- Clary Gardens enters its 21st year with a busy summer season. The community botanical garden is at 588 W. Chestnut St.
- Children’s programming is on Tuesdays with the theme of Harry Potters for the 25th anniversary of the book series.
- Other highlights include a falconry show on June 14, butterfly exhibit June 28 to July 2 and musical “Godspell” July 1 to 3 and 7 to 9.
- Work will be done around the pavilion this year to install a pond and improve access.
COSHOCTON — Clary Gardens is in full bloom.
The approximate 20 acres of ground at 588 W. Chestnut St. features two historic homes, a natural amphitheater, rose garden with gazebo, children’s garden, walking path, event pavilion and more. It’s in its 21st year.
Jandi Adams has been executive director of Clary Gardens for seven years. She said children’s programming, especially in the summer, is a priority. The theme of current youth programming is Harry Potter to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” being released.
The focus is magical elements in nature and learning about various ecosystems present in Ohio. This will include exploring onsite woodlands, creeks, ponds and stone outcroppings and activities in the children’s garden, amphitheater and pavilion.
Regular youth classes are divided into preschool to second grade from 9:30 to 10:30 am and third grade and up from 10 to 11 am Tuesdays. Classes are $1 per child per class.
Jodi Shrimplin, head gardener and education coordinator, said the youth programming is crucial to introducing kids to the wonders of nature. Some have never explored the outdoors before.
“We have a lot of options, even if you can’t make the children’s programs, to bring kids up here. We have the children’s garden, woods, creek; kids who aren’t exposed to creeks and stuff can go out in the woods and get their feet wet,” Shrimplin said. “We have all different opportunities for the community.”
Summer highlights include visits from Midwest Falconry at 10 am and noon June 14 and a butterfly exhibit by Fran LeMasters from 10 am to 4 pm June 28 to July 2 and noon to 4 pm July 3. Both have visited Clary Gardens before.
It’s also the second summer Rogue Elephant Productions will be offering an outdoor musical in the amphitheater. “Godspell” will be July 1 to 3 and 7 to 9. There is a charge for premium seating, but general admission is free.
“We’re just excited to get as many people at the gardens as possible. We try to offer free programs to bring them out, so they get exposed to the gardens. Once you’re here once, it’s usually not the only time you come,” Shrimplin said. “You wind up coming back, becoming a part and possibly a member of the gardens.”
Even though there is a lot going on at Clary Gardens this summer, Adams said there will be break to the action in July as work is done around the pavilion installed last year for special events and weddings receptions. Paths will be improved leading up the pavilion, including handicap accessibility, and a pond with waterfall will be erected. More work is scheduled in November that will include creating another wedding venue and a grand staircase.
“It’s part of the master plan for our event space,” Adams said. “It’s something the board has wanted to do for a while and I’ve wanted to get more access to the space. I’m booking all these weddings, we’re doing all these community events out there and it’s not been as accessible as I’ve wanted.”
For more information, go to clarygardens.org.
Leonard Hayhurst is a community content coordinator and general news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with close to 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @llhayhurst.