Krohn Conservatory exists somewhere beyond the natural boundaries of place and season, in a space where marigolds spring up in the dying days of fall and tulips bloom well before the dawn of spring. It’s no small feat to make such floral miracles happen. But the jewel of Eden Park has an ace up its sleeve: a nursery that supplies nearly 40,000 potted plants to local parks each year.
Formerly part of a farm in Finneytown, Warder Nursery was donated to the Cincinnati Park Board in the 1930s and converted over the years to produce a city’s worth of greenery. In its heyday, the nursery produced all the plants for Cincinnati Parks, according to Krohn Conservatory Manager Mark House. By the 1960s, when it was no longer cost effective to grow all of the parks’ trees and shrubs locally, Warder pivoted to greenhouse work exclusively. It’s still a mammoth undertaking for a team of just two horticulturists, who tend to thousands of potted plants each year to keep up with demand—a task that requires strict daily maintenance and expert foresight, all to make the final product look perfectly effortless.