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A Living Museum of Trees and Shrubs - The Arboretum at Ohio Living Llanfair

Posted on June 14, 2017 in Active Aging, Community Care

Most first time visitors to the Ohio Living Llanfair campus are surprised at the abundance of trees and green spaces contained in the lushly landscaped 14 acres. Located in College Hill, Cincinnati’s northernmost neighborhood, Ohio Living Llanfair is perched at the top of one of Cincinnati’s famous seven hills. The three buildings on the campus sit surrounded by gently rolling hills, shaded pathways, and surprise gardens and sculptures.

What’s an Arboretum?

Typically, an arboretum is a collection of a wide variety of plantings including flowering trees and shrubs, as well as bulb and perennial displays. Some call them quiet havens or nature’s oasis.

In 2015, a team of resident master gardeners began the process of seeking accreditation to designate the grounds surrounding the life plan community as an arboretum.

With so many unique plantings on Ohio Living Llanfair’s greenspace, they applied for and received, a certified designation as a Level 1 accredited Arboretum through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program.

Why would Ohio Living Llanfair receive such a designation? You have to go back to the turn of the 19th century and take a look at the history of the College Hill neighborhood to better understand just how this unique grouping of trees and shrubs came to be in this location.

College Hill’s history at one time hosted five colleges. Farmer’s College, begun in 1846, was the first agriculture college in America and emphasized a practical, hands-on style as its course of instruction. Ohio Living Llanfair’s current campus acreage abuts the experimental gardens developed by instructors at the Farmer’s College. Our location also converges on the site of the Bahmann Estate which boasted rare coveted plantings and a pond.

Today the collection has over 60 species of trees, including oak, poplar, walnut, maple, ash and hickory. One, the Spindletree, has been designated as an Ohio Champion by the Ohio Forestry Association. Each of the trees on campus has been tagged with a permanent label with its Latin designation and commonly known name. Ohio Living Llanfair strives to honor that rich green space history by preserving our mature plantings, and planning for replacement and additions for the future. As a not-for-profit life plan community, the Arboretum is funded by an endowment for the Ohio Living Llanfair Greenspace Preservation and Beautification Fund along with other generous donations.

Nature’s role in connecting residents and visitors to campus

“As a Masterpiece Living community, our whole person wellness philosophy, Ohio Living Llanfair helps create a lifestyle designed to help adults live more successfully by fostering the continued growth of their physical, intellectual, social and spiritual selves,” explained Jean Morgan, executive director Ohio Living Llanfair. “Nature and our outdoor space is an important component of the Masterpiece Living lifestyle.”

Gardens and green space connect us to the natural world through conservation and preservation. Just as zoos educate people about animals and their habitats and preserving endangered species, arboretums too offer space to protect and educate. On a life plan campus, another vital role is to provide a pleasing place for residents and their families to visit and enjoy. “Green space is important not only for the physical health,” explained Jean Morgan, “but also for the spiritual and emotional health of individuals. It helps us all to be connected with our environment.”

Trees help us relax, feel cooler, make our streets quieter and our cities safer. Trees give us oxygen, make us healthier, but most of all, trees surround us in beauty. Green in summer, colorful in the fall, and dominant in the winter landscape, trees benefit us all.

Garden clubs, horticultural organizations and schools are welcome to tour the Ohio Living Llanfair Arboretum by appointment. Please note, some parts of the 14-acre campus are not handicap accessible. To learn more or to schedule a visit, please call 513.681.4230.