Gardening at Lorain County Metro Parks

The gardening category features information on upcoming gardening programs such as pruning techniques, herbs, garden tours, and more. These programs take place year round and at several parks though the majority of gardening programs are at Miller Nature Preserve, Schoepfle Garden and the Lakeview Park Historical Rose Garden. Don't miss the kick off to the gardening season at the Mill Hollow Herb Fair in April. Sign up for the Gardening E-newsletter to learn about what is blooming at Miller Nature Preserve, Schoepfle Garden and the Rose Garden, upcoming programs, and some tips for your own garden.

What's in Bloom? Sign up for the Gardening E-Newsletter

Schoepfle Garden Lakeview Park Rose Garden

Miller Nature Preserve


On May 7 Miller Nature Preserve celebrated its one year anniversary.

To date we now have over 1800 members! THANK YOU! Please come by to see our conservatory which hosts collections of bonsai, orchids, tropical plants, seasonal displays and more. We also have a wide variety of programs and events as well as a kids club, orchid club, and bonsai club.



Butterfly House flowers


Hydroponics is a form of gardening where plants are grown without using soil. The word “hydroponics” translates from the Greek as “working water”. Nutrients are added to the water which is in contact with the roots. Since the nutrients are delivered directly to the roots, the plants can grow faster and fuller as the roots don’t have to work to search out the nutrients in the soil.

This is not a new concept. In the mid 1800’s German botanists used a list of nine essential elements that plants need and came up with a technique called soilless cultivation, but the term “hydroponics” was not used until 1937. In the 1930’s hydroponic gardening was used on the rocky Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean. Vegetables were grown for passengers to eat when Pan American Airline planes would make a refueling stop.

Hydroponics minimizes one of the biggest variables in gardening – over or under watering. Since water is always available, the plant can use as much as it needs. What is not taken up by plants is drained away to be recirculated.

Four Reasons to consider the hydroponic method of gardening:

  1. Hydroponic crops can use up to 90% less water than soil grown crops when in a recirculating system.
  2. You can plant four times the amount of hydroponic crops in the same area that soil crops need to grow.
  3. Hydroponic crops can grow twice as fast.
  4. Hydroponically grown crops can be grown organically and without the use of herbicides and pesticides.

How COOL is this transformation?

Below is a photo transformation of the Hydroponic plants growing in the conservatory at Miller Nature Preserve. The first photo was taken on April 11 and the second photo was taken on May 2.

Hyrdoponic Plants - April 11, 2017 Hyrdoponic Plants - May 2, 2017
Photo taken on April 11, 2017 Photo taken on May 2, 2017

Below is a short timelapse video of the same Hydroponic plants growing in the conservatory at Miller Nature Preserve. The first photo of the timelapse was taken on April 6 and the final photo was taken on April 19.


Butterfly House flowers

Flora and Fauna

At the butterfly house you will see a variety of flowers and 'flying' flowers. We will have species of butterflies native to our area as well as those from the southern U.S.

Of course different butterfly species hatch during different times of the summer, so you may have to come back if you want to see them all! Native species you may see include: cabbage white, various swallowtails, skippers, painted lady, red admiral, pearl crescent, buckeye, viceroy, and monarch, which are the commonly available to us. Some southern species include: zebra longwing, Julia, queen, and peacock.

Of course the butterflies need plants to lay their eggs on so you will see: dill, parsley, and cabbage to name a few.

The favorite feeding flowers you will see includes: perennials of astilbe, blazing star, various asters and wildflowers. Favorite annuals are lantana, pentas, cosmos, zinnia, and more. So come and enjoy all the colors.




Spring has sprung! Popular inspiring spring (bulb)flowers such as tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, iris, daisies, lilies, and others can bring a bit of color and freshness into your house. Just cut the stalks, at angles, and put in a simple vase- clear or colored, and enjoy! Mix or match create a bouquet of the same flowers or mix for a colorful rainbow.

FLORAL TRIVIA: here are some interesting facts:

  • When the Tulip first arrived in Europe, the English tried serving them with oil & vinegar & Germans boiled & sugared the bulbs.
  • In the Victorian language of flowers the Hyacinth flower symbolizes sport or play, and the blue Hyacinth signifies sincerity.
  • Daffodils were brought to Britain by the Romans who thought that the sap from Daffodils had healing powers. Actually the sap contains crystals that can irritate the skin.
  • The Iris was named after the Greek Goddess who is considered the messenger Love and uses the rainbow to travel.
  • Daisy leaves are edible and can be used in salads.
  • In Europe, Lilies were used as a remedy against a wide range of diseases and ailments.




Succession as defined by Merriam-Webster is, “the act or process of following in order.” Just as the constituent flora of an ecosystem modifies and responds to competition and resource availability in the natural world, so should the species composition of your vegetable garden.

Many, neigh, most northern hobby gardeners let their beds go fallow after their summer crops are finished. We must not give in to convenience of the super market! We must change this paradigm for a healthier, more sustainable future. After all, our ancestors did not have the convenience of big box stores, did they?

We can eat whole foods from the garden year round; it starts with planning your garden’s succession. It can be quite fun to piece this puzzle together. Although it can become tedious and require much planning, the primary variable to think about is maturation time, or the time from germination to harvest. Knowing the length of time to harvest gives you the opportunity to plan for the next crop, and what to do with the “real estate” as it becomes available.

We can also use this knowledge to incorporate another intensive gardening principal called intercropping; where we sow crops of longer and shorter or of differing seasons in the same region, or even row of the garden. A classic example of differing season lengths would be intercropping carrots or turnips and radishes. This time of year we are now succeeding fall crops with those vegetables that overwinter like many varieties in the onion and cabbage families. Knowing the maturation time also helps if you want to stagger your harvest time of one crop so that you don’t end up with too much produce at once: this is called interval planting.

Succession planting allows us to maximize our traditional growing season, but more importantly lengthen it by forcing us to seek out new varieties and consider planting different vegetables altogether. It also benefits us my maximizing our available space. This is just the tip of the iceberg that is intensive vegetable gardening.

To delve deeper into these topics follow these links:

Succession Planting Chart

Virginia Cooperative Extension Intensive Gardening

Companion Planting




Balsam (Impatiens balsamina) is originally from Asia and was popular in Victorian gardens in the early 1900's. The plant is gaining popularity once again as heirloom gardens become popular. This plant, which is grown from seed, was replaced by impatiens which could be purchased as plants and was easy to find in garden centers.

Other common names for this plant include rose balsam, jumping Betty, and touch-me-not. Balsam comes in colors that include rose, purple, white, pink, and red. Although the plant needs to be started from seed, it is easy to grow. The seed started inside, will sprout in as little as four days. Seedlings can then be hardened off and planted in the garden once the average night temperatures reach 60 degrees. When the blooms fade, a seed pod is produced that will expel the seeds by force. The plant blooms from summer to first frost and was originally used in Asian countries to treat burns and snake bites.



Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) is also called sweet wormwood, annual mugwort, sweet sagewort, or annual wormwood. It is native to Asia but has become naturalized in scattered parts of North America. Its’ very feathery fern like leaves appears early spring and has small bright yellow flowers in late summer, on a straight single stalk with alternating branches, sometimes reaching heights of 6’.
This annual readily reseeds itself (but easily pulled out) in the garden and can become a nuisance if not controlled. Insects or wind cross pollinates this plant. It is easy to grow and prefers sunny, well drained (even sandy) locations and is not prone to many diseases other than root rot from overly wet soil.

In traditional medicinal uses it is used to treat things like fever, malaria, asthma, and is currently being studied for potential use as anticancer drugs(an extract form the plant). Its camphor type scent does help to deter some garden pests.

Sweet Annie is typically grown in gardens for its sweet smelling foliage and yellow blooms that are often used in floral decorations and wreaths. Harvest sweet Annie plant just as its blooms begin to appear in late summer for use in floral arrangements or wreaths. When drying sweet Annie, place branches in small bundles and hang upside down in a dark, well-ventilated area for about two to three weeks or until dry. Use in floral arrangements, swags, or wreaths for its awesome smell.

When collecting seeds, cut the foliage to the ground (leave some plants remaining for self-seeding) and place in a paper bag. Allow to dry and then gently shake the seeds loose.




Autumn Leaves
Date: Thursday, November 3rd
Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Miller Nature Preserve: Orchid Room
Cost: Miller Members: FREE
Non-Members: $3

Discover what inspires Marks’ creations from sculpting to the amazing Castle Noel & how it delights people of all ages. You will see how his motto “Bring with you the joy of childhood & the spirit of Christmas” shines through his works and personality. He is also the creator of play through “Sci-Fi Movie Museum”, slated to open in 2017 and currently opened 3-D Alien Adventure Golf. For a once in a life-time chance, bring your questions for Mark Klaus.



Autumn Leaves


WE are inviting YOU to be part of the next display!
August 8 - October 16
Sunflowers! Baskets! Golds! Gourds! And more! See some unique sunflowers, gourds, and other late summer favorites showcased in creative designs. Enjoy the beauty of late summer that transforms into the autumn season. This display will transform as the seasonal changes occur outside so come early or late fall and you will be amazed at the beauty of the designs that nature has allowed us to create and enhance.

Autumn Leaves

Get your creative juices flowing and participate in our display! You can create and submit your basket of gourds (indoors) or a scarecrow (inside or out) for use in our display! Submissions should be at Miller by September 10; but gourd displays up to August 30.

We ask that you please adhere to the theme of “Designs by Nature” and include a more ‘traditional type of scarecrow, using mostly natural items. They should be free standing.


Miller Conservatory Admission

Building/conservatory hours: 10am - 6pm daily

Admission only applies to the conservatory.

  • Daily Admission: $2
  • Year Pass: $10
  • Lifetime Membership: $250


Miller Nature Preserve Membership:
  • $10 yearly - unlimited access to conservatory for one full year *(no refunds)
  • Reduced prices on many programs, classes, and events
  • Members only events
  • Receive garden e-newsletter (with valid e-mail address)
  • Receive periodic member only e-mails
  • 6 pack daily passes available ($10) for members only to purchase
  • Other special promotional events
Kids Club Membership:
  • $18 first year (regular $10 membership thereafter) - unlimited access to conservatory for one full year
  • Kids Club t-shirt
  • Logo sticker
  • Reduced prices on many programs, classes and events
  • Members only events
  • Yearly coupon for 10% off single purchase in MNP gift shop
  • Receive kids e-newsletter
  • Receive periodic member only e-mails
  • 6 pack daily passes available ($10) for members only to purchase
  • Other special promotional events
  • Most Kids Club activities are designed for ages 5 and up
We also have Yearly Gift Memberships
Great to give as a gift, purchase one for the $10 price and you will receive a nice gift card to give.

*A $2.00 replacement fee will be charged for lost membership cards


Tours are offered throughout the year at Schoepfle Garden, Miller Nature Preserve, and Lakeview Park. A schedule can be found in the program guide, The Arrowhead. You can also call Schoepfle Garden at (440) 985-7237, Miller Nature Preserve at (440) 937-0764, and Lakeview Park at (440) 245-1193 to schedule a tour for your group of 15 or more.

Annual Events

Mill Hollow Herb Fair - April 28 & 29, 2012



More Programs & Events >



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Gerbera Daisies
Gerbera Daisies help you sleep like a baby? Most plants give off oxygen during the day (while absorbing carbon dioxide), but the Gerbera does this process at night, resulting in more oxygen and easier breathing and deeper sleep by over 10%. Another benefit is this plant comes in a variety of colors and can flower up to 6 weeks with proper care. They prefer full sun and good drainage, with the crown of the plant above the soil. Allow soil to become moderately dry between waterings, then water thoroughly, but do not let them stand in water.