Photo of cobalt colored delphinium with ferns, nicotiana, and sweet potato vine

Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens

If there’s one thing I never want to miss when visiting a new city, it is the city gardens. I can’t say that is true for the rest of my family. So, when I have an opportunity to go with my friends, I jump on it!

We planned our trip to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens well in advance. Serendipitously, the day turned out to be absolutely perfect for a garden stroll. It was sunny, not too warm, not buggy, nor humid.

Several years ago, this garden underwent a multimillion dollar update with the construction of a modern, two-story glasshouse. It became a major attraction in the University Circle area, along with the Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance Hall (home of the Cleveland Orchestra), the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Western Reserve Historical Society and Crawford Auto-aviation Museum.

Admission includes the garden and glasshouse, and you can honestly spent several hours here. Kids love the children’s garden, complete with pond, tree house, fountains and steam spouts, vegetable patch, and various activities and hidey-holes. Bring a change of clothes for the kiddies if the weather is warm – they will want to play in the fountain!

Parking at the facility is an additional charge. You can find metered parking on the surrounding streets, but you may have to feed the meter.

There is a beautiful patio, complete with lily pond and cafe seating. The garden has a snack shop/cafe, but you can also bring in food for young children or those on restricted diets. And, a large grassy area called Wade Oval is adjacent to the gardens, where everyone is free to enjoy a picnic lunch from home. That is really nice for picky eaters and those on a tight budget.

Whether you start or finish your visit in the glasshouse may depend on the weather, but either way, be sure to visit the gift shop. It is one of the best in Cleveland, offering high quality goods, books, and reasonably priced children’s gifts.

Okay, that’s enough of the details. Let’s get to the gardens!

photo of hummingbird sculpture made of Legos
We happened to be visiting during a Lego Sculpture show. It was nothing short of amazing. This photo shows a hummingbird and trumpet flowers made completely of Legos!


photo of Japanese stewartia plaque and tree base
Japanese stewartia
The stewartia trunk reveals layers of color.
The stewartia trunk reveals layers of color.

This Japanese Stewartia tree has an intriguing trunk. I am always on the lookout for specimen trees to add to our landscape. Creating shade, purifying the air, providing shelter and food to other plants and animals – how can you go wrong planting a tree?


photo of pink astilbe and orange daylilies
An orange-pink color combination that works!

I would not have thought that planting fuchsia and orange colors together would look good, but the combination really pops!


photo of brown and white Lego sculptures of a deer family
Legos are used to create this entire deer family.

Another magnificent Lego creation. You know that I have a love-hate relationship with these dears 😉


Photo of the Bottlebrush buckeye. It forms a dense border with its large, palmate leaves.
The Bottlebrush buckeye forms a dense border with its large, palmate leaves.
Photo of Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

This Bottlebrush Buckeye bush (Aesculus parviflora) is lush and full enough to provide a privacy screen. Plus, the deer don’t like it.


Photo of a spoked arbor frame. The arbor provides leafy shade.
A spoked arbor frame provides leafy shade.
Photo of vines sprawling over the arbor.
A closer look.

Another spot in the garden for relaxation. Here, a frame with climbing hydrangea, trumpet vine, and wisteria provides a leafy canopy.


Photo of purple Betony flowers.
Another color pop with Betony (Stachys officianalis). This grows even in deer country.

Didn’t realize that Betony comes in pink/purple. I’ve got white at home. Another deer resistant ground cover! Though, I’ve had some trouble with beetles devouring the foliage.

Photo of cobalt colored delphinium with ferns, nicotiana, and sweet potato vine
Nothing beats Delphinium for blue in the garden.

This vignette is so lovely. Some red, white, and blue, against moss-embedded concrete looks cool and composed.


Photo of Persian shield leaves. They are as colorful as annual flowers.
Persian shield leaves are as colorful as annual flowers.

I guess I was in a fuchsia mood this visit! My eye was continually drawn to the color.

There is so much more to see. If you have a chance, it is definitely worth a visit. In fact, University Circle could provide a week’s worth of stuff to do; and we haven’t even talked about downtown! Yes, it’s true, Cleveland Rocks!


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3 comments on “Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens”
  1. A. JoAnn says:

    He may also be interested in two great restaurants nearby: L’Albatros (french, beautiful patio) and Tretina (Northern Italian).

  2. I’m sold! I’ll tell my brother about this place. He’s going to be visiting Cleveland next month.

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