Thursday, August 28, 2014
8am – 6pm

Admission: $49 per person – (Registration ends August 25, 2014)
Includes program, parking, Zoo entry, lunch, snacks, tours, social hour & plant silent auction

Doors Open 8AM, Program Starts 9AM. Social Hour 5PM-6PM

Student Discount: $25.00, Call 513-559-7767 to Register
Sponsorships: Call Allison Gibbs at 513-487-3327

Event Description

IMG_1286A celebration of great plants for landscapes and gardens during the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s fourth annual Plant Trials Day!

During this day-long program, we will share the results of our trialing program with industry professionals, Master Gardeners, garden clubs and interested homeowners. In addition to trialing results, guests will enjoy educational presentations from leading industry experts.

What Are They Up To at The Zoo?

The gardens at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden are extensive and wide ranging. Rain gardens, native plants, food gardens, containers, exhibits, projects, innovative hardscape materials and an audience of 1.4 million visitors a year lead to the use of all types of trees and shrubs, vines, perennials and grasses, tulips, annual trials, common plants and rare. All this horticultural effort is always planned with a strategic eye toward demonstrating to us, the industry, and the home gardener how to garden and landscape better.

Thank You Sponsors!










My Mentors in Horticulture – Roy Klehm

Legendary American planstman Roy Klehm will talk about some of his key mentors and the contributions they made to horticulture….people like Brother Charles, Bob Griesbach, Chub Harper, Ed Hasselkus, Sir Peter Smithers, Bill Kreckler and Sam Wissing. Great photos and interesting stories.

Exciting New Plants for Today’s Gardens – Bill HendricksIMG_0124

As one of North America’s largest and most progressive nurseries, the Klyn Nursery catalog is a treasure trove of hard to find plants. Bill will mine that catalog for his favorite new plants that offer great potential for landscapers and gardeners. Look for a few previews of great plants to come! 

Proven Perennials – Richard Hawke

Hundreds of new perennials are introduced each year. Whether the plants bring excitement or disappointment depends in part on a rigorous evaluation process before IMG_1697introduction. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen so landscapers and gardeners are left to sort it out, often with discouraging results. Regional trials perform a valuable service by evaluating perennials being marketed to a wide geographical audience but that might not be suitable locally. A selection of proven perennials from the Chicago Botanic Garden’s comparative trials will be highlighted. 

When Pretty Isn’t Enough: Comparative Trials at Chicago Botanic Garden Richard Hawke

Field observation, years of experience and a passion for plants—all blend together in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Evaluation Program. For 30 years, this program has been dedicated to the scientific study of herbaceous and woody plants. Richard Hawke will share how plants are evaluated and what plants are best based on their ratings for ornamental quality, cultural adaptability, winter hardiness, and pest resistance. 

Virtual Tour of the Raker Trial Gardens – Susie Raker

Sponsored by Eason Horticultural Resources

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The Raker Trial Gardens offer over five acres of row trials, sponsored showcase beds, hanging basket trials, and beautifully landscaped grounds. The 2014 Raker Trial Gardens contain over 2,100 unique plant varieties and well over 65,000 individual plants. The Gardens’ purpose is to provide valuable trial information to the horticulture industry.  Join Susie for a colorful presentation about past top performers and some new plant varieties to be on the look-out for in 2015.

Design Begins With Knowing Plant Material – Steve Foltz

Using the new Africa Exhibit as an example, Steve will highlight the opportunities presented for using the best and most appropriate plant material. This will include fighting the good fight for horticultural needs in the early stages to lessons learned developing good, rich beds, but mostly the talk will argue that good plant knowledge, and taking advantage of good opportunities to trial new plants with high potential, is ultimately key to making it all work.   

The Zoo’s Best – Steve Foltz and Kyra Back

Steve Foltz and Kyra Back will team up to present which plants from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s massive collection continue to be the very best. From large

trees on down, you’ll be treated to some new plants, some undiscovered plants, and some tried and true performers that excel in our climate and tough urban soil. There will be some surprises!

Small Trees, Maximum Beauty for Minimal Spaces – Scott Beuerlein

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In the typically smaller modern garden, small trees fill many roles, up to and including casting needed shade in some cases.  This talk will catalog beautiful, easy to grow diminutive trees that can fit into almost any garden situation.


Roy Klehm is co-owner of Beaver Creek Nursery and Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery. He has extensively hybridized and introduced herbaceous and woody peonies and tetraploid daylilies.


Roy has also selected and introduced some of the trade’s best woody plants from the genera Celtis, Hamamelis, Fothergilla, Tilia, Cornus, Spiraea, Amelanchier, Thuja, and Magnolia. He has received awards from the Perennial Plant Association, American Horticulture Society, Garden Writer Association, American Peony Society, Illinois Landscape Contractor Association. Roy is an avid photographer and is married with three children and seven grandchildren.

Since 1987 to the present Bill Hendricks has been the President of Klyn Nurseries, Inc. He is a member of the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association, serving as Chairman of Short Course Program Committee and past member of the Plant Selection Committee.


Bill is a member of the American Nursery & Landscape Association; Nursery Growers of Lake County, Ohio; International Plant Propagators Society; American Bamboo Society; and International Ornamental Crabapple Society. He is past President of the Lake County Nurserymen’s Association and Board Member of the Scenic Ohio Board of Trustees. Hendricks served on the review boards for publications including “Handbook of Landscape Tree Cultivars” by Willett Wandell; “Street Tree Facts Sheets” edited by Penn State University, and “Landscape Plants for Ohio” published by the ONLA.

He taught a plant material course at Cleveland State University, Division of Continuing Education from 1972 to 1992 and lectures regularly throughout the Mid West. Bill and his wife Nancy received the Friend of the Master Gardeners Award for Ohio in 2008. He is the recipient of the ONLA Distinguished Contribution Award. Awarded the 1998 Associated Green Industries “Person of the Year”.

Since 1986, Richard Hawke has been the Plant Evaluation Manager at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and is responsible for the comparative evaluation of over 1,200 taxa of herbaceous and woody plants.


The Plant Evaluation Program is one of the largest and most diverse in the nation, and received the Award for Program Excellence from the American Public Garden Association in 2008. 

Richard has a horticulture degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of  Plant Evaluation Notes, a periodic Chicago Botanic Garden publication reporting the results of     evaluation trials. Richard is an instructor for the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, and in 2005, received the Perennial Plant Association’s Academic Award for teaching excellence. Richard is an author and contributing editor for Fine Gardening, and writes for other horticulture publications such as Perennial Plants, The American Gardener, Chicagoland Gardening, and Nursery Management.

Susie Raker-Zimmermanis the marketing and product support manager at C. Raker and Sons, Inc. Since graduating from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Horticulture, she has worked for a number of industry leaders as well as held countless positions in her families business. Her multi-faceted experience includes greenhouse, laboratory, and front office positions. 


In her current role with her family’s business, Susie leads all aspects of program management from plant selection to pricing.  Susie lives on a small lake near the greenhouses with her husband, Matt and daughter, Nora.

Steve Foltz has a long career in Cincinnati horticulture, beginning his career at Delhi Garden Centers and now serving as Director of Horticulture at the Zoo. He has a B.S. in Horticulture from the University of Kentucky.


He is now an adjunct professor at both the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State. He serves on the board of the Ohio Invasive Plant Council and is deeply involved with many and various horticultural organizations in the city, the state, and the region. Steve gives talks regularly, has written many articles for trade and gardening magazines, and is highly regarded for his depth of plant knowledge of everything from Angelonia to Zelkova.

Kyra Back, Overseer of Nurseries and Display Beds,  is a 22 year veteran of Horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. She earned her degree in Horticulture in 1991 from Temple University.

Scott Beuerlein is a horticulturist at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. He is an ONLA Certified Landscape Technician and an ISA Certified Arborist. Scott is Chairman of the Taking Root tree planting campaign,  Chairman of the Northern Kentucky Urban and Community Forestry Council , and Vice President of the Cincinnati Flower Growers Association. He writes the South Ohio Regional Report for State by State’s Ohio Gardener, and has written articles for Ohio Gardener and American Nurseryman magazines. Scott is also involved with