The Woodland Garden
The Idea Sprouts
In August 2010, a two-acre weedy section of forest was selected as the future Woodland Garden. The hard-working staff at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve had to remove the non-native plants and prepare the landscape. Then, along with volunteers, including Oldham County Master Gardeners and Jefferson County Master Gardeners, cardboard sheets were layered and covered with wood chips. Thanks to Eagle Scouts, paths were designed, benches were placed, and arched bridges were built.
It has taken several years of fine-tuning the “natural” spring, stream, waterfall, pond and peat bog, but they are the centerpieces of this beautiful garden.
The Garden Takes Shape
A Woodland Garden is a layered garden. Rising from decaying leaves and rich soil are colorful wildflowers, ferns and shrubs. Above is the delicate understory tree layer that gives way to the tallest, multi-branched canopy that filters sunlight and shades the forest beneath.
The Woodland Garden at the Nature Preserve is a work in progress. Just as a painter may add new layers of paint and new features on a canvas, so too, are we adding new plants and visitor-friendly features. The garden offers meandering paths, benches, a stream leading to a waterfall, a pond, and a large peat bog.
Mimicking a natural woodland, the Woodland Garden Team has planted over 5,000 plants with more to come.
New plantings include:
200 species of wildflowers
110 species of ferns
54 species of shrubs and trees
Groupings of plants have been identified with labels that list the scientific and common names. This helps visitors readily identify plants that may be used in home garden settings.
(Sanguinaria canadensis) is an early spring wildflower with beautiful white flowers.
(Asarum canadense) serves as a luscious ground cover once established.
“Lady in Red” Lady Fern
(Athryium filix-femina) offers color and interest through three seasons.
(Mertensia virginica) forms colorful and pleasing colonies and brings a pop of blue and pink to the spring landscape.
(Polystichum acrosti-choides) is one of the best native evergreen ferns for the garden.
Weddings & Special Events
At all times of day and in all seasons, the peace and beauty of the Woodland Garden is captivating. It makes people stop in their tracks to listen to the babbling brook, look at the delicate blossoms and textures of sunlight and leaves, even listen to the tapping of a woodpecker. From its inception, the garden attracted special events, especially as a place to share a ceremony.
Click here to learn more about weddings in the Woodland Garden.
Education and Garden Tours
The Woodland Garden is used as part of Creasey Mahan’s educational programs. School field trips learn the benefits of native plants and how Native Americans used plants for ceremonial, medicinal, and every day uses.
Garden enthusiasts and clubs from all over the region have enjoyed guided tours of the garden. The plant labels help novice and advanced gardeners identify plants they may want to introduce in their home gardens.
Guided tours are available upon request. Please email the office to request a date.