Figworts at Fellows



Fellows Riverside Gardens (FRG) is one of the jewels of Youngstown, Ohio. Part of Mill Creek MetroParks, it sits on land gifted to the park in 1958 by Elizabeth Fellows. Fellows also created a trust to develop and care for the garden. Planting began in 1963 on twelve acres and through the years has become a world-class garden always open to the public free of charge.

FRG isn’t just a pretty place; it offers botanical education through a number of programs. Today I attended one such monthly program called Breakfast Botany. It consisted of an educational walk through the park with the Horticultural Director, Keith Kaiser. Today’s hike was about the Figwort Family or Scrophulariaceae andKeith told us some interesting facts about them. I quote: “The name was derived from European species of Scrophularia, the common figwort. The plants were used to treat hemorrhoids, which were known as “figs.” Figworts were also used to treat scrofula, a form of tuberculosis carried in the milk of infected cows.”

Some well-known garden members of the Scrophulariaceae family include figwort (Scrophularia), butterfly bush (Buddleja) Twinspur (Diascia), nemesia, and mullein (Verbascum). Keith also noted that foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and Penstemon (shown in top photo) were previously listed botanically as Scrophulariaceae but due to research have been moved to Plantaginaceae.

Of course, Keith also pointed out all of the currently blooming plants from other families too.  One was their wonderful kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa), pruned to perfection (shown in above photo).

I also decided I need the Allium shubertii (shown in photo below). It looks like fireworks on a stick!

After our informative hike we had breakfast at the Garden Café inside the Davis center consisting of Canadian bacon and egg on a croissant and fresh fruit and beverages.  I’d say that overall this was a very progressive gardening day!

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