Cox Arboretum Rock Gardens

Revisit: The Cox Arboretum Rock Gardens in Summer

The beautiful Cox Arboretum Rock Gardens! I had to go back.

Early in the year, when it was so cold it took my breath away, I visited the Rock Gardens at Cox Arboretum located here in Dayton Ohio. I recall that day and wrote about it. But I had to make the time for another visit when it was summer and all the succulents and drought-tolerant plants would be blooming and gloriously scrambling and scattering over the rocks and pathways.

And I was not one bit disappointed. It was glorious. And so hot. I went in early morning but the heat was already building. But that is what a Rock Garden thrives on!

Rock Garden at Cox Arboretum Dayton Ohio

Located next to a large pond, this rock garden winds up the hillside topped by a large pergola.  These paths are very wide and you may be able to see in some of the photos where the gardeners are transporting themselves and their equipment via “golf carts.”

There are garden tours offered where people can ride around in these like you’d ride at a theme park or Disney World or something.  I feel like I will need to use that in the future when I cannot walk these hills and paths. I would hate to miss viewing the gardens because I couldn’t make the walk.

Cox Arboretum Rock Gardens tiers

Right now, I still can make the walk myself. By the way, I don’t know about you, but I am better if I keep on walking. It’s that sitting still for a while that gets to me.  I joke about it with my husband that I “rust” up like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz when I sit for too long.  It is awful to get back up and your knees are hard to unlock and the motion takes a while to get back in action.  The closest I can describe it is “rusting,” because I feel like I need oil squirted into my joints so that they can get going again. 

Tiered Paths in Cox Arboretum Rock Gardens

Cox Arboretum Rock Gardens view

These hypertufa troughs seem like a part of the landscape. Positioned among the stones and ledges,  I love to peer down into them and see the different varieties and how they grow. I noticed that the plant labels usually placed around were not there. I don’t recall seeing any of the plants labeled. I think perhaps they may have been stolen?

CoX Arboretum trough

Most of the succulents and other plants were very colorful and lush. Evergreens were full and some of these green bushes just begged to be touched. I really should add a few more large stones to my garden. In fact, I think more rocks will soon become available! I have my eye on some at my son’s house. He is planning to take down a wall, a short one, between his house and the neighbors. Large flat landscaping stones. Really heavy.  Maybe he will bring them over and place them for me?

Beautiful views at the Cox Arboretum Rock Gardens

Creeping thyme was in bloom and the bees were buzzing happily. In fact, there were more bees in this garden than I have seen all year. I think the water supply and acres and acres of flowers make this the Bee Place To Be in this area.  And the huge clouds of Baby’s Breath!

Cox Arboretum Flowers

If you have an Arboretum or Botanical Garden near you, go there for a day of beauty and tranquility. It is such “food for the soul” of a gardener. I could take photos all day long . You will be inspired, I am sure.


  1. Denise Goodenough says:

    Hi Kim, I like seeing the hypertufa pots scattered through out the garden sections. Did you donate some of the ones you made to the Arboretum? Have a good day.

    1. No, I didn’t donate. They make their own. I guess some of theirs are many years old and I like their older ones better.

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