Friday, February 28, 2014


The Beginning of Spring

The 2014 Northwest Flower and Garden show opened my season of garden shows.  This made my second trip to this show. It is one of my favorites.  It is not all about just flowers.  It is a time to learn and renew friendships that were made at other shows, plus meeting new gardeners and writers.  The show theme this year was "Art in Bloom".

Pike Street

I spent four days covering every inch of the show.  I needed all of that time. The show covers six acres, so comfortable shoes are a must.

We finally arrived in Seattle, after two days of cancelled and missed flights. My daughter, Kylee Baumle, traveled with me.  It is always nice be with someone when things aren't going smoothly. We were picked up at the airport by our hostess, Danielle Smith Ernest, and her husband, Adam. We met Danielle a few years ago at other shows and became friends. They took us to this delightful Thai restaurant.  They were making cute little dumplings in a window for all of us to see.  The food was wonderful, as well as the conversation. We had a lot of catching up to do, as girls do.  We spent the night in the her lovely home outside Seattle.

Danielle's Home
The next morning Danielle drove us to the amazing Molbaks, a wonderful garden and plant center.  We had a lovely lunch in their garden, then later shopped in this very seductive garden center. There was a wonderful pot that had my name on it, but shipping would have been the price of the pot.  I still want....I did purchase among other things, two hellebores that I bared rooted to transport home in my suitcase.  I will tell you later this spring my success story, or not.

 Danielle drove us to our hotel in downtown Seattle, just one block from the convention center, where we would be attending the show.

Jenny Peterson, Kylee's co-writer, had already checked in.  The two of them together were doing two presentations at the show, one on Thursday and one on Friday.  I will tell you about their presentation later.

 Our first day at the show started with an early Tweet Up.  It was a time the Garden Writers renewed friendships and made new ones.  This was a time to photograph the displays before the show was opened to the public.

Display Garden
Display Garden
Display Garden
Display Garden
The gardens were designed to present the trends in gardening.  Whatever the size of your garden there was something that you could adapt to your own garden.  They were fully landscaped living spaces.  I loved the plant choices both, flowers and trees. The hardscape and art was fabulous. A favorite of mine was an altered Dawn Redwood "Miss Grace". She was $2,700 and just stunning.

"Miss Grace"

There were display gardens, the Marketplace, with 350 exhibitors, educational programs, over 100 in all.  I covered as many as I could. There was a play garden for children and their parents.

This is the second largest flower show in the US, second to the Philadelphia Flower Show that runs March 1-9th.

This was the the 26th Anniversary of the Northwest Flower Show.

I will continue talking about this show on my next post.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring Flower Sale

The patches of white blankets that still cover the ground in the parks as well as around my home, I know won't last forever. We have had a couple of warm days, giving us the hope that spring is coming, even though this week's forecast is a shivering cold one!

We know spring will definitely decide to appear; Mother Nature just keeps us guessing! So, what better time to start planning that garden than during the Van Wert Athletic Booster Club's Spring Flower Sale! The Athletic Booster Club benefits the young student athletes at our local high school. This is just one of their fundraisers to help build athletic facilities for the present and the future Cougar athletes. For those of you who are not aware of their sale, I thought I'd give you a little information about it.

This is their fifth annual flower sale and it looks as if they are going to have some beautiful baskets, planters, accent plants, 4-inch potted annuals and quart perennials.  There is a variety of flowers to choose from: begonias, petunias, impatiens, and geraniums (Pelargonium), to name a few. Some of the perennial plants  are Coreopsis 'Creme Brulee', twister grass (Juncus effusus 'Spiralis') and grass Juncus 'Blue Dart'. The flowers are grown by Star Greenhouse, North Star, OH.

Don't forget your vegetable garden; they are also offering select vegetables and fruit. Some of the fruits they will be offering are cantaloupe and ever-bearing strawberries. A few of the vegetables that will be available are peppers, tomatoes and zucchini.

Their prices range from $2-$45. This year they have added mulch by the bag or yard, which is being made available through Laurie's Naturescapes, a local business.  Orders and money are due on March 12th, which is coming up soon, so get your order in.  Orders will be delivered on Thursday, May 8th, from 2pm-6:30pm, behind the high school at door H-29.

These are not the best pictures of the plants that are available, but I didn't want to run into any copyright issues. I'm just beginning to learn some of the ins and outs of blogging so please bear with me. But you can go to Van Wert Booster Club to have a better view of the flowers and to print off your own order form.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How We Met, Became Friends and Bloggers

We both have a different recollection of how this all transpired.

Louise: As I remembered it, it was when I left the farm at Haviland, OH and made the big move to the city, or maybe small town of Van Wert, OH, population around 10,000. It was at the time of Tree City USA project.  Sue asked me to serve on the committee that for every tree removed a new one was to be planted as a replacement to perpetuate the city scape. Now Sue really didn't know me, but someone must have given her my name. I remember riding around town in her city parks truck checking out tree conditions. Sue remembers none of this. I guess I really made a big impression on her.

Sue: Louise sort of just "Hit it right on the head" as the saying goes! I don't remember that. Now, my memory hasn't gone completely! I DO remember riding around with tree commission members checking out trees but I guess I just can't put names and faces to all those who were with me!  I know...that is terrible! You say you don't think you made a big impression on me then, well Louise, you have now if  that's any consolation.

Louise: I joined a couple garden clubs and implemented planting flowers in her Fountain Park. Her department helped supply money for plants. As we worked to beautify the park she worked, and I mean worked, side by side the garden club members and she still does.

Sue: I may not have the greatest knowledge of  plant anatomy or the ins and outs of growing the most beautiful gardens, as the garden club members do. I love to get my hands dirty, so I couldn't let them have all the fun. I also felt that if there is a group of individuals from our community that is willing to volunteer to beautify our parks, what better way to say Thank You then to work along side them and lend a helping hand.

Louise:We began to find we could work together on other projects in the city and so by working together a friendship developed. We both have a strong feeling that we can work together for the betterment of our community.

Sue: Now before we get ahead of ourselves and since we are also talking about my memory! Yes, we worked together at Fountain Park through the garden club and apparently through the City Tree Commission, which is a little on the foggy side. My strongest and most memorable memory is when Louise came to me as a Master Gardener spear heading the Children's Garden Project. It was through this project that this friendship blossomed.

Louise: For the past few years I have been encourage by blogger friends to start my own blog. I'm not the most computer savvy person and Sue always tries to help me so I thought maybe the two of us could do a blog together.  We finally have taken the plunge.

Sue: Louise has been trying to talk me into doing a blog with her for about a year or two. I was pretty skeptical then and to tell you the truth I still am. She apparently convinced me cause here we are!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Today It's All About Me

Having grown up as a farm girl, I have always been close to the earth. I have driven a tractor in preparing the soil for planting soy beans, corn and wheat; the principal crops that my father grew. We still have the family farm. Through all these years, I knew the need to preserve the land for future generations. Dad always said "They could make more money, but they cannot make more land". We had a vegetable garden, livestock and learned to preserve our food. We enjoyed the beauty of the landscape.

When I grew up and was married (61years) I always had gardens. It is a stress reliever for me. Once I retired I could devote more time to my gardens. When our Ohio State University Extension offered a Master Gardener's Program I decided to sign up with the expectations of becoming a better gardener.  We had a great educator, Andy Kleinshmidt, that lead and helped us reach those expectations.  Little did I imagine where this would lead us. Eight women decided to develop a Children's Garden for our city.  With zero dollars we started on this project and now have an award winning garden for our community. I will go into more detail about the Smiley Children's Garden at a later time. It has been challenging and rewarding. My real claim to fame is my daughter, Kylee Baumle the famous blogger of Our Little Acre .

With this blog we will take you on this journey about many facets of what it takes to be committed to our community.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'm Just Me

Please bear with me as I work through my first attempt of contributing to our blog. The best way to start out is to at least introduce myself! Well. I'm just me; my name is Susan Heppeard, most people just call me Sue.

Lived in Northwest Ohio majority of my life with the exception of going off to college like most children do. Apparently I needed to experience the north as I joined the student ranks at Winona State University in Winona, MN. While I was at WSU I was involved with athletics; a team manager for the women's volleyball and basketball teams and received four letters in softball.  Completed my college with a double major and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Leisure Studies and Therapeutic Recreation (Cardiac Rehabilitation).

If you were to take a peek at my resume you would find out that I have been working with the City of Van Wert Parks and Recreation Department since 1982.  After serving as the Recreation Supervisor for ten years, I was given the opportunity to advance into the Directors position and still hold the position to this day. Of course, somewhere along the way I met my husband, Randy, and we became parents of three lovely boys or should I say handsome MEN, for they are now grown and out on their own.

Now, I will be the first one to tell you that I don't have the greatest green thumb. In fact I'm one of those who can't even grow a cactus. The city and parks department have many flower beds and gardens in the parks and along city right-of-ways that we care for.  I hope to introduce you to them among other things through our blog. Until then....Have a nice day!

Check back in a couple of days to see what blog co-writer Louise has to share!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Birth of a Blog

The Webster definition of "Purpose"; Something one intends to get or do; resolution; determination. The object for which something exists or is done.

The reason for this blog is to make us and you aware of what surrounds us and to promote and encourage us to make our communities a better place for us to share our space together.

We are sometimes unaware what is available to us. It is right here in the place that we live. The intent of this blog is to interact with other people to maybe share ideas that we would all benefit from.

We would love your support and wish you would give us your input.  We have parks and gardens both public and private. Come along with our story.

Private Garden

Public Garden

Sue  & Louise