Pumpkins Aglow, Harvest Blooms Bring Festive Fall Fun to Franklin Park Conservatory

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One of two pumpkin houses that visitors to the Franklin Park Conservatory are invited to explore this fall. Credit: Courtesy of Sam Gugliemotto

The exterior gardens and courtyards of the Franklin Park Conservatory have undergone a fall makeover.

The conservatory’s annual fall exhibit, Harvest Blooms, which will be open until Oct. 31, features thousands of pumpkins, flowers and ornamental vegetables, said Amanda Bettin, deputy director of horticulture at the conservatory. . In the evening, the exhibition transforms into Pumpkins Aglow, a special event with luminous lanterns and thematic light shows, according to the conservatory. website.

Bettin, a 2007 Ohio State alumnus, said the conservatory takes a thoughtful and detailed approach when designing the Harvest Blooms display each year. She said employees are focused on bringing in the familiar fall colors and plants that Ohioans know and love.

“It really is the art of the garden for us, and we know it shows up every time visitors come to see our different facilities,” said Bettin. “So when it comes to fall and harvest mixes, we use our palette of pumpkins, mums, cabbages, kale, pansies, straw bales and forage shocks and everything. what “falls” to paint a beautiful garden for our visitors. “

Bettin said the exhibit includes seven major installations, with many smaller-scale exhibits scattered throughout the gardens. She said Harvest Blooms, which was on display on September 25, is far from a one-stop-shop and, instead, forces visitors to explore the gardens in order to fully experience it.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is its two pumpkin houses, one of which is 10 feet tall and has over 350 pumpkins.

“There are all kinds of different pumpkins on it, and it’s like stepping into a magical fairyland,” Bettin said.

At 5 p.m. on certain days, the outdoor gardens that are home to Harvest Blooms transform into Pumpkins Aglow, a nighttime celebration filled with shows, food vendors, light lanterns and more, Karin Noecker, director of horticulture and exhibits at the conservatory, said.

In preparation for the event, Noecker said that starting Monday, conservatory staff and volunteers will prune 250 pumpkins a week for three weeks. The pumpkins are themed to suit the variety of experiences the conservatory has created for Pumpkins Aglow, including a large pumpkin patch and a witch-themed area.

“All of our staff, whether you’re in the marketing department or the events department, you know, everyone sculpts,” Noecker said.

Bettin said she hopes visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience some magic when they come to visit the conservatory gardens this fall.

“The technology around you and the noise of the world we live in, physically, literally, can all be calmed down by taking a moment in a beautiful garden,” said Bettin. “I think we could all benefit from spending more time outdoors, whether it’s at the conservatory or in a subway park, or, you know, anywhere. Spending time outdoors is good for the soul.

Harvest Blooms will be on display until October 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is included in admission to the conservatory. General admission to the conservatory is $ 19, but Ohio State students can purchase admission to the conservatory through D-Tix for $ 7.

A separate ticket is required for the Pumpkins Aglow Party, which runs Wednesday through Sunday evening over the next three weeks. Tickets are $ 22 for general admission to the exhibit, and admission for university students is $ 19.

More information on Harvest Blooms and Pumpkins Aglow can be found at the conservatory website.

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