I used to know this place inside and out.

I used to revel in its beauty, its mission, its welcome to people from around the world.





I used to walk here.

I used to lead groups of others through these gardens … through these trees.

I once went sledding down over the hill from here … and landed in the creek.





I used to belong in this place.



I used to wander through this place with family … friends … my dog … groups of people, busloads of children and eager gardeners who donated their time and talents to enhancing its beauty, its history, its story.

But now …

… tears for this place.

I am heartbroken for the people who visit here and planned to, for the programs that will not be offered — at least in the near future, and for the people who have dedicated their lives and careers to caring for this beautiful area, improving it and watching as it flourishes. 

On Sept. 16 a tornado ripped through this place … Secrest Arboretum at the Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center’s Wooster campus. The arboretum is hard hit. Buildings are flattened. Damage is evident across campus. I have not yet seen photos of the houses surrounding campus … of the town itself. But I wait for a report from Farmguy, who is driving there today on his way to work.













For more information, photos and continuing coverage:

The Daily Record

Farm & Dairy

Go exploring! You may enjoy these previous posts.


  • comment-avatar
    Mother Goose September 17, 2010 (11:02 am)

    This breaks my heart too! I have lots of happy memories here! I think maybe I was even along on that sledding occasion! :+)

    I have to admit…I saw the title of this post and thought it was going to be about my boys!

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    FairfieldHouse September 17, 2010 (12:09 pm)

    How sad. I have never experienced the devastation of a tornado but have witnessed them off shore. To see something so beautiful and serene torn apart and left in pieces is heartbreaking. I have never been to the arboretum but I am hoping that with your communities support and efforts it will be restored to its former glory.
    Thank you for sharing.


  • comment-avatar
    Georgia Peach September 17, 2010 (12:14 pm)

    I think you took us there once. I remember it as a beautiful place.

  • comment-avatar
    Katie September 17, 2010 (3:04 pm)

    Oh wow. That is heartbreaking!!!

    Our campus was recently damaged by flood, so I know a little of what you’re going through!

  • comment-avatar
    Vicki September 17, 2010 (7:55 pm)

    I am a graduate of ATI and I too have many happy memories of OARDC and the surrounding area. It is
    a very beautiful place. I worked on the grounds and in
    the greenhouses. I am saddened by the devastation.

  • comment-avatar
    Jeanie September 17, 2010 (9:32 pm)

    What a beautiful Tribute! Thanks!

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    Nancy Horstman September 18, 2010 (4:41 pm)

    My heart sank when I read your title & saw the first photo…it looks just like a home on Rte. 9, one of my favorites! I’m glad it’s not that home, but still sad for the home on campus. We had a tornado come thru Winona several years ago, it is incredible the damage they can do.

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    Laurie September 19, 2010 (7:15 am)

    Oh Jennifer, I’m so sorry. I saw the sadness in your eyes Friday- and now I see why. This was horrible.

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    littletownmom September 22, 2010 (8:39 am)

    This is such a great tribute. My husband and I had our engagement photos there, have had dates, there, and taken our children. I grew up riding our bikes there to explore and enjoy the beauty. It was a scary night in our neck of the woods.