Wildflowers

THE TROSSET WILDFLOWER SANCTUARY at Gorman Heritage Farm provides a place for respite, observation and education while supporting local native plants. A valuable collection of native wildflowers, a gift of the Trosset family, forms the foundation of the sanctuary. These flowers are enhanced by the donations of native shrubs and trees in a protected, secure site, complete with a walking trail, benches and small streams.

Cincinnati natives, Stanley Trosset and Ruth Pierle married in 1954. Stan bought property in Evendale, building a home and leaving undeveloped space wild. Ruth, a research chemist, resigned her position to raise her family and began to document the plant and animal life in the Trosset family’s woods. Stan transplanted wildflowers from vacant lots around the Mill Creek Valley, an activity for which the entire Trosset family developed a passion. As the years passed, the wildflowers flourished. By the early 1990s, Ruth documented over 100 species of spring emphemerals, about 50 species of trees, and 124 species of birds. The data collected contains detailed evidence of changes in the wooded habitat and in the timing of when the wildflowers bloom. Stan photographed the wildflowers and gave presentations to local organizations. Ruth volunteered her botanical expertise, conducting plant surveys at the Oxbow and Gorman Heritage Farm. Growing up on their own nature preserve, Michael and Carol Trosset developed a love for the outdoors. Today, both are avid hikers and Carol is a dedicated birdwatcher. Michael owns 40 wooded acres in southern Indiana. Carol is currently analyzing Ruth’s field notes for scientific publication. In the 1990s, Stan began to envision a permanent wildflower sanctuary. His dream is now a reality at Gorman Heritage Farm.

A living tree or shrub or a metal bench can be purchased a loving tribute for special persons’ anniversaries, birthdays, retirements, birth of a grandchild, in memory of, or any other occasion.

Family, friends or colleagues can select a native shrub, or tree, including a bronze marker on a stone, a metal benches bearing a plaque with your personalized message, for wildflowers and ferns the honoree’s name will be added to a special plaque inside the Gorman Heritage Farm Interpretive Center. All shrubs and trees offered are native species and provide food, seeds, shelter, nesting sites for local wildlife or host opportunities for pollinators.

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We will contact you after your purchase to get details for your plaque.

What Do Wildflowers Have to Do With a Farm, Anyway?

An astounding connection, actually. From 1852 to1861, Henry David Thoreau recorded data on bloom times of several hundred flowers, shrubs and trees in his area of Massachusetts. During the last decade, Richard Primack, biology professor at Boston University, has led a team of researchers comparing present-day blooming times of thirty-two of these  native plants to Thoreau’s data. The startling results show that these plants are blooming as much as a week or more earlier. More research will tell if the pollinators the plants depend on return in time to support these native flowers. Since as much as 30-40 percent of our food supply (not counting forage for livestock) depends on pollinators, having  insects, caterpillars, butterflies and birds return to pollinate these fruits and vegetables is critically necessary .

The Trosset family collected data on their wildflowers for over forty years, and this data has been shared with the Farm. By offering the Trosset Wildflower Sanctuary to interested parties, we can collect data on present blooming times to compare with the Trosset records. We can also begin monitoring the Farm’s fruit trees to note trends over the coming years. Young people especially can benefit from the opportunity to do field work close to home.