Diane Harm Botanical Art

The Gardens in the Painting
After creating the composite art piece Diane created eight individual pieces of art for some of the gardens to be used to sell as as a package of note cards. When you see this icon Note Card shown below the art piece it indicates it is one in the set.  If you would like to purchase a set click on any one these icons.
The Twin Towers
Note Card

 The Twin Towers

The twin stone towers are the main focal point of the Grotto Gardens.  Built in the early 1900's, the towers replaced a rustic stone archway that had collapsed. The towers and the arch that joins them are the transition point between the upper and lower gardens and are next to a small waterfall known as the cascade. The towers and the stairway leading up to the arch was, and still is, a favorite photo spot.

Frank Munt Memorial Garden
Note Card

Frank Mundt Memorial Garden

This garden, aptly named for Frank Mundt, is at the intersection of Kentucky Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue where the Grotto sign is located.  In 1868, Frank Mundt, a resident veteran of the Soldiers Home and a florist by trade, began planting flowers and vines that he collected from nearby gardens in the rock walls.  His initial efforts inspired others to develop the Grotto and gardens into a destination attraction for as many as 600,000 visitors per year.

Upper Grotto Spring
Note Card

The Upper Grotto Spring

One of many springs on the grounds, this was a favorite spot to cool off in the summer.  The presence of the springs was one of the reasons the land was chosen for Central Branch.  Three of the mineral springs were converted to drinking fountains. The springs proved to be popular partly due to the belief that the minerals in the water had the ability to heal illness.

Thomas B. VanHorn
Note Card

Thomas B. VanHorn Memorial Natural Springs Garden

This Garden was named for Chaplain Budd VanHorn who laid out the administrative areas of the Central Branch Campus. The natural underground springs constantly weep through the limestone rock that is the backdrop of the garden causing a bog-like environment.  This section of the garden contains a memorial to World War I veterans.

Variegated Japanese Willows have been planted along with irises, hostas, cannas and native bog plants. In the adjoining areas, the native Bald Cypress with its distinctive knees defines the garden and a Weeping Bald Cypress has been added at the other end as a counterpoint.

Lower Grotto Spring 

Lower Grotto Spring

The lower Grotto, like the others was built around a spring to look so natural that it is hard to believe it is man-made. The Master Gardeners who maintain the gardens use it as a water source for watering plants that sprinklers don't reach.

CB Davis Memorial Boulder Garden

C. B. Davis Memorial Boulder Garden

Mr. Davis, an architect, was appointed to lay out the garden in walks, promenades and flowerbeds.

After hiding under honeysuckle for decades, wonderful boulders and a stairway were discovered. Low growing evergreens, and summer blooming sedums highlight the stone and dwarf pink snowberries are planted at the top of the stairs.

 
Tree Program Memorial Rock 

Tree Program Memorial Rock 

In 2014, thirty-two memorial trees were planted in honor of veterans and loved ones who served our country from the Revolutionary War to the present.  The names of the honorees are on the plaque.

Emma Miller memorial Garden 

Emma Miller Memorial Tranquility Garden

 Emma Miller was known as the "Little Mother of the Soldiers of the Civil War and when the Soldiers Home opened in 1867 she was transferred here.  This garden was developed to promote healing for patients, families and staff.  Humans, regardless of age or culture, generally find nature restorative.  It was designed with colors, textures and scents to produce a calming effect.  A wheel chair accessible path was added and a bench was placed in a quiet alcove where the entire peaceful Grotto can be viewed.

McPherson Boathouse Garden
Note Card

The McPherson Boathouse Garden and the
Lewis B. Gunkel Memorial Fountain

 The boathouse was part of the original gardens. This garden, with the addition of window boxes and shade plants is named for Ohio-born Major General McPherson, the highest-ranking Union officer killed in the Civil War. A boat, named the McPherson, was launched from the boathouse to row veterans and visitors on a leisurely ride around the lake. The boathouse was also sometimes called the swan house because it sheltered resident swans underneath.

The fountain in the lake replicates the fountain in original gardens. Lewis B. Gunkel, a Dayton lawyer is considered to be the person responsible for securing Dayton as the site for the Central Branch. The fountain was installed in April 2015 and was dedicated in a ceremony at the Grotto, open to the public on June 17, 2015.

Elizabeth Rohrer Memorial Butterfly Garden
Note Card

Elizabeth Rohrer Memorial Butterfly Garden

 Elizabeth Rohrer of Germantown became interested in the original gardens at the Grotto and contributed large numbers of plants from her own garden.

One of the original Grotto fountains, found on site, was brought to the garden.  No longer working, it is used as a planter and the focal point of the garden.  Stonework, nectar plants, and host plants complete the garden design and welcome one in for a closer look.

 
Purple Heart Grotto
Note Card

Joseph Guy LaPointe, Jr. Purple Heart Garden

 This garden is about heroes, and Joseph Guy LaPointe Jr. was a local hero.  As a conscientious objector and a medic, when his unit came under fire in Vietnam, he was killed shielding two wounded soldiers with his body as he tried to bring them to safety.  For his extraordinary bravery, he was the recipient of the Medal of Honor, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart medals.

 The Purple Heart is the Nation's oldest military award, introduced by George Washington in 1782.  It was lost or 150 years and was reintroduced on February 22, 1932 on the 200th Anniversary of George Washington's birth.  The medal is inscribed, "For Military Merit" and is awarded to those "wounded as a result of hostile enemy action."

Charles Beck Memorial Garden
Note Card

Charles Beck Memorial Perennial Garden

Major Beck oversaw the gardens from 1875 to 1906 and was called the architect of the original area.  In his honor, the Montgomery County Master Gardener intern class of 2013 developed this site as a lasting perennial garden.  Civil War veteran residents built the brick walkway, uncovered during the endeavor, during the late 1800's.  This was the first of the many gardens restored by the Master Gardeners.