The Mission Oaks Gardens Conifer Grove is located in a residential neighborhood in Zanesville, Ohio. It is a large and widely varied collection of conifers, and also contains numerous unusual broad-leaved trees. The grove is located in a secluded serene setting with a waterfall, pond and benches that provide an ideal setting for relaxing, calming the spirit, and appreciating the beauty of nature.
Conifer Grove Diversity
The Conifer Grove contains more than 200 conifers and 70 non-conifers that are native to many continents and climatic environments.
The conifers represent nearly 60 species within 22 genera, which is nearly one-third of the 68 conifer genera recognized worldwide. The wide diversity is partially attributable to the presence of the contrasting clay and well-drained soils and also the adventurous planting attitude of “let’s try it.”
The genera Picea (spruce) and Pinus (pines) are well represented in the grove due to their world-wide diversity and number of species. But there are also many examples of less well-known genera including Cryptomeria, Cunninghamia and Thujopsis. Appearance wise, all CONifers have CONes. In addition, conifer trees have needles, or sometimes scales or awls, in lieu of broad leaves found on oaks, maples, ashes, etc.
The 70 non-coniferous trees represent 42 species and 31 genera. The Conifer Grove includes numerous pure species of trees, but there are also many natural and cultivated varieties that demonstrate the large variances within a single species.
A list of the trees in the Conifer Garden is available from the Muskingum Valley Park District located at 1720 Euclid Ave., Zanesville, OH 43701. (740) 455-8237.
Development of the Conifer Grove by the Mission Oaks Foundation began in 2003 after two private parcels were purchased and the city opened the alley from Hunter Street into the grove.
Preparation of the area required removal of many truckloads of trash. A large storm sewer ditch was replaced with a buried pipe, and then the pond and rustic waterfall were constructed.
Planting of trees in the Conifer Grove began in 2004, and the grove was first opened to the public in 2005.
On the path into the Conifer Grove from Hunter Street a few pieces of clay tile are still visible. This northwest bank was a tile shard dump used by the AE Tile Company in the 1920’s. This extensive base of tile, covered by a shallow layer of soil, provides an excellent planting site for plants that require well-drained soil. “Well-drained soil” is rare in the Zanesville area, which used to be noted as the pottery capital of the world due to the high clay content of the soil.
Conifer Grove Volunteer Partners
Muskingum Valley Park District
Muskingum County Master Gardeners
Muskingum Valley Garden Society
Schroeder Dodds, Conifer Grove project consultant and forester
Jeff Bowman, conifer consultant and curator of the Dawes Arboretum conifer collection
Mission Oaks Garden
Hunter Ave., Zanesville, OH 43701