Plant Study Sites in and around Kentucky

Prepared by Winston C. Dunwell, Ph.D., UK Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist Nursery/Landscape Program
College of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture

Plant Study Sites Handout PDF

Web sites for Garden and Arboreta directories

Gardens In and Around Kentucky


Horticultural Web sites with Garden and Arboreta directories

The American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta (AABGA)

Internet Directory for Botany; Arboreta, and Botanical Gardens

Gardenscape: Your Gardening Resource

Back to top

Selected Gardens In and Around Kentucky

Baker Arboretum, Bowling Green, KY 
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, KY
Boone County Arboretum at Central Park, Burlington, KY
Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, KY
Cheekwood, Nashville, TN
Cincinnati Nature Center, Cincinnati, OH 
Cincinnati Zoo and Gardens, Cincinnati, OH
Dr. James C. Salato Wildlife Education Center, Frankfort, KY
Hartman Arboretum, Evansville, IN 
Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, KY
Missouri Botanic Garden, St. Louis, MO
Mt. Airy Arboretum, Cincinnati, OH
The PAMG Demonstration and Trial Garden, Paducah, KY
Shaw Arboretum of Missouri Botanic Garden
Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, OH
University of Kentucky Arboretum, Lexington, KY
UKREC Botanical Gardens, Princeton, KY
The Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum, Paris, KY
Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, Owensboro, KY
Yew Dell Botanical Garden, Crestwood, KY
Yuko-En: Kentucky Japan Friendship Garden, Gerogetown, KY

Back to top

Horticultural Libraries

Lloyd Library , Cinncinnati, OH
Missouri Botanic Garden Library , St. Louis, Missouri
UK Agricultural Library , Lexington, KY
UK William T. Young Library , Lexington, KY

Back to top

The Baker Arboretum, 4801 Morgantown Road, Bowling Green, KY 42102
Director: Martin Stone
Curator: PeggyMcKillip 
P.O. Box 1, Bowling Green KY, 42102 

The Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, State Highway 245, Clermont, KY 40110
Interim Executive Director: Mark Wourms, 
Horticulture Director: Vacant

Bernheim is open daily, except Christmas Day and New Year's Day, from 0700 until sunset. 
Admission is free on weekdays, $5 per vehicle on weekends and holidays.

The arboretum at Bernheim is a wonderful place to visit. The Magic of "Bernheim" is that there is always a undiscovered plant hiding somewhere, a piece of sculpture that wasn't there last time you visited, a landscape scene lighted in a way never seen before. The Frederick Law Olmsted firm of Brookline, MA, created an original landscape design that was adopted in 1935. Bernheim first opened to the public in July 1950. Significant changes have been made in the last few years and the results of those changes should ensure that "Bernheim" already known by plantsmen of the world to be one the best arboretums in the country, will be readily recognized by the public of the world.

The collection is the result of the life-long dedication (33 years) of Clarence "Buddy" Hubbuch and the recent 5 year tenure of Dr. Paul Cappiello, who, to quote him "like a kid in (Buddy's) a candy shop" added hundreds of plants to Bernheim's collections. Dena Garvue while Director of Horticulture added even more plants. Regrettably, there has not been a horticulturist at Bernheim for several years.

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is located about 25 miles south of Louisville, KY, on Highway 245 in Clermont, KY. Take I-65 to exit 112 and go east for about one mile.

Back to top

The Boone County Arboretum at Central Park, Union, KY
Kris Stone, Arboretum Director, Boone County Arboretum, 9190 Camp Ernst Road, Union, KY 41091; 859.384.4999; e-mail,; url

The Boone County Arboretum was dedicated May 2, 1999 and has one of the best maps I have see for a large planting of trees. The Boone County Arboretum was designed by the well-known plantsman/nurseryman/landscape designer, Dick Ammon, Ammon Landscape, Burlington, KY. I learned of it while preparing this Plant Study Sites file. Dr. Mike Klahr, Horticultural Extension Agent for Boone County sent the needed information and map. The Arboretum is in Central Park and currently encompasses 125 acres and has 950 trees planted and labeled, and 1550 shrubs with many of the shrubs located in over 170 landscape beds. The infrastructure of the Boone County Arboretum is irrigated by a computerized 41,000 linear ft. irrigation system to insure the plantings flourish during the worst of droughts, and has 3 information centers located along the trail for information.

Back to top

The Cave Hill Cemetery, 701 Baxter avenue, Louisville, KY 40204 
Horticulturist, Sarah Schaffner
Hours: 0800-1645

This famous garden cemetery has many plants of unique character including one the few 'Amazing Grace' weeping Katsura trees propagated and received directly from the late Theodore Klein. A brochure is available from the office that points out the highlights of the cemetery but it is always worth getting out of the car and taking a walk around the grounds to see the many interesting plant collections. Previous Cave Hill Horticulturists planted plants gathered from all over the world and Lee Squires is maintaining that wonderful tradition.

Back to top

The Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
Tennessee Botanical Gardens and Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood, 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville, TN 37205
Vice-President of Gardens and Horticulture: Peter Grimaldi

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 0900-1700, Sunday 1300-1700; closed Thanksgiving Day, December 24, 25, 31 and January 1.
Admission: fee charged.

Once the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Cheek, Cheekwood (built between 1929 and 1932) today it functions as a display garden and fine arts center. Its 18th-century Georgian-style mansion and English-style landscape were designed by Bryant Fleming. In 1959 the Cheeks' daughter gave the 55-acre estate to a not-for-profit organization to maintain it as a cultural center for Nashville and the mid-South. It was opened to the public in 1960. The ingenious system of artificial brooks, ponds, recycling fountains, cascading waterfalls and a collection of boxwood are survivors of the original landscaping. Several plant collections and gardens have been added to Cheekwood in the years since it became a public attraction: The Wills Garden, dedicated in 1981, displays iris and other perennials along winding paths; "Wildings," once the wildflower garden of Mrs. H.A. Howe, was transplanted to Cheekwood after her death in 1967; in the three circular areas of Burr Garden, roses, herbs and perennials are emphasized. A path through this section is bordered by 1,600 azaleas. Other highlights include the Daffodil Garden, Herb Study Garden and Mustard Meadow, where the mustard indigenous to Nashville forms a yellow carpet in early April. Four greenhouses (5,000 sq. ft.) display orchids, camellias and in the Cloud Forest Greenhouse, "a little piece of Central America"--bromeliads, and other epiphyses and plants native to Central America recreate a tropical environment.

Directions: located 8 miles southwest of downtown Nashville; Broadway/West End Ave./Harding Rd. to Belle Meade Blvd.;left at Belle Meade; right at Page Rd.; left at Forrest Park Dr.; Cheekwood is at the top of Forrest Park Dr., on the right.

Back to top

The Cincinnati Nature Center, Cincinnati, OH

Hours open vary with daylength check the website:

The Cincinnati Nature Center, Cincinnati, OH was made famous by Elizabeth Lawrence's descriptions of owner Carl Krippendorf in her book Little Bulbs and the in the pamphlet/small book Lobs Wood after his death. on the website it is described as follows: "In 1898, Carl Krippendorf purchased 97 acres of the land where he spent the summer recuperating to preserve it from becoming a tobacco field. In the heart of his beloved woods, Carl built a home for his new bride, Mary, where they lived for 64 years. Carl and Mary invited everyone they knew to experience the land they loved and affectionately called, "Lob's Wood." It has often been said that no one left the Krippendorf property empty handed. Carl was known to give daffodil, Lycoris and other bulbs to his visitors. Today, Krippendorf Lodge, thousands of daffodils, and the beautiful beech and maple woods continue to preserve the Krippendorf legacy at Rowe Woods in Milford." Now known as Rowe Woods after the leader of a group of 13 "dedicated environmentalists" who worked to preserve the site for future generations. Correspondence continues between Win Dunwell and Mary Clark Stambaugh, Mr. Krippendorf's grandaughter an avid gardener in Newtown, CT.

The Rowe Woods (Mr. Krippendorf's Lobs Woods) is at 4949 Tealtown Rd., Milford, OH 45150

Long Branch Farm & Trails, 6926 Gaynor Rd., Goshen, OH 45122


The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45220-1399
Director of Horticulture: Steve Foltz

513.281.4700 or 1.800.94-HIPPO

Hours: vary by season check by calling or visiting the homepage.
Admission Fee & Parking Fee Charged.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden opened in 1875 and now exhibits over 700 different animal species and over 3,000 types of plants. 1.3 million people visit the Zoo's 70 acres each year. Cincinnati Botanical Garden has some 18 specialty gardens and numerous specimen plants. UK Alumni and noted plantsman Steve Foltz has worked with other horticulturists and the Zoo to make it a beautiful garden worthy of a visit. The parking is shaded by solar panels.

Back to top

Dr. James C. Salato Wildlife Center, KY Dept of Fish & Wildlife Resources, #1 Game Farm Road, Frankfort, KY 40601
800.858.1549 or 502.564.7863

Plant communities displays are found in habitat gardens and greenhouses. Special programs related to gardening such as the Backyard Wildlife Habitat Kit and educational programs on topics like Butterfly Gardening and adding biodiversity to your garden through the use of Kentucky native plants are offered at this facility.

Back to top

Hartman Arboretum, 5939 Spirit Trail, Evansville, IN 47720-1858

Open by appointment or on Thursdays in season when the Master Gardeners are working on site.

Hartman Arboertum is the result of Grant Hartman's <> efforts to collect plants and create an diverse plant collection in a pleasant environment. Still in it's youth, master gardeners are helping make more natural areas abd the existing wildflowers accessible to the public. The Arboretum is mapped and most plants are labeled.

Back to top

The Lexington Cemetery, 833 West Main Street (Leestown Road), Lexington, KY 40508

Hours: daily from 0800-1700.

Lexington Cemetery is a well-known beautiful garden cemetery that was established in 1849. There is "The Lexington Cemetery Tree Walk" that includes 41 different trees. Brochures can be gotten at the cemetery office that is open 7 days a week.

Back to top

The Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299

Hours: 0900-1700 daily except Christmas; extended summer hours of 0900-2000 from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Free parking is available on the premises.

The Missouri Botanical Garden was first opened to the public in 1859 by Henry Shaw. It is located on 79 acres in the City of St. Louis near Interstate 44. The Missouri Botanical Garden is home to over 30 different gardens, the Climatron , a world famous Botanical Research Center, an active Education Division, The Missouri Botanical Garden Library, and much more. The Missouri Botanical Garden's mission is to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life.

The Shaw Nature Preserve, previously know as the Shaw Arboretum, an extension of the Missouri Botanical Garden, includes 2,500 acres of natural Ozark landscape and managed plant collections. Located 35 miles southwest of St. Louis in Gray Summit, Missouri, it provides environmental education, ecological research and public enjoyment of the natural world. The Arboretum was founded by the Garden in 1925 when coal smoke from the city threatened the living plant collections housed at the Garden. Though the orchid collection was moved to the Arboretum in 1926, pollution in the city cleared before it was necessary to move the entire plant collection. The Arboretum features a variety of settings in which visitors may enjoy the out-of-doors. The Pinetum is a 55-acre park-like expanse of meadows studded with plantings of conifers from around the world. In spring it comes alive with thousands of Narcissus and flowering trees. The Whitmire Wildflower Garden is a five-acre concentration of natural beauty in the form of Missouri and eastern U.S. native wildflowers in naturalistic plantings, accented by native grasses, shrubs and trees. The Shaw Arboretum Ecological Reserve contains 13 miles of hiking trails through a full array of Ozark Border landscapes, including floodplain forest, oak-hickory woods, glades, bluffs, tall-grass prairie, savanna and marsh wetlands. The latter three are landscapes which once covered much of Missouri and are being restored or recreated from former farmland in the Arboretum. The Joseph H. Bascom Manor House, an elegant brick mansion, built in 1879 contains a splendid array of exhibits made possible by a challenge grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation. The exhibits, entitled "People on the Land", illustrate the broad environmental and conservation themes so important to the Arboretum's mission.

Tower Grove Park is another donation of Henry Shaw to the citizens of St. Louis; in 1868. On the web site it sates -- The mission of Tower Grove Park is “to be an exemplary, well preserved and well presented, wooded Victorian park of national significance that provides important recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities for the public in a way that is compatible with its unique and historic character.” Long time director, John Karel, is accredited with maintaining and renovating this park in both it's historic aesthetic and in a progressive manner that is of benefit to the citizens of the St. Louis and the many visitors.

Back to top

The Mt. Airy Arboretum, 5083 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45239

Hours: every day 7:30-sunset.
Admission: no fee.

The Michigan State University Home page description follows: Mt. Airy Arboretum is made up of 120 acres planted with more than 1,200 different species. Its collections of trees and shrubs includes ash, birch, beech, buckeye, cherry, crabapple, deutzia, dogwood, elm, euonymous, fir, hawthorn, hemlock, juniper, lilac, magnolia, maple, oak, poplar, spruce, viburnum, willow and yew. Outstanding displays are those of dwarf conifers, perennials and azaleas. A number of specialty gardens punctuate the landscape: the Meyer Lake and Rare Flora Garden, with rare and unusual plantings around the one-acre lake; the Garden of the Rhododendron and the Braam Memorial Garden, featuring azaleas and rhododendrons; and the Green Garden, emphasizing demonstration plantings of shrubs, ground covers, vines and herbs. The Mt. Airy Arboretum was established in 1932 by the Cincinnati Park Board, with help from the National Federation of Garden Clubs. It is located within the 1,466 acres of Mt. Airy Forest, Cincinnati's largest park.

Directions: I-75 to I-74 west; exit at Colerain Ave.; 1 miles north on Colerain to entrance of Mt. Airy Forest; follow signs to Arboretum. Public Transportation: accessible by bus.

Back to top

The Purchase Area Master Gardener's Demonstration and Trial Garden
3600 Coleman Road, Paducauh, KY 
Contact: Kathryn Wimberley, McCracken County Office, 2705 Olivet Church Road, Paducah, KY 42001-9755; 270.554.9520; Fax 270.554.8283; e-mail,

Back to top

Rowe Arboretum
4600 Muchmore Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45243
The Arboretum was founded by Stanley M. Rowe, Sr. and his wife Dorothy Snowden Rowe in 1926. The Arboretum attracts plants people and gardeners from all over the world to see the extensive conifer collection.

Back to top

Cemetery of Spring Grove, 4521 Spring Grove Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45232-1954
513.681.6680 Fax 513.853.6802
Senior Vice President: Tom Smith
Supervisor of Horticulture: Brian Heinz

Hours: grounds, every day 8-5; office, Monday-Friday 8-4:30, Saturday 8-noon; Memorial Mausoleum, every day 10-4.
Admission: no fee

Spring Grove Cemetery as it is known to most people contains many beautiful and rare plants. Several selections of plants have been made at Spring Grove and are given Spring Grove as the cultivar name. Thuja plicata 'Spring Grove', Cornus florida 'Spring Grove' are examples of plants introduced.

Directions: Four miles north of downtown Cincinnati; 1 mile west of I-75; take Mitchell Ave. exit west to the first intersection; turn left onto Spring Grove Ave.; 1/2 mile to main entrance.

Back to top

The University of Kentucky Arboretum (State Botanical Garden of Kentucky)
Alumni Drive, Lexington, KY
Director: Molly Davis
Horticulturist, Jesse Dahl
500 Alumni Drive, Lexington, KY 40503
606.257.6955 Fax 606.323.3805
A related UK site for plant study

The arboretum is open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.
Docents are available for special tours, but must be booked in advance.

The 100-acre Arboretum is located on Alumni Drive on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. The Arboretum seeks to help people experience Kentucky's rich natural heritage and demonstrate the results of human selection of outstanding plant materials. The Arboretum was begun in 1991 as a joint project of the University of Kentucky and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. There is a 2-acre home demonstration garden that uses combinations of plants and landscape structures to show how plants can be used in the residential landscape. It includes vegetable and herb gardens, home fruit and nut gardens, beds for evaluating flowering annuals, perennials, and ground covers and woody plants for landscape use. The Walk Across Kentucky is an incredible display of native plants. University faculty and students collected seed of plants from the seven physiographic areas of Kentucky, grew the plants from seed to landscape size, and then with the help of UK Grounds and Maintenance planted the two-mile trail. A restoration of the 16-acre savannah woodland called Walnut Woods is ongoing.

A water feature was installed by Kentucky nurseryman Rob Roberts.

Back to top

The UKREC Botanical Gardens, 1205 Hopkinsville Street, Princeton, KY 42445-0469
UKREC Botanical Gardens Facebook
Contact: Winston Dunwell, 
502.365.7541 x 209: Fax 502.365.2667

Hours: Dawn to Dusk; Education Center 0800-1630

The UKREC Botanical Gardens has been moved from the grounds of the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center. A collection of the Iris cultivars developed by the late Dr. Herbert "Bert" C. Mohr and his sons, Kenneth and David are in the beds. The gardens host a Buxus collection as part of the National Boxwood Trils founded by nurseryman Paul Saunders, Saunders Nursery, Piney River, VA.

Areas of emphasis for the Nursery/Landscape Research and Trials Program are daylily cultivar evaluations are located within easy walking distance to the north of the Center. The daylilies of past evaluations are in display beds in the same area. There is a Vine Collection of CampsisBignonia,and other perennials and some annual vines. Annuals are frequently evaluated in this area. .

Directions (Map): 1205 Hopkinsville Street is also labeled South 91. From the West Kentucky Parkway exit at highway 91 go south through Princeton approximately 2 miles south of town. On the east side of the road there will be a sign for the West Kentucky Experiment Station. Follow the entrance road around to the left for approximately .5 miles. The Center, a large brick building, will be on the right and the Daylilies, Hydrangeas, vines and annual trials will be on the left just past the entrance road to the Center.

Back to top

Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum, 616 Pleasant Street, Paris, KY 40361
The Wallis Arboretum contains an old-tree collection and is the education facility for The Garden Club of Kentucky. The Arboretum is one block east of US 68, Main Street in Paris, KY. This is a small garden.

Back to top

Western Kentucky Botanical Garden (WKBG)

The Western Kentucky Botanical Garden (WKBG) is the result of the vision of Dr. William "Bill" Tyler in cooperation with the County Extension Horticulturist and the Master Gardeners in Daviess County. It was established in 1993 when the eight acres of land where the gardens stand were donated by Bill and his wife. Another generous donation of a house that was moved to the site now serves as a visitors' center. 
The entrance to the gardens is through the Thompson-Berry Soccer complex off of 2nd Street at the western edge of Owensboro.

For more information and current events see the WKBG Facebook page

Back to top

Yew Dell Botanical Garden
Executive Director, Paul Cappiello,
Yew Dell's offices are at 5800 North Camden Lane, Crestwood, Oldham County. 
Yew Dell Inc., P.O. Box 1334 Crestwood, Ky., 40014.

Yew Dell Inc. is a nonprofit organization formed in May 2001 to purchase and preserve the 33-acre gardens and homesite of Theodore Klein, an internationally recognized horticulturist/nurseryman, who died in 1998 at the age of 93. Theodore was a flambouyant plantsman, known as a member of the nursery/landscape industry who was a true plant fan, someone who not only made a living growing plants but loved them and the people that grew and used plants in landscapes the world over. He designed his gardens, home, and "The Mini-Castle" with elegance and a sense of fun. His garden of many nice design elements is the garden of a plant collector. For many in Kentucky the preservation of Yew Dell Gardens is a miracle with a bright future. Kentucky's plant award program is named Kentucky's Theodore Klein Plant Award to honor this outstanding plantsman.

Back to top

Yuko-En on the Elkhorn
The Official Kentucky-Japan Friendship Garden
700 Cincinnati Pike
Georgetown, Kentucky

This nearly six acre garden is a Bluegrass Landscape in a Japanese style stroll garden. Enjoy paths, waterfalls, Koi ponds, arched bridges, Elkhorn Creek, a Japanese style raked Stone Garden and more. Our Kiln House, a rustic structure, houses two raku kilns and offers demonstrations monthly and our Tea House offers tea ceremonies at times throughout the year.


The Lloyd Library, 917 Plum Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 
Director: Maggie
513. 721.3707, Fax: 513.721.6575

Hours: Monday- Friday 0830 to 1600, every 3rd Saturday of the month September to May.

The Lloyd Library and Museum is a 200,000 volume collection largely devoted to pharmacy, botany, and horticulture. The Lloyd Library has a closed-stack, non-circulating collection.

Back to top

Missouri Botanic Garden Library, 4500 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO, USA 63110
Mailing Address: PO BOX 299, St. Louis, MO, USA 63166 
Fax: 314. 577.0840

Library hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

The Missouri Botanical Garden Library is one of the world's finest botanical libraries. Founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw, the library is an essential part of the Garden's research program. It is used in conjunction with the herbarium by Garden research staff, botany students, and visiting scientists from around the world. Horticulturists, landscape designers, historians, biographers, and Garden members also use the library.

Back to top

UK Agricultural Library, N-24 Agricultural Science Building, Lexington, KY 40546-0091 
Fax: 606-323-4719

The UK College of Agriculture library offers the latest editions of horticultural and agricultural periodicals and research services such as computer searches and various indexes.

Back to top

UK William T. Young Library, 1000 University Drive, Lexington, KY 40506-0456 

Hours: Open 24 hours Monday - Thursday; Sunday 10:00 a.m. - Friday 10:00 p.m.; Please note: University Dr. will be the only entrance from midnight to 7:00 a.m. The William T. Young Library, opened April 3, 1998, is a remarkable building. I have visited the Young Library many times and continue to be in awe of the place. I only wish I had more time to study there. For those in west Kentucky interested in plants the Missouri Botanic Garden is closer but the UK William T. Young library is impressive with full services including internet access and outrageous search capacity. Physical access to the UK Libraries' social sciences, humanities and life sciences collections has become much easier, with widely scattered material brought together in one site. The building measures 361,000 square feet (including a basement and five floors), seats over 4,000 patrons and houses 1.2 million volumes (in 198,828 linear feet or 37 miles). The library includes 21 group study/seminar rooms and seating for 350 in faculty/dissertation study areas. The building has six elevators, and all floors are fully accessible to people with physical disabilities.

Back to top