While the recent 90 degree F plus heat wave has now passed and the weather is back to normal, it sure sped things up when it comes to the gardens. While many azaleas and rhododendrons have faded blooms, not all is over yet. That’s why I went out to the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio, to see what was still there at its two rhododendron gardens. While the flowers did pass their peak, enough were still in full bloom to make the walk worthwhile.
With more than 3,600 acres in Kirtland, Ohio, Holden is one of the largest arboretum of its’ kind in the nation. Though they recently merged with the Cleveland Botanical Gardens to create Holden Forest and Gardens, I personally still treat Holden as a completely separate place from the home of Orchid Mania. After all, with Corning Lake, the Visitor Center, numerous hiking trails, tree collections, and of course the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Gardens, it is a completely different experience which is exactly what I wanted Sunday morning.
While Holden is open to the public from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, it does open later for special events (like the wine tasting they had the evening before as all the white tents I saw on the grounds still standing testified), and members can use smaller parking lots to explore the grounds later as well. It is definitely worth exploring for a few hours at least in May.
Photographs by James Valentino