This year's tour day is jam-packed with garden retailing at its best! We’ve put together a full-day tour of five of the Cincinnati area's best retail garden centers plus a little 'Nature Fix' along the way. Be ready to network with fellow retailers, our service pros, and our sponsors and discover new possibilities for profit. Bus captains will provide behind-the-scenes statistics to prepare you for your exploration at each stop. So hop on board and be ready to enjoy a beautiful fall day filled with inspiration and discovery and return to the hotel in time for dinner and entertainment in Cincy!

Buses depart curbside from the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel at 8:30 am and will return at 7:15 pm – just in time to Discover Cincy!

Tour stop times will be available soon.

Burger Farm and Garden Center
7849 Main Street
Newtown, OH 45244

Visit Burger Farm website

Burger Farms started as a working farm in 1904 and is a 4th generation enterprise.


The Burger's great-grandfather Joseph started what was to become the largest Brown Swiss dairy farm in all of Southwest Ohio in 1904. In addition to dairy farming, they also raised a couple hundred hogs and sold country fresh eggs on our 55 acres. The large white barn that makes up most of the retail center today is one of the oldest in Hamilton County and has timbers in it that date back prior to 1880.

In the early 50s, they quit the dairy business and sold the property mineral rights to Ohio Gravel and transitioned to raising field crops on our farm and multiple other farms. In the 60s to the 70s, their father switched crops again and started raising sugar corn and fresh vegetables. He had a little wooden shed that he would drag out by the roadside when the crops were ripe and people knew that farm fresh produce was ready. During this time, they would hand pick and sell about a thousand dozen ears of corn per day throughout the growing season.

All was good until the early 1980s when Ohio Gravel came back and exercised their right to mine out the sand and gravel from the farmland they purchased the rights to thirty years prior. The days of corn and fresh produce were over so our family business transitioned once again into the garden center business it is today. When Ohio Gravel was finished with the mining; the family bought back the ground which then was a 65-foot deep, 35-acre hole in the ground. Since then they have filled in the hole with solid construction and demolition debris and are in final closure planning.

The family plans to develop the property in the near future with family-oriented and community-needed entities that lack on the east side of town and also expand our current fall festival by adding more agri-tourism-type educational activities. They are ecstatic about finally being able to reclaim and repurpose the land that our family heritage was built on and look forward to what we can build in the coming years.

This fall marks their 50th year of hosting a fall pumpkin festival that generations of local families have been coming to over the years.

Here's a quick tour of Burger Farm and Garden Center's 2023 Springtime Walk Around.

The video below features Burger Farm and Garden Center's Fall Extravaganza.

Benken Garden Center & Florist
6000 Plainfield Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45213

Visit Benken Website

Benken was founded in 1939 and is a 4th generation enterprise.

It all started with Harry and Johanna Benken in 1939. Through the years they built the business with their six children. Harry and Johanna's son Richard and his wife, Annette, became the owners in the early '70s. That's when Benken started offering wider varieties of blooming plants and individualized floral work.

Michael and Kathleen Benken became the third generation to own and operate the business when they took over in 1997. Together with their children, they transitioned the business from a wholesale business to an expanded modern garden center, florist and event center while continuing the family tradition of cultivating only the best homegrown plants.

An unprecedented fourth generation of family ownership began in 2022 when Kathleen and Michael’s daughter, Lindsay Farfsing, and her husband Andy became the new owners. Lindsay and Andy are committed to the vision and traditions of previous generations with a targeted focus on providing a premier customer experience for all.

Benken is…

A Garden Center.
Benken has prided itself on providing a premier garden & nursery experience backed by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. Our annuals, veggies and herbs have been grown right here on site since 1939.

A Florist.
Whether it be an anniversary arrangement, a holiday centerpiece, a bridal bouquet or a prom corsage, Benken has the experienced designers to make your floral vision come to life. Our in-house team of designers has a combined 80+ years of floral experience under their belts.

An Event Venue.
Benken has three stunning spaces available to rent for gatherings of all sizes. Our Patio space makes the perfect setting for summer and fall wedding receptions, our atrium space can be rented to make for a stunning greenhouse ceremony location, and our newly renovated Celebration Room is the perfect space for private parties and workshops.

A Place for Community Engagement.
Over the last year, Benken has worked hard to fill our event calendar up with workshops, children’s activities, and different free events for the community to enjoy (yoga, visits from Santa & the Easter Bunny, pet costume contests, and customer appreciation giveaways to name a few)! We are proud to be gathering space for our local community members to meet up and make memories!

Natorp's Nursery Outlet
& Garden Center

8601 Snider Rd
Mason, OH 45040

Visit Natorp's website

Natorp's was founded in 1916 and is a 4th generation enterprise that has grown into a 330-acre plant nursery, an award-winning landscape design firm, and a retail store with an online plant store.

The story of Natorp's begins in 1916 with Wm. Kyle Natorp's great-grandfather William A. Natorp. As a young horticulturist, he left his home in Germany and traveled to Cincinnati. He fell in love with the city and decided it was where he would put down roots. William began planting a seed when he placed an advertisement for landscape services in a florist window. The seed grew into Natorp’s Landscape Design. 

Throughout Cincinnati, William became a highly sought-after landscape designer. With his meticulous attention to detail and his knowledge of plants, William gained a strong following in the city. When William couldn’t find the quality and diversity of plants available in Germany, he began growing his own and created Natorp’s Nursery

Today, Natorp’s Nursery is a 333-acre plant nursery, an award-winning landscape design firm, a retail store, and an online plant storeWhen a customer visits Natorp’s, there is a specific expectation of excellence from our horticulturalists to landscape designers. We have been proud of our reputation for quality plants and exceptional service for over a century. We continue to grow our family legacy with a team that shares our passion. 

Today, he and his brother Craig continue the family tradition of growing a business and a community of great gardening in Cincinnati. 

Here's a quick look at Natorp's Nursery Outlet & Garden Center.

And here's a short 30-second time-lapse video of what 20 minutes looks like in Spring in the Natorp's parking lot.

Following is another in-depth look at this 333-acre operation by Matthew with The Southerner's Northern Garden. He provides a "behind the scenes" tour with lots of plant information you already know, but if you want a sneak peek of Natorp's - this is it! 


Berns Garden Center & Landscaping
825 Greentree Rd
Middletown, OH 45044

Visit Berns Garden Center website

Berns Garden Center is a 3rd generation enterprise with 2 locations (Middletown and Beavercreek)


Berns Greenhouse and Garden Centers were founded in January 1956, when Al and Cherie Berns purchased one greenhouse and a home on one acre of land on Yankee Road in Middletown, Ohio. 

In the beginning, the business was only open to the public eight weeks a year in the spring. Today the business operates 360 days a year and employs 50 to 125 employees seasonally. The operation includes two greenhouse locations with more than 120,000 square feet of growing space and two retail locations. The main retail store has 10,000 square feet of retail space, a greenhouse with 12,000 square feet of plant display and 22,000 square feet of outside covered shopping area.

The Berns Corporation has four divisions:

Berns Landscaping
In 1978, land was purchased on Greentree Road for a landscape center with plans to build a garden center in the future. Berns Nursery and Landscape Center was built on the Greentree Road site and opened in 1983. Berns Landscaping professionally designs and installs residential and commercial landscapes in southwest Ohio.

Berns Production Greenhouses

The Berns Corporation expanded the production greenhouse growing capacity by purchasing greenhouses on South Main Street in 1985. The South Main Street greenhouse and Yankee Road greenhouses have been rebuilt and expanded to combine for over 120,000 square feet of production which specializes in growing the finest bedding plants, vegetables, blooming hanging baskets, garden mums, perennials, and poinsettias.

Berns Garden Centers

 The Greentree Road Garden Center of Berns was completed and opened in the spring of 1996. The main store has 10,000 square feet of retail space; a greenhouse with 12,000 square feet of plant display and an outside covered shopping area of 22,000 square feet. In 2010, a second retail store in Beavercreek, Ohio was purchased, extensively renovated, and opened for business in March 2011. This is similar size and function to the Middletown store.

Personal Gardener

Berns Personal Gardeners are a team of experienced, educated designers and property managers. They aim to understand the customer's specific needs and expectations while providing professional guidance and a comprehensive plan for maintaining and improving the beauty and functionality of the landscape. Their team evaluates the current state of the landscape, including the condition of plants, trees, and overall design and identifies any issues, such as pests, diseases, or areas requiring special attention. Based on the assessment, a Landscape Foreman will get to know the property and implement the customized maintenance plan. In addition, they offer custom designs of seasonal containers and annual plantings from their Berns-grown flowers.


White Oak Garden Center
3579 Blue Rock Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45247

Visit White Oak Gardens website

Like so many garden centers, White Oak is a family affair. But it's not just family that makes White Oak Gardens a success. Jeff built a beautiful place for plants and filled it with staff who love to work with plants and people. He says their staff is a big reason for their success.

More than 50 years ago, Blue Rock Road was home to hobby rose production and the sale of small vegetable plants. Today, White Oak Gardens has grown into one of Cincinnati’s most trusted neighborhood resources for growing and transforming your outdoor spaces.

Jeff Webeler began working at White Oak Nursery in 1978 and purchased the business shortly after. For more than 20 years, he had the desire to expand. White Oak Garden Center, which would eventually become White Oak Gardens, was thriving, but he knew to continue that growth, he needed bigger and better greenhouses, more parking and more room to show plants.

In most recent years, White Oak Gardens bought adjacent parcels of land to expand the site to 4.5 acres, making room for additional parking and a 12,000-square-foot, ultra-modern greenhouse. It's a high-tech take on the classic A-frame greenhouse structure, complete with retractable glass panels and outdoor weather station monitors, all run by computers. Rough Brothers Inc., a Cincinnati firm, built the greenhouse. The $1.3 million investment was unveiled in April 2017.

Like so many garden centers, White Oak is a family affair. Jeff's wife Patty manages the office and his sons, Evan and Andrew, have different roles but share the same vision as their dad to provide a high level of service to customers and build relationships that lead to the loyalty that brings those customers back every year. Evan, an economics major who worked for Fifth Third Bank before joining the business, is now chief financial officer. His wife Renee also works at White Oak Gardens as a greenhouse and perennials salesperson. Andrew, who did landscaping at White Oak Nursery when he was in high school, majored in landscape architecture and worked for a large landscaping firm in Marietta before returning to the family nursery. He is now the landscape designer and works in sales.

But it's not just family that makes White Oak Garden a success. Jeff built a beautiful place for plants and filled it with staff who love to work with plants and people. He says their staff is a big reason for their success. Many of his team members have horticultural or related degrees and he has Ohio Certified Nursery Technicians on staff.

A word of advice from Jeff... "Don’t be afraid to take risks."

Take a sneak peek at White Oak Gardens! (No sound)

Here's another quick tour around White Oak Gardens.

Cincinnati   Zoo
& Botanical Garden
3400 Vine St
Cincinnati, OH 45220

Visit the Cincinnati Zoo &
Botanical Garden website

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is definitely the greenest Zoo in America and is considered one of the best in the country! It is the second oldest zoo in the United States, founded in 1873 and officially opened in 1875. It is located in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. It originally began with 64.5 acres in the middle of the city but has spread into the neighboring blocks and several reserves in Cincinnati's outer suburbs. It was appointed as a National Historic Landmark in 1987. With 80 acres of animal habitats, attractions and botanical gardens, it's one of the best places to explore your wild side. 

The zoo houses over 400 species, 1,800 animals, and 3,000 plant species and is most renowned for its endangered species and birthing programs – particularly for gorillas and white tigers. The zoo also has conducted several breeding programs in its history and was the first to successfully breed California sea lions.

The zoo is known for being the home of Martha, the last living passenger pigeon, and to Incas, the last living Carolina parakeet. It is also home to the world-famous hippo Fiona. Fiona is famous for surviving! She was born 6 weeks before she was due and was too small to stand and nurse from her mom, Bibi. The Zoo's care team had to step in and figure out how to feed her, what to feed her, how to keep her warm, and how to manage critical care 24/7 while juggling other daily responsibilities. It took a village, but #TeamFiona did it!  And, by sharing her ups and downs with the world (every day for almost two years), she became a beloved symbol of hope and a source of inspiration for millions of people. Fiona is now 6 years old and has a brother Fritz born on August 3, 2022! Follow this link to see the story of Fiona.

A 2014 ranking of the nation's best zoos by USA Today based on data provided by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums lists the Cincinnati Zoo among the best in the country.

The Botanical Garden side of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (CZBG) occupies the full 75-acre footprint of the Cincinnati Zoo. The CZBG takes pride in its collection of over 3,000 accessions. Much of that collection, which consists of plants from shade trees to groundcovers, are species and selections being trialed for home garden and landscape use in Midwestern urban conditions. There are prominent seasonal displays, including a large and popular tulip display in the spring and, perhaps, the largest combined annuals trials/display planting in the country.

The CZBG is also represented by the Center for the Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), which is globally respected for its conservation work with endangered plant species, much of it through cryogenic preservation of seeds and other plant tissue. The CZBG is also well-known for its work with the community. The best example of that is its creation and support of a 2-acre mini-botanical garden on the campus of Rockdale Academy, a K-6 elementary school two blocks from the CZBG. Finally, the restored wetlands and other ecosystems at the CZBG’s Bowyer Farm in nearby Warren County are fine examples of local conservation.  

With meticulously landscaped gardens, gorgeous flower displays, and lovely ponds, it is truly a sight to see. Whether you love animals or want to stroll amongst beautiful flora, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is sure to leave you with a deeper appreciation for the animal kingdom and the sheer beauty of the natural world. It's a true "Nature Fix".

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has recently received the highest accreditation as Level IV through the ArbNet Accreditation Program! ArbNet is a program of the Morton Arboretum in partnership with the American Public Gardens Association and has accredited Arboreta worldwide. Level IV is the highest level for recognition.

The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program recognizes arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. Focus includes:

Fosters professionalism of arboreta worldwide
Enables collaboration in scientific, collections and conservation activities
Advances the planting, study, and conservation of trees

Read more about ArbNet and Level IV accreditation.

Pre-plan your visit with this Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Map.

The Fall Event 2023 QuickLinks: 

The Fall Event 2023 - REGISTER
The Fall Event 2023 - MAIN PAGE
The Fall Event 2023 - SCHEDULE
The Fall Event 2023 - SPEAKERS & SESSIONS
The Fall Event 2023 - HOTEL & TRAVEL
The Fall Event 2023 - BEST OF CINCY
The Fall Event 2023 - SPONSORS