In 2012, The Dayton VA Medical Center (DVAMC) and The American Veterans Heritage Center initiated the current reclamation of the historic Grotto Gardens landscape. The Ohio State University Extension’s (OSUE) Greater Montgomery County Master Gardener Volunteers joined the team in 2013 to provide horticultural support and develop new gardens.
The Grotto Gardens are on the grounds of the Dayton VA Medical Center. Admission is free and open to the public. Open 24 hours a day.
Home Depot provided critical support both financially and through volunteer efforts to improve the infrastructure. Along the way, other volunteers have joined the team and there have been significant financial and in-kind donations by individual, organizations, garden clubs, and garden centers. While OSUE no longer is involved, the Grotto Gardens continue to be supported by a dedicated group of volunteers.
Address: Tennessee and Gettysburg Ave. Dayton, OH 45428
The Grotto’s water flows from natural underground springs, but the surrounding landscaping, rock walls and nearby lakes are all man-made. Seventy-five full-time Veteran gardeners planted and cared for magnificent gardens in the Grotto and adjacent areas, and it became a destination point for hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. Some came by train and often stayed at a hotel located on the grounds just north of the Grotto.
You can download a map of the walking tour of the Grotto here.
Many of the trees have been planted to honor Veterans. Download a listing of those here.