Tag Archives: cleveland botanical garden

Cleveland Anew: Big Spring at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Scott and his grandmother tour the Cleveland Botanical Garden

Scott and his grandmother @ CLE Botanical Garden

In the hustle of the last few months, I forgot that March marked 7 years since Scott and I moved to Cleveland. I think back to that first year, how much fun we had seeing the city the first time and how new every experience was.

With Scott’s parents and grandmother’s recent move to Cleveland, we’re experiencing that feeling all over again. Now that their house is unpacked and they’ll have their first house guests in a few weeks, it’s time to explore!

For their first post-move outing, Scott and I decided to take them to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for Big Spring

Going on now through April 27, the Big Spring Show has transformed the Cleveland Botanical Garden into a larger-than-life paradise. Beautiful displays and family activities such as dressing up like insects and racing mealworms make it a whimsical experience for young and old.

Cleveland Botanical Garden Big Spring

Cleveland Botanical Garden Big Spring

The Hicken house in New Jersey had a stunning garden, so I thought that Big Spring would be a great way to put the long, rough winter behind us and get everyone excited for transforming their new landscape.  

As we entered the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s front lobby, it brought me a lot of joy to see Scott’s mom and grandmother marvel at the oversized flowers, gardening tools, and flower pots:

3 - The Hickens

After soaking in the scents and the light, we headed to the Botanical Garden’s Glasshouse.  First we traveled to the deserts of Madagascar, then the rain forest of Costa Rica. I’m always struck by the beauty of the plants and the butterflies inside CBG, and I was happy to see I wasn’t the only one:

Scott's dad and mom checking out the Glasshouse's butterflies

Scott’s dad and mom checking out the Glasshouse’s butterflies

Scott’s grandmother commented that it was incredible to see butterflies up close that she had only seen in books.

5 - Butterflies

This trip was also my first exposure to the garden’s tropical bird collection. I’d been so preoccupied on previous visits by the glasshouse’s butterflies that I somehow missed their other winged inhabitants.

Not this time!

6 - Garden Birds

Another thing Scott and I missed on previous trips was the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s library. Scott and his mom got lost in their Book Sale while Scott’s dad, grandmother and I enjoyed coffee at the Garden’s cafe.

We ended our trip with a quick romp through the ladybug maze.

7 - Scott and his mom

We’re all looking forward to returning when the weather is just slightly warmer. Scott’s mom remarked how the benches throughout the garden will be perfect for walking his grandmother around. And Scott and I can’t wait for the Garden’s Summer show: Nature Connects: A LEGO® Brick Experience!

Until then, you can catch Big Spring through April 27. Learn more and buy tickets here.

Scott and I look forward to showing off our other favorite Cleveland haunts, though the Garden will be hard to beat.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Big Spring with my family in exchange for blogging about it. My opinions of the event are 100% my own.

Cleveland Date-rday: CLE Botanical Garden and Shakespeare

Congrats to entry 6 – Jess(ly) in Cleveland – for winning tickets to Band Aid Bash! Tickets are available for MedWish’s fundraiser at medwish.org/bab2013Come back Friday to win tickets to Tri-C Jazz Fest!

Band Aid Bash

It’s no secret, Scott and I spend a lot of time together. A LOT.

We carpool and work together. We share most of our hobbies like model train and comics collecting. And in what I think may test both our patience, we’re starting to write a comic book together.

Not to say everything’s the same (he has his vintage video game collection and he puts up with my hockey obsession). But for all the fun we have together, Scott married a worrier. And sometimes I worry we’re going to fall into a rut.

Although I know it’s unwarranted. we decided to mix things up last weekend by declaring Saturday ‘Cleveland Date-rday’ with a cross-town date of our favorite things in our favorite city.

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Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Holiday Glow

Cleveland’s weather hasn’t been able to make up its mind lately – some days have been beautiful and warm (definitely not December weather). Others draped in fog. And then this weekend’s forecast calls for rain and possibly snow.

I know for me, this can make it difficult when putting together my holiday plans.

Fortunately, you can surround yourself with the natural beauty of the holidays without worrying about the weather at the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s indoor Glow.

This December, take your coat off and stay awhile inside the Garden’s galleries and greenhouse, decked with 100,000 lights and the bright colors of 3,000 holiday plantings from red and white poinsettias to Christmas cactus and winterberry holly.

Last weekend, Scott and I took in the sights, sounds and scents of Glow for ourselves.

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5 Recommendations for Wintertime Fun in Cleveland

Today is the Ohio Blogging Association‘s All State Blog Swap where bloggers from all around the state are swapping posts.

This guest post is by Danielle from Find Time for Fun. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Danielle wanted to share her love of the area with her two young children but  struggled to find information about family friendly activities. Visit FindTimeforFun.com to learn about events, attractions and ideas for fun at home.

Then visit Poise in Parma to read the rest of today’s All State Blog Swap posts and check out my post Clue Into Cleveland’s Top 5 for Out-of-Town Guests.


Winter is right around the corner, which means the snow will be here before we know it!  While winter certainly isn’t my favorite season, I do try to make the best of it.

Thankfully, Cleveland offers many fun wintertime activities; some will have you playing outside while others will help get you into the Holiday spirit.  Below are my five recommendations for winter fun in Cleveland.

The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation (photo from www.clemetparks.com)

Tobogganing at the Chalet in the Mill Stream Run Reservation – Remember how much fun it was to go sled riding when you were young?  Channel your inner child this winter and go Tobogganing in the Cleveland Metroparks.  The Chalet has two 1,000-foot refrigerated ice chutes that can operate with or without snow and are open from the end of November to the middle of March.

Snowshoeing at Penitentiary Glen Reservation – Lake Metroparks offers nearly 7 miles of snowshoeing trails for guests to explore.  Beginners can start with the Peppermint Trail, a short quarter-mile loop.  Snowshoes can be rented by the hour or by the day, and rental is available daily from the middle of November through early March.

Rink at Wade Oval in University Circle

Outdoor Ice Skating at the Rink at Wade Oval – There is something about ice skating outdoors that makes it even more enjoyable.  This winter, get the full ice skating experience at the outdoor Rink at Wade Oval.  Admission is FREE and Skate Rental (if needed) is only $3 per person.  The Rink is open from the end of November through the middle of February.

Lolly the Trolley Holiday Tours – Riding through Cleveland on Lolly the Trolley is a great way to see the city.  Add Christmas lights and decorations to the mix and you have a truly unique and memorable experience.  During the month of December, there are a number of Special Holiday Tours including: A Christmas Story House Tours, Silver Bells Plus Tours and Family Fun Night Tours.

2012 Glow at the Garden (photo from www.cbgarden.org)

Glow at the Garden – While visiting The Cleveland Botanical Gardens is always a great option, it is especially enjoyable during the holiday season.  From late November through the end of December guests can view the decorated trees and gingerbread houses while listening to Christmas music, ride on the garden express train, decorate their own gingerbread houses, and do some holiday shopping at the gift shop.

Those are just some of the events and activities that make winter in Cleveland fun.  Leave a comment below and let us know some of your favorite wintertime activities in Cleveland. 

All I Want for Cleve-Mas, Part 4: Fighting Cabin Fever

Have you entered the Clue Into Cleveland giveaway for a Dolce Gusto Piccolo coffee machine? Only a few days left to enter here!

From ice skating in University Circle, to the Zoo, Metroparks and Progressive Field, there are plenty of ways to get outside and fight cabin fever this holiday season.

Cleveland winters get a bum rap. Although I know I’ll complain about it when we’re in the throws of February dealing with endless snow, during this time of year I’m not quite ready to hunker down indoors.

In fact, with my holiday shopping and errands nearly done, it’s time to enjoy the season, throw on my coat and head outside in the brisk December winds for some of these festivities:

The Frozen Diamond FaceOff is just one of the new features at this year's Indians Snow Days.

Cleveland Indians Snow Days

Cleveland Indians Snow Days was one of my favorite parts about last year’s winter (here’s last year’s recap). So as soon as tickets went on sale for this year’s return of Snow Days to Progressive Field, I bought mine.

I think it’s a perfect example of Cleveland’s ingenuity — transforming Progressive Field, which would sit mostly empty during the off-season, into a unique and fun wonderland.

Back again this year are The Batterhorn Snow Tubing hill (loved launching down the slick hills last year!) and the Frozen Mile ice skating track (the first non-symmetrical ice skating path in the U.S.).

The Cleveland Indians also added The Frozen Diamond, a regulation-sized ice skating rink covering home plate and stretching down the first base line. On January 15, The Frozen Diamond will host Ohio’s first-ever outdoor college hockey match when Ohio State and the University of Michigan play each other in The Frozen Diamond FaceOff.

I grew up watching the Philadelphia Flyers and hearing stories of the legendary Broad Street Bullies, so hockey’s been in my blood since I was a kid. I’ve never been to an outdoor game, so I bought the Snow Days Bundle Package, which gets you tickets to the January 15 game and a good-any-day combo pass for snow tubing and ice skating fun between now and the end of Snow Days on Jan. 16.

Thrillseekers can shoot down the Cleveland Metroparks' Tobogganing Chutes throughout the winter.

Take a Hike in the Cleveland Metroparks

Cleveland’s “Emerald Necklace” glimmers even more brightly this time of year with plenty of winter recreation opportunities.

Top of my list to try this season is tobogganing at the Chalet in Strongsville’s Mill Stream Run Reservation. If I thought snow tubing down the Indians’ Batterhorn was fast, I don’t know what to expect from the Chalet’s 1,000-foot ice chutes. And when the thrills get too much, I can head indoors and enjoy the warmth of their fireplaces.

For those who like to get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors, the Cleveland Metroparks are also hosting a series of Holiday Hikes. The next two will explore CanalWay Center on Dec. 22 and Bacci Park on Dec. 29, both in the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation starting at 1pm.

Other upcoming hikes include this Saturday’s Candlelit Hike and Caroling through South Chagrin’s Look About Lodge, as well as this Sunday’s Winter Blues Hike with Naturalist Kelly McGinnis along Deer Lick Cave Trail.

The Cleveland Metroparks Calendar of Events lists the dates and locations for all of their programs.  And before you take a hike, check out these two Metroparks articles to learn a bit about winter birdwatching and the animals living under winter’s blanket.

During December Days, the Cleveland Zoo is offering discounted admission and plenty of holiday activities.

Cleveland Zoo December Days

I love visting the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and after October I love it even more because I can save $3 when I want to visit my favorite exhibit: the tigers, bears and wolves in the Northern Trek.

Starting this coming Monday, Dec. 19 and running until Dec. 30, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is hosting December Days at the Zoo. Admission is discounted even further to $7 for adults, $4 for children 2-11.

In addition to all of the exhibits, the Zoo is hosting a number of festive activities during December Days. From cookie decorating and holiday crafts in the Welcome Plaza’s Exhibit Hall to live music and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, it’s another low-cost way to spend the holidays with your family, especially if you have children.

Wade Oval lights up with lanterns from the Cleveland Museum of Art and festive trees and gingerbread houses at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

Find Yourself (and the Holidays) in University Circle

My final favorite winter spot is the eastside’s University Circle. From more ice skating to winter lights and holiday treats, there are plenty of things to enjoy in the museum neighborhood.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden WinterShow boasts gingerbread houses made by professionals, amateurs and local families. Other festival highlights include the beautiful WinterShow Tree, holiday plants, trees decorated in the themes of children’s tales and fables, and Christmas cacti. It runs through Dec. 31st.

After the Botanical Garden, head over to the Cleveland Museum of Art for their Winter Lights Lantern Displays. Even though I missed the Procession of Lights during Holiday CircleFest, the Environment of Lights installation in Wade Oval is on view through this Sunday, Dec. 18.  The 5 indoor lantern displays will continue inside of the Museum of Art until January 16.

And for those who haven’t gotten their fill of ice skating at Progressive Field or in the Metroparks, there’s always the Rink at Wade Oval Circle. It’s free if you bring your own skates, $3 for skate rentals.


As the season wraps up, I have to remind myself to relax and go out and enjoy these seasonal festivities. I hope you also find some free time this holiday – whether it’s enjoying the outdoors at one of these events or inside with a warming hot chocolate or glass of wine.

Check out Parts 1-3 of All I Want for Cleve-Mas 2011:

Pictures from universitycircle.org, cleveland.indians.mlb.com, clemetzoo.com, clemetparks.com and clevelandart.org.

Falling Into Fall with Cleveland Botanical Garden and Halloweekends

We kicked Fall off with a Harvest and Halloweekend - visiting both Cedar Point and the Cleveland Botanical Garden's RIPE Fest.

My favorite season of the year is finally here. 

If I hadn’t looked at the calendar last week to see Fall had arrived, this weekend’s fluctuating weather would have clued me in. To celebrate the changing colors and crisp air, Scott and I had two days full of Fall fun.

We started it off with our favorite tradition of the season — Boeckling’s Banquet at Cedar Point. Three years ago, when the amusement resort moved its headquarters from the original administration building that Cedar Point legend G.A. Boeckling built, the old building was transformed into a new haunted house – the Boeckling Estate

Don't worry -- the Boeckling Estate "Kitchen" isn't really where they prepared our delicious halloween feast.

When you first approach the gray limestone covered in ivy, you see how perfectly the building fits its new role of haunted mansion.  During the evening on Halloweekends, guests are led through the haunted house with plenty of scares.  However, those park visitors looking for a special thrill can experience the house early with a fine dining feast known as Boeckling’s Banquet.

Scott and I have been attending and enjoying Boeckling’s Banquet for the last two years. When my sister planned on visiting Cleveland this weekend, that was the first thing on our agenda.

On Saturday, the banquet started at 12:30 so we arrived as the park opened. This gave us just enough time to ride Raptor and this year’s newest attraction Wind Seeker before making our way to Boeckling Estate for lunch.

In addition to the ghouls, this little guy was my dining companion for the Boeckling's Banquet.

As we approached the house, we were welcomed by Mr. Boeckling’s recently reanimated servants: Lucious, the Butler, and Sara Piano, Mistress of the House. They took us on a behind the scenes tour of the house where we met other ghoulish servants.

Without the fog and strobe lights of the haunted house, you really get to enjoy the detail that went into putting the attraction together. Although you may miss the creepy little nuances while someone jumps out at you – like the eyes painted into the wallpaper or a looming giraffe head in the game room, they are all there to see during the Boeckling’s Banquet tour.

The tour winds through the building to the house’s dining room. A lavish table is set up in the center of the room, decked with “rotting” centerpieces and cobwebs. After we were all seated, we were invited to dig into a fresh salad of greens topped with strawberries, oranges and coconut. The small vial of berry vinaigrette (or was it blood?) was a nice added touch. 

Lobster Tail and Filet Mignon at Cedar Point? Believe it! (And it was delicious)

After finishing off the salads, our main entree was served. Scott and I both opted for the Lobster Tail + Petit Filet Mignon dish (other menu choices included Crab Legs; Shrimp, Scallop and Lobster Alfredo; and a Char-Grilled Filet Mignon). As appetizing as the other options sound, Scott and I order the Lobster Tail and Petit Filet Mignon every year.

I always say Cedar Point does the best park food, but this meal tops anything else you’ll find in the park. The lobster is flavorful and the filet mignon cooked to order, very tender and juicy. Each dish is also accompanied by a plate of aspargus and twice-baked potato with a cripsy cheese wafer.

If these ample servings weren’t enough (trust me, they are – even Scott couldn’t finish his meal), the banquet is finished with a slice of chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling. It’s garnished with chocolate sticks and a flat piece of white chocolate with the Eerie Estate logo printed on it. Although I loved the presentation of last year’s dessert (a white chocolate skull filled with strawberry mousse), the taste of this one trumped it.

The third annual Boeckling's Banquest was finished off with a rich slice of chocolate mousse cake.

After bidding fond farewells to the always hospitable ghouls of Boeckling Estate, it was time to ride coasters. We first hit up Iron Dragon, Gemini and Magnum. Then we turned to the big guns.

One of the to-do items on my 30 by 30 list was a ride on Top Thrill Dragster. I am not a fan of heights so I’ve vehemently avoided riding the 420-ft Dragster for years. Not on Saturday though. After an anxious 45 minute wait, I rode it — and loved it (even with my eyes open)! My favorite part was the drop down. I was amazed how close you wind around the yellow beams of the coaster (and how that didn’t scare me).

After all that food, it was time for Top Thrill Dragster.

As with any of our Halloweekend visits, we finished our long day with a nighttime ride on Millennium Force (nothing beats zooming through the fog in the dark) and a walk through the Terror Island maze. It’s the last year for the haunted-pirate-walkthrough, with next year’s Dinosaurs Alive taking over the little island under Millennium Force.

Halloweekends runs until October 30. Boeckling’s Banquet is held Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. with the Boeckling Brunch on Sundays at 12:30 p.m. (advance reservations are required by calling 419.627.2242).  You can check out this year’s Halloweekend scares, as well as the family friendly festivities online. 

One of my favorite things about the Cleveland Botanical Garden is the opportunity to get up close to beautiful butterflies like these.

After Saturday’s day of thrills, we switched gears on Sunday with a relaxing afternoon at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. As always, the gardens and glasshouse were absolutely stunning. I love seeing not just the flora but the fauna of the butterflies, birds and tortoises.  We even caught a glimpse of a sleeping hedgehog.

In addition to enjoying the beautiful gardens, we took in the second annual RIPE! Fest. Last year we attended the inaugural celebration of Northeast Ohio’s local food and edible gardening scene, which you can read about here.

This year’s visit to RIPE started with a culinary demonstration from The Greenhouse Tavern’s Chef Jonathan Seeholzer and Sous Chef Jennifer Plank.

The hog butchery demo was a highlight of RIPE, and made me hungry for bacon.

The topic of the demo was hog butchery. From whole hog to its core, we got to see the skilled chefs from Greenhouse strip the animal. As part of Greenhouse’s mission of sustainability, we learned how they don’t let any part of the animal go to waste in the restaurant and use hogs from local, humane farms.

Scott and I were both impressed by how deftly they handled the hefty hog. And while we probably won’t be throwing a pig roast anytime soon, we picked up a number of good tips for selecting and slicing meat. We also got to sample a small bite of pate filled with bacon.

We ended our visit by perusing the culinary and gardening marketplace, tasting a delicious slice of beet with goat cheese from The Market Cafe and Wine Bar and picking up an apple pie from Avon Lake’s Humble Pie Baking Company.

As it starts to get cold out, the Cleveland Botanical Garden's Costa Rica Glasshouse is the perfect escape.

Although yesterday’s weather was more fitting for a summer day (I probably shouldn’t have unpacked my sweaters just yet), our Halloweekend and harvest fare put us all in the mood for Fall.

Cedar Point Halloweekends 411: 

Cleveland Botanical Garden 411:

Guest Post – Orchid Mania: Purple Reign comes to the Cleveland Botanical Garden

One of the things I enjoy about Clue Into Cleveland is when someone offers to share their CLE experiences with me.  So, when my friend Elizabeth asked if she could write about the Botanical Garden’s Orchid Mania show, I immediately said yes.

You may remember Elizabeth from her previous Clue Into Cleveland contributions: People-Watching Spots in Coventry and Celebrating Jewish Culture at the Maltz Museum. You can also follow her on Twitter @egrepp and @cleyogi. With our shared love of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, having her write this was a natural fit. Enjoy!

– Amanda


I love Orchids and I love the Cleveland Botanical Garden. When I discovered that the annual event Orchid Mania: Purple Reign was happening while a friend would be visiting it seemed serendipitous. I made an executive decision to Cleveland Botanical Gardensvisit while she was here. I then begged Amanda to write about it, even though she just wrote an entry about the place last month. She kindly appeased me. I visited with my out of town friend the first weekend in March.

The Botanical Garden was much more crowded then it has been during previous visits; a true testament to the popularity of the annual happening. The lobby of the Botanical Garden was filled with a temporary display of different types of orchids. Orchids littered both permanent exhibits in a photographer’s heaven. In fact, there were many people wandering the gardens with fancy cameras. Ours was not nearly as fancy but even an amateur photographer can get beautiful shots because the flowers are featured seamlessly in the exhibits. I absolutely loved the new twist and ascetic achieved through the addition of the lovely Orchids.

Anyone who is a member of the Cleveland Botanical Garden can participate in the sale of Orchids after the event. Color me jealous! Sadly, I’ve killed two Orchids in the past four years. After seeing more of these amazing plants, I was determined to give it another go; hoping that I really haven’t inherited my mother’s “black thumb”.

Luckily, there were vendors selling plants and even a glass greenhouse. Those who were participating were Borlin’s Orchids, Carter’s Greenhouse, Windswept in Time, Storehouse Tea Company and Boko Botanicals. I tried some of the tea from Storehouse and will be purchasing some of their tea from their website. I stopped by Borlin’s Orchids display, confessed my poor luck with previous flowers and asked what they’d recommend for someone like me. I spoke with a very knowledgeable gentleman. I am almost positive it was the owner Louis, who went through all of my different options. I opted for a kind that needs less watering. I must admit I don’t remember the type but I was told if I take good care of it that it will flower in another six months. So, I am crossing my fingers that in 6 months I will have taken good enough care of little Olivia that she’ll give me some more flowers!

I would highly suggest visiting the Cleveland Botanical Gardens during this event, even if Orchids aren’t your “thing.” Orchid Mania extends through the end of March. Hours for the Botanical Garden are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and they are closed on Mondays. Adults are $8.50 and children are $3.00.


Have a Cleveland adventure you’d like to share on Clue Into Cleveland? Tweet me @ADHicken or send me an email at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com.


Cleveland Botanical Garden 411:

Cleveland Botanical Gardens: Escaping The Cold with a Touch of Spring

From the whimsical Hershey Children's Garden to the Elizabeth and Nona Evans Restorative Garden and the Sears-Swetland Rose Garden, there is plenty to explore outside at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

If my love for Cleveland Indians Snow Days was any indication, I am very fond of winter. While it’s not my favorite season (Fall holds that title), I like it a lot more than allergy-ridden Spring.  However, with all the snow and ice this past week, there have been moments where I’ve caught myself daydreaming about warmer days with flowers in bloom.

That’s when I remind myself I can venture over to University Circle and visit the Cleveland Botanical Garden. With ten acres of outdoor gardens and the 18,000 sq. ft. Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, the Conservatory has been dedicated for 75 years to its mission of  improving quality of life in urban environments through gardening, horticulture and environmental education. The best part? It’s open all year long.

The gardens are so beautifully designed and expertly maintained – more than anything I could ever dream of in my own backyard. Of course, if it’s a day like yesterday, a trip to the Botanical Garden’s Glasshouse transports guests to warmer locales such as the spiny desert of Madagascar and the cloud forest of Costa Rica.  These authentic recreations of two of the earth’s most fragile ecosystems house over 350 species of plants and 50 species of animals.

A trip to the Botanical Garden's Glasshouse transports guests to warmer locales filled with plants and animals such as this butterfly.

One of my favorite visits to the Botanical Garden was actually not for the flowers.  This past September, the Cleveland Botanical Garden hosted their first RIPE! Food & Garden Festival – a weekend-long celebration of Northeast Ohio’s local food and edible gardening revolution.  In attendance were local farms such as Patterson’s Fruit Farm, Ohio City Farm and Snowville Creamery, restaurants and stores such as Fire, AMP 150 and Heinen’s, advocacy groups and even local brewery Indigo Imp (who made a special harvest brew for RIPE).

While sampling absolutely delicious fare, Scott, I and the rest of the guests learned a lot about the local food movement and gardening for food from demonstrations such as ‘Homemade Mozzarella Making,’ ‘Grass-Fed Beef Preparation,’ ‘Backyard Pizza Gardens,’ and ‘Fermenting.’  Moving beyond the traditional role of a botanical garden, the RIPE! Festival really highlighted the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s goal to educate visitors about how a healthy relationship between plants and humans benefits our local environment.


At this Fall’s RIPE! Festival, local farms and businesses such as Snowville Creamery helped the Cleveland Botanical Garden educate the region on the local food and edible gardening movements.

The Botanical Garden features special events and exhibitions throughout the year. The next major one is Orchid Mania, their annual ode to one of nature’s most fascinating plants. In its 8th year, the 2011 Orchid Mania festival runs February 26th – March 27th and will feature orchids of all colors, shapes, sizes and patterns throughout the gardens and in the Glasshouse. This year’s theme is Purple Reign, not just a playful pun on the Prince song but also a nod to the prevailing color of the ‘queen of all flowers.’

The notion of royalty will be further highlighted at the festival’s French and Funky Preview Party on February 25th from 6-8pm. Guests will not just be able to see the orchids before the show opens to the public, but sample french food prepared by local chefs. If the coupling of plants and food is anything like it was at RIPE!, it’ll be well worth the ticket price.

Cleveland Botanical Garden 411: