Inside the 92-year-old nursery that grows Krohn Conservatory’s flowers

Krohn Conservatory’s annual holiday display is a Cincinnati tradition. From the train sets to the hundreds of cheery poinsettias, the Yuletide exhibit has been drawing and delighting visitors for decades. Preparations, however, begin while most folks are thinking about summer vacations.

“The poinsettias alone for the holiday show, I think we got 2,100,” estimates Rachel Brucato, a horticulturist with Cincinnati Parks. “That’s just one type of plant for the holiday show. All together, we did about 8,000 plants for just one show.”

Brucato says “we,” but she’s basically a one-woman show at the moment while the department looks to hire a second employee. Brucato runs Warder Nursery, a greenhouse operation owned by Cincinnati Parks in Springfield Township. Built in 1931, this little-known facility is responsible for growing the plants that rotate through Krohn Conservatory while also supplying flowers to some of the city’s parks.

“The annuals are grown here for the shows that Krohn puts on — the spring show, summer show, and holiday show. We just wrapped up installing the holiday show at Krohn, which opened on Saturday, so go see it — and right now, we’re getting started on the spring show,” Brucato smiles.