By James Natsis
The forthcoming scheduled groundbreaking of the long-awaited Waterfront Botanical Gardens at River Road and Frankfort Avenue will mark the advent of a new era in Louisville Metro as the new botanical gardens project joins ranks with the long-established Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, an internationally recognized center of gardening, plants and education.
Located in Crestwood, Ky., in neighboring Oldham County, Yew Dell recently was featured in Southern Living magazine, and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Preservation Partner Project of the Garden Conservancy, a national nonprofit dedicated to saving the country’s most exceptional gardens.
In 1941, Theodore and Martha Lee Klein began with 33 acres of clear-cut farmland and patiently cultivated extensive gardens and an arboretum on the grounds while adding personally crafted buildings. The grounds were originally known as Yew Dell Farms.
A board of community volunteers raised funds to purchase the property following Theodore’s death in 1998. The nonprofit Yew Dell Gardens was created in 2002, and additional nearby acreage was added to attain the present total of 60 acres. The name recently was changed to the current, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, to better reflect the exquisite setting.
“We are an excellent resource for gardeners,” says marketing and events director Jackie Gulbe during Insider’s recent visit to the site. “It’s a great place for all to visit — a little something for everyone.”
Yew Dell is included on Louisville Metro’s Cultural Pass, which allows school children and an accompanying adult a free visit to various sites during the summer when school is out. There are other summer and year-round events for young children, including the Halloween Boo Dell when kids trick-or-treat along the Trail-o-Treats that winds along the colorful grounds during the peak autumn season.
For gardeners, the layout of the plants and vast attention to labeling offer insight on how and where to grow various species. The annual plant sale and garden market held during the last weekend in April is an opportunity to acquire some of the best, newest and time-tested plants available.
And the state-of-the art greenhouse facility is designed for plant production and propagation, display and educational programs.
The Mary F. Rounsavall Pavilion hosts weddings and other special events, and the visitor center and gift shop, housed in a historic tobacco barn, serve as a welcome point and locale to pick up orientation materials and purchase a membership or any of the garden-related merchandise or children’s gifts.
During the current summer/fall period, Yew Dell is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. The grounds are closed Mondays.
Here’s a more in-depth look at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens: