Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday...Tree Peony 'Shimanishiki'


Gardeners on The Road

Celebrity Gardener

Gardening can be more than just digging in the dirt. I have been fortunate to get to travel around the country with my daughter to numerous gardens and Garden Shows. At these shows we have met some of the top celebrities in the garden world.

About three weeks ago I saw an announcement on the internet that Jamie Durie of HGTV Out Door Room fame, was presenting a program at a True Value Hardware store in Minster, Ohio. Oh yes, just 45 minutes from here in Van Wert, Ohio. What an opportunity for us. I have met Jamie in Chicago at an IGC Show (Independent Garden Centers). Being a member of GWA (Garden Writers Association), I was able to attend with a Press Pass. Needless to say he was very charming and quite nice to look at. The young gardeners were quite impressed. Ta, Ta. He had published a book and was promoting it, "The Outdoor Room".

So when he was going to be in our backyard, why not take a quick road trip to hear what he had to say about the new trends of gardening. We filled a car of gardeners and headed to Minster, Ohio. The tickets were free, but were by reservation only.

Home Town Gardeners

This was an amazing True Value Hardware. It was very large and a total package. They had a remarkable greenhouse and garden center. They had unusual plants of top quality and a great selection of flower pots and accessories for the garden.


They feature Proven Winner Plants. When you hear the story that substantiates what a Proven Winner plant is, it makes you understand what has gone into the production of the plant you purchase. You can be assured that it will be a great performer and is gardener friendly. You may pay a little more, but it has been grown to be trouble free and give you pleasure for the whole season.

I was interested to find out how a small garden center could attract a Rock Star Gardener. First of all if you have ever visited the Minster, New Bremen area, you would be aware of how pristine the community is as a whole. There is NOT a Wal-Mart. The town is very sufficient and supplies the areas needs. Crown is there major source of industry, and a large supporter of the community.
Now back to how Jamie Durie came to Minister. Proven Winners sponsored him, and I would say True Value has a strong connection with Proven Winners.

We arrived about an hour early. Since we were guaranteed a seat with our ticket, seats were first come first served. We checked out the store and garden center. Yes, we all made purchases. Because of the event they were offering 15% off annuals and 30% off perennials..

The program was to start at 6PM, but they received a call that Jamie had a problem with his GPS. He arrived about 30 minutes late. but he hit the stage running. He is a ball of fire. The topic for the evening was how to incorporate edibles into the outside landscape, (outdoor rooms). He suggested you remove the drapes at the back of your house and continue the living space into the back yard. He showed how to terrace plants to create spaces that were rooms, such as outdoor kitchens, play areas for the children, and living spaces. He used conifers. deciduous  plants, fruits and vegetables in colorful and creative ways that was useful as well as visually attractive. He is well versed and has experience beyond the average home gardener, but he gave us basics that we could use in our home gardens. He suggested that we start on one area at a time. Have a plan and don't feel like it has to be completed all at once. That could be over whelming. What you invest on the outside of your home can only increase the value of your property. Families are spending more time in their back yards. They are entertaining and this makes for bringing families and friends closer together.

Minster, OH - True Value Hardware
  Approximately 300 people were treated to this special event. Snacks and drinks were furnished by Wagner's.
We left there excited and motivated to go home and tune up our gardens.
Thank you Jamie Durie and all the people at True Value Hardware for a wonderful evening.

Chicago, IL - IGC 2012 Show

Louise Hartwig

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Guest Blogger: An OSU Administrative Assistant

I will never forget my first day of work at the OSU Extension office and the Tech man hooking up my computer told me, you don’t make a lot of money working for Extension but you meet more “nice” people than you can ever imagine.” No truer words were ever spoken. I have come across so many nice people in this profession. I love being able to help as many of them as I can. From working with 4-H Volunteers helping them figure out all the paper work we hand them and all of the 200 project books that are available to getting to mingle with the teens and other young people who come into the office has been very rewarding.

I remember sitting behind Marilyn Reed, my former working partner, and wondering how does she know how to identify all those weeds/grasses brought in.  And those Bugs!!! Yuk.  Now a few years down the road I find myself being able to do those same things.  From the hundreds of Bag worms to Emerald Ash Borer insects brought into our office to the branches with Lichen on them I think I’m getting a good hold on a little natural resources background.

Every holiday brings the usual how to thaw a frozen Turkey, or how long to cook questions. After summer’s bounty of gifts, I am asked how to can or freeze garden produce.  Mind you, I myself am no expert in any area, but I do know where to find the answers.

Every event or program is embedded in my mind as to what is needed.  Programs, sound systems, and projectors are just a few of the many necessities to start an event.   I guess an easy way to sum up what being an OSU Extension Administrative Assistant is; I organize, prepare and setup, then tear down and clean up; find solutions to problems; and adapt!

I love serving our community and helping in any way I can to be of service to our clientele.  I am very blessed to work with a great bunch of coworkers and many, many “Nice” volunteers.

It's always so nice to go into the OSU Extension office and be greeted at the front desk with a smile and a friendly hello, from someone that is always helpful and willing to aid us with whatever the situation may require.  Thank you Deb, we all appreciate your willingness to help with no matter what the question or need may be.

Sue & Louise

Something New....Improved....Just For You!

Have you visited a park or two in Van Wert lately? Recently there has been a great deal of construction and additions in the parks.  These changes are in the form of athletic facilities, support facilities and updates to the aesthetics of the parks.

Fountain Park, home of the Summer Concert Series and various special events is boasting new pole lights.

A new concrete approach to the Band Pavilion now replaces the unsightly stone drive. This approach will help bands that perform in the park to be able to load and unload their equipment with ease.

Jubilee Park has received nearly a complete new facelift. A new Little League Ball Field was constructed and is just seeing its second season of games this year.  A new concession building with restrooms was built to replace the old concession trailer that was used for nearly ten years. Additional parking was added to help with the increased activity in the park.

Be on the look out for a new flag pole to be installed at Jubilee as well as new park signs.  Speaking of signs, there is also signs located in strategic locations so visitors from out of town can find the parks without difficulty.

Smiley Park, one of the most active parks in the system is always a work in progress.  Two pavilions have received new roofs. The restroom facilities at the pavilions have received  new coat of paint, new doors and just minor details have been attended to in order to give them a fresh new look. Restroom updates are a work in progress and not completed yet.

The concession stand became the victim of an unfortunate fire that ended up a total loss in August of 2012.  After a long and drawn out process, construction of a new facility finally began in the fall of 2013.  The building process was completed spring of this year and the Smiley Park ball fields now have a beautiful focal point to serve the public.

There you are, there is something new, improved and it’s all for you at the Van Wert Parks Department. But, before I go I have to add that several of the new facilities that have been added have been made possible with the generosity of many businesses, organizations and individuals that have invested in the parks. Without them we would not be able to make the improvements and updates to the parks.

 Until next time, Sue.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Heistan Woods

A Walk in the Woods


Around the corner from my house is a nature trail. This is the time of year that I like to walk through the woods. Everything becomes alive again There are nice trails and the floor is covered with the spring ephemerals.  I am not well versed on all the wild flowers, but I have an appreciation of their beauty.


 The trees are not yet covered with their foliage, so this day the sun was sending beams of light through  the trees.

On this fine day on the trail I encountered  a couple of people walking their dogs,  One was a Greyhound rescue. It is such a regal dog .It  was what you could call the perfect day The squirrels were rustling through the leaves making their presents known.  Birds were flitting here and there. Do allow yourself time to observe what is all around you.

This park has a pavilion, picnic tables, grills, and a playground for the children. This park is used by many  families.

The park is funded by the Van Wert County Foundation. The Jaycees, and The Starr Commonwealth boys were instrumental in establishing the trails.

Through this legacy we get to enjoy what they have laid out for us.

Take a walk and enjoy the serenity of nature. Listen to the birds and the sounds of the woods.
Don't forget to take your camera.