United States of America, Ohio, Muskingum County, Zanesville
Mission Oaks Gardens (Zanesville, Ohio)
Located adjacent to a deep Appalachian ravine, this intercity home and linked city lots are reclaimed dumping areas restored as a five-acre woodland garden. The property originally consisted of a Mission-Revival Mediterranean home built in the mid 1920's located on four 50' x 100' city lots plus a one and a half acre Appalachian ravine on the west side of the property. In 1991 a contiguous property was acquired to bring the size of the garden to three acres. It had been used as an illegal dump and forty-seven trucks loads of debris were removed, as well as a stand of mature silver maples. A waterfall was built on the north side of the property and the ravine was made accessible by native stone paths. The mature oaks, hickories, and sycamores on the property remained as the bones of the woodland garden. At the foot of the ravine is a natural bog, which provided an opportunity to grow plants that could survive in six inches of water in the early spring. Plants bloom from March to November. The peak bloom is in April and May when Kalmia (mountain laurel), Styrax (Pink Chimes), and Obassian join the rhododendron, dogwoods, unusual cultivars of redbuds, Halesia (Carolina Silver Bells), azalea, and many native flowering plants and trees.
At the suggestion of a neighbor, the current owners acquired a ravine property near, but not contiguous to, Mission Oaks Garden in 2001. The property was overgrown with silver maple trees, but is now home to a 2-acre conifer garden consisting of 214 uncommon conifer trees and seventy-one deciduous non-conifer trees. There are forty-six genera and eighty-five different species. A 30' x 70' pond was created on the property and has native fish, turtles, and a healthy stand of lotus on the west bank.
The diverse genera and species of plants are combined, with few replications, to create a cohesive woodland garden of both cultivated and native plants. The owner is specifically interested in unusual woody shrubs and trees, vines, ferns, and bog plants. Pocket plantings of mixed types appear throughout the garden, designed by the owner. Of notable interest is the collection of five Magnolia grandiflora and twelve deciduous magnolias, as well as shrub ivy called Hedera helix. The perennial garden was created by garden designer Tracy Disabato-Aust in 2000. The garden contains more than 300 genera, excluding the perennial garden.
The owner has established a private non-operating trust that will upon his death conserve, support, and maintain the property for the citizens of Ohio.
Persons associated with the garden include Bert Hendley, (garden designer, since 1988); Tracy DiSabato-Aust (perennial garden designer, ca. 2000); Renate Burgyan (sculptor, ca. 2000); Rufus Burton (former owner)
The folder includes worksheets, a write-up of the property's history, site plans, a print-out of an online article, and a garden drawing and plant list for the perennial garden, and other information.
This property is featured in "The Well-Designed Mixed Garden" by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. Portland, Or.: Timber Press, 2003