting together like pieces of a jig saw puzzle, into one glorious, overall picture.
The Arboretum contains 2000 flowering trees, under-planted with thousands of daffodils.
The season begins about the middle of February and lasts until at least the end of October.
The Gardenview Horticultural Park is unique for several reasons:
1. It was not created by a wealthy individual who gave their estate and a very large Endowment Fund with which to maintain it. It was created by an individual who had no estate or money, who was inspired by the fabulous gardens of England and wished to create a magnificent public garden here.
2. The emphasis at Gardenview is not upon providing a lavish and opulent spectacle of architectural features. Instead the emphasis is upon extremely choice, rare and uncommon plants; combined into an attractive garden settings in a natural and casual Cottage Garden style; something which looks like it might have happened itself. Indeed; some visitors assume that it did just happen by itself.
3. The purpose of Gardenview is to collect and exhibit rare, choice and unusual plants which are seldom seen in this country, to provide enjoyment to its visitors and inspire them to use the ideas they might have gotten here in their own garden.
Gardenview Horticultural Park began in the winter of 1949, with the purchase of 16 acres of vacant, snow-covered land. Unfortunately, when the snow melted in the Spring and land turned out to be a blue clay marsh completely covered with blackberry brambles and weeds, totally unsuited for the use as a garden. For the nest 45 years, with hardly and money to work with and only one person to do work, it was transformed into the magnificent Horticultual Park which exists today. THere are presently 6 acres of gardens and a 10 acre arboretum containing, among other things, 500 varieties of flowering crabapples under-planted with countless thousands of daffodils.
For the past 15 years, because of lack of funds, the entire 16 acres are still maintained by two unpaid volunteers. Up to the present time the only source of funds has been from memberships and an admission charge for those who do not wish to take out a membership. An endowment Fund is being built up, the income from which will be used to hire the help needed to maintain the grounds, in the condition, in which they should be kept.
Contributions to the Endowment Fund are esstential since Gardenview will not be able to exist forever without the Endowment Fund income to hire the people needed to maintain the gardens. If there is not enough income to maintain the gardens they would have to be eliminated and the grounds would then be maintained as green space or as an open woodland. What the grounds will look like in the future; depends entirely upon the size of the Endowment Fund. They WILL exist forever as some kind of green space and can never be used for Industrial, commercial, residential or municipal buildings.