educates as it beautifies
for Arboretum Day on June 3
Helen E. McKinney
(June 2006) Upon deciding that Boone Countys
natural resources needed to be documented and preserved, visionaries
came together to create a one of a kind attraction. The Boone County
Arboretum at Central Park is a jewel in landscape horticulture.
tours are popular at
Boone County Arboretum.
What makes this landscape so unique is the fact that it
was the nations first arboretum to be incorporated in an active
recreation park setting, said director Kris Stone.
Central Park is comprised of 121 acres and contains tennis courts and
fields for soccer, baseball, basketball and softball, and a paved 2.3-mile
Its highly unusual for an arboretum to have all of these recreational
opportunities, said Stone. But when put together in an outdoor horticultural
education facility, the area can be used by students, community individuals
and groups, and garden clubs.
The arboretum contains display gardens of trees, shrubs and herbaceous
plants cultivated for scientific and educational purposes. Special attractions
include a Childrens Garden, wildlife viewing area in a Native
Kentucky Prairie and a new woodland walking trail.
Many classes, programs and events are held at the arboretum, including
Arboretum Day on June 3, the highlight event of the year. From 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m. visitors can learn about their environment and get tips on
improving home landscape designs.
In addition to guided tours of the arboretum, presentations will be
given from local experts such as Master Gardeners and tree experts.
Vendors will display equipment, gardening gadgets, sell plants, and
educational groups will discuss environmental issues. There will even
be a visit from Ronald McDonald.
Its an excellent family event, said Stone.
In the mid-90s, the Boone County Horticulture Advisory Council and the
Boone County Cooperative Extension Service came together to devise a
workable plan for this combination park-arboretum. The horticultural
needs of the county were addressed at a council meeting, said Stone.
The idea was born to take the countys newest park, Central Park,
and combine it with an arboretum.
This project was coordinated and funded by the Boone County Extension
District Board. Dick Ammon, owner of Ammon Nurseries, volunteered to
design a landscape plan for the arboretum. Countless volunteers and
seven local nurseries transformed the landscape into an arboretum. Approximately
200 volunteers give of their time at the arboretum, said Stone.
There are 800 trees and 1,500 shrubs at the arboretum site, all labeled
and positioned by a Global Positioning System. The map is extremely
accurate, said Stone.
The Boone County Arboretum at Central Park includes a 41,000 linear
foot irrigation system, said Stone. This ensures healthy plants even
when the weather is dry. There are also three information centers located
at the trails main entries, stocked with guide maps and general
on bottlebrush in a meadow.
Park officials want to expand. They are considering buying
112 acres that sits directly across the street. While there are no set
plans to develop this additional acreage, Stone said it could become
a botanical garden.
He would like to see formal gardens created on the additional acreage.
Special themed gardens, such as a formal rose garden, are a possibility.
In addition to being a Boone County Extension Agent, Laura Kline is
the volunteer event coordinator for the Friends of the Boone County
Arboretum. This support group comprises the 200 volunteers at the arboretum
and Kline works with a core group of 50 of these individuals who give
freely of their time to maintain the arboretum.
John and Rose Bunger have been volunteering at the arboretum for several
years. Rose is a Master Gardener and had participated in the Greater
Cincinnati Garden Program.
Every year it gets better, said John Bunger of Arboretum
Day. "There is a lot of local involvement and hands-on learning."
County officials are concerned with trying to maintain as much greenspace
as they can, Bunger said. The countys really pro-active.
The arboretum is ever-evolving and always changing with the seasons,
said Bunger. Volunteers like the Bungers maintain annuals and perennial
beds, bringing color and life to the arboretum year round. There
is a real variety of plants, said Bunger.
The Boone County Arboretum at Central Park is located 25 minutes southwest
from downtown Cincinnati at 9190 Camp Ernst Rd., Union, Ky.. There is
no admission or parking charges and the facility is open daily from
dawn to dusk.
For more information, call Kris Stone at
(859) 384-4999 or visit: www.bcarboretum.org.
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