Donation will create rose garden and tree grove at Smale Riverfront Park

Jul 15, 2014

Several generations of the Gardner family gather to announce the rose garden and tree grove to honor Jim and Joan Gardner.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The Gardner Family Foundation is donating $2.3 million to develop a portion of Smale Riverfront Park. The money will be used to create a rose garden and nearly two acre tree grove.

Peggy Johns says the Gardner Family Grove and Rose Garden is a tribute to her late father Jim.

"My father loved Cincinnati," says Johns. "Roses were a passion for him all his life. My grandfather Gardner was a prize rose grower... and my dad learned how to take care of the roses growing up, that was his chore."

Johns says the peace rose "was his favorite so I hope that we get to see a few of those bushes."

Cincinnati Parks says the grove will house a picnic terrace, a water garden and a large lawn that can be tented and rented out for special events like weddings.

More details:

The West Tree Grove will extend 1 3/4 acres along Mehring Way from the Roebling Suspension Bridge to Elm Street. More than 80 shade trees will be planted, including red oaks, pink oaks, swamp oaks, honey locust and American elm.

The 11,000 square foot Rose Garden will surround the rentable lawn space.

Artist renderings:

Credit Cincinnati Parks / Provided

Credit Cincinnati Parks / Provided

Credit Cincinnati Parks / Provided