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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beauty In Van Wert

                                                   The Beauty Of Van Wert

Thursday, July 24, 2014


An AmericanHort Experience

Cultivate'14 is recognized as the premier educational and trade show event for horticulture professionals in North America. There were1600 exhibit spaces with over 12,000 in attendance. It is growing and getting better each year.

I picked up Sue, my co-writer, at 5:30 AM and headed for Columbus. We had beautiful weather. We drove  to the Convention Center and parked in the parking garage. We headed straight to registration. We had to pick up our Press Passes. This gave us all access to all areas of the show.

Saturday we spent most of the day in educational seminars. The first being Jarad Barns from North Carolina State University on how to landscape with Great Background Plants. It was interesting how it started the showcase of the garden .The one fault I would find, was his plant selections were not inclusive of our zone 5-5b. I would love Crepe Myrtle, but it will not winter here. His design will work here with the right plant selection for our zone.

Maria Zampini
The second session we chose was a couple of my favorite people in the garden world, Maria Zampini and Shawna Coronado. It was Social Media Digital Roundtable Exchange . This was good for Sue and I, as we are new to the Blogging World. We were given guidance on social media, marketing, blogging,  photography and writing.

Shawna Coronado

Next we heard the ever famous Dan Heims/ Terra Nova about "Right Plant, Right Place".  Plants for dry spots, for dry shade, perennials for containers, plants for crevices and salt tolerant plants. Dan has the most pleasant speaking voice and his travels make him an amazing communicator. Plus he is a new Grandfather. We exchanged talking about grandbabies.

Dan Heims
The last event of the day for us was taking the shuttle to Ohio State Annuals Trial Gardens and Chadwick Arboretum Learning Gardens. Blooms of Bressingham and AmericanHort provided this. I especially liked the Green Roof at OSU..

Sue and I met two young nursery men from Charleston South Carolina at the different seminars during the day.. They asked us to join them for dinner and being it was Saturday night without reservations it became a challenge. We ended up at The Cheesecake Factory at Easton. We had a 45 minute wait. which was better than 4 hours at other places. They were two very fine young men. We had a wonderful dinner and great conversation. After dinner we headed to The Varsity Inn about ten minutes from the Convention Center. It didn't take long for us to fall asleep.

We set the alarm early because P. Allen Smith was the keynote speaker. We were able to chat with him before he took the stage. He is the most personal celebrity you will ever meet, as well as his "everything",  Mimi San Pedro. I know Mimi is taller than I, but she had her "Big Girl"  shoes on. P. Allen certainly has a way of addressing where the future of gardening is going and what we need to do to be a part of a growing industry. Allen is a very savvy business person and has his way of motivating his audience.

Mimi San Pedro

The convention hall opened for us to see all the new plant introductions and all the equipment and products of the industry. Favorite stops for me was and always is Proven Winners, Dramm and HGTV. Over the years I have met many of these people in the industry and is always great to see them once again. We met new people and saw new products. Our minds were whirling.
Late Sunday, we took the shuttle to Franklin Park Conservatory Trial Display Gardens. This is always a treat. The daylilies were in full bloom. I love the Chihuly glass that enhances the gardens. We returned to our motel to ready ourselves for our final day,  Monday.

The show runs four days . We could only be there three, so we had to keep moving to be able to cover the whole show.. We had a GWA luncheon that was wonderful and where we were informed about what the Garden Writers are doing and about the conference in Pittsburg. It was great getting to reconnect friendships and making new ones. We made a quick run through the show floor before starting home.

 It was a great show, and this post only touches on a small part of what we experienced . We plan to attend next year.

Keeping informed

Louise and Sue

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Christmas In July, A Benefit Concert

We have all heard the cliché "Christmas in July".
The past two years the Children's Garden has been transformed into the Christmas Garden during the months of November and December.  The Garden comes alive with sparkling lights that dance to the sounds of Christmas music.  Young Carolers sing several traditional songs "Ole Come All Ye Faithful", "Frosty the Snowman" among others.  Santa you ask? Yes, he was able to stop even though it was his busy time of the year. Mrs Claus joined him too.

Santa and Mrs. Claus

A great deal goes into the transformation of the Gardens. A special individual in our community along with his family have been instrumental in providing this for the community. Each year hundreds of candy canes are given away. Thousands of lights are installed. Santa was able to hand out presents to the children that attended on opening night and this all possible through donated dollars.

The Children's Garden was designed with some green space. Developers, Master Gardners,  had in mind that the Gardens would be able to accommodate special events such as dance recitals, mini concerts or performances for children.  Just this past week the first concert was held in the gazebo.  It was a beautiful night for a concert. Taking place in the Garden's gave it even a more relaxing evening.

Barnaby Bright

Barnaby Bright was show cased in the first Benefit concert.  All proceeds from the concert went to the Lighting of the Children's Garden. This was their second appearance in Van Wert. There's nobody out there like them. Their music was hauntingly unique.  What a beautiful voice and so pleasant to listen to.

Beautiful Voice
If you missed this concert don't miss the next scheduled ones.  It's a beautiful location and it benefits a project that the entire community can enjoy.  Mark your calendar so you don't miss them.

SaMax will be at the Children's Garden, Saturday, August 2 and Kelly McRae will be performing on Friday, September 5. Both concerts will begin at 8pm.

See you in the Children's Garden!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Look Back on Independence Day

Did you stay in your home town for the Fourth of July? This past Friday many cities, towns and villages put their own twist on how they celebrate our nations birthday.  The name says it all, "Holiday at Home",  for Van Wert's Independence Day celebration!

I have spent all but one Fourth of July in my home town, Van Wert, the past 32 years! The one year was missed due to the birth of my middle son, Kyle. How appropriate to have a Firecracker Baby when you are the chairperson for the "Holiday at Home" Committee.

Ok, this isn't a blog posting on plants or gardening! I thought I would share with you the activities that took place this past holiday weekend. If you are from Van Wert, or the surrounding area, I hope you were able to take in some of the festivities.

The day begins with an all you can eat pancake and sausage breakfast at the VFW. If you like to bike, the Century Bike Tour begins at Jubilee Park. The bike tour is a great way to see Van Wert County as there are three different routes to choose from.  Shortly there after the annual parade commenced down Main Street so spectators chairs began to line up along the parade route. 

There always seems to be a variety of units in the parade. The local police and sheriff departments always start things off with their sirens a blaring.  The parade is then filled with bands, floats, color guards, tractors, motorcycles and you can always count on the Mayor to lend his support!

The Parade Begins
Color Guard-American Flag
Queen Float
Polar Extreme Float
Mayor Don Farmer

Parade Judges

Our new parade judges definitely had their work cut out for them. It wasn't easy picking out the winners in the various categories!

If you are into crafts, music and history, a trip to the Van Wert County Historical Society would be the next stop on the agenda. Also held the first weekend in July is the Old Fashion Farmers Days. A three day event held at the Fairgrounds.

Old Fashion Farmers Day Parade Participant

Van Wert Fireman's Chicken Dinners
 Late afternoon and into the evening there were several choices to wind down the day. A concert In Fountain Park with The Lima Pop Orchestra that drew a large crowd and the Van Wert Fireman's Association once again held their Chicken BBQ at Smiley Park. This was also the time that families gathered at Smiley Park to spend time together for a picnic, to do a little fishing or just throw a football or frisbee around.

Family Time
 The celebration wouldn't be complete without fireworks. While waiting for the first llight in the sky you could grab some cotton candy or maybe a shaved iced cool treat.

 After a short delay from the scheduled blast off, spectators were treated to a display of bright and colorful booms and blasts in the sky. For those who were close to Councilman Jerry Mazur's residence, a neighbor to Smiley Park, they were treated to patriotic music during the fireworks! What a fitting touch! Thanks Jerry. 

Now that the Fourth of July is behind us, planning for 2015 will soon begin.

Until next year!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Big Reveal

Malus 'Profusion'
In the spring of the year, our flowering crab tree located at the front of our house becomes a giant bouquet of pink flowers. We have enjoyed it for some twenty plus years, but it grew, and it grew, and it grew even more. It had covered up the house and was on the roof. Also it had become quite dirty. The fruit made a mess of the walkway, plus it suckered up as most of the old varieties do. A year ago we engaged an arborist to reduce its size and get it off of the roof. Even though crabs are hard to trim, he did a fine job.

This spring came and the discussion of the tree got serious. Even though I am opposed to cutting down a healthy tree, considering its size for its location, we decided maybe it should come down. It provided a lot of shade and I had a great shade garden under the tree. One day when I had been out of town, I arrived home late and it was dark. My husband said to me, did you miss something? The discussion became a reality. The tree was gone and cleaned up before I could reconsider. End of discussion.

Now the shade garden had become a sun garden. We looked naked, but after some adjustment, I had to admit, it did look better. You could see our house.

We decided not to hurry into the next step. We would give it some thought. I tried to visualize how to revamp this space.

About four months ago, my daughter and I, made a trip to the Toledo Museum of Art. On our way  we stopped in Waterville, OH at George Carruth's "Garden Smiles" studio. It was there that I first learned of Dale Rogers and his art. I mentioned this to my husband and surprisingly he was receptive of me making contact with the artist. After a lovely conversation , I commissioned Mr. Rogers to create me  "Swirl Bird", a Suessical style tree and bird. It is made of Cor-Ten steel with a stainless steel bird perched on the top of the tree. I could visualize this in the spot where our tree once grew. I would not need to water or weed.

After a long wait, I get an e-mail saying my piece would be shipped by freight. The next afternoon we were working in our back gardens when I heard air brakes. I walked to the front of the house and here was a large UPS freight truck delivering my piece of art. Now how is that for being quick. It came from Haverhill, Ma.


The Unveiling
So now we needed a cement pad to bolt it to, so Fred and I mixed concrete to make cement. We let it dry for three days.  A friend assisted Fred in placing it on the pad. Thanks Mike! We had to decide how to position it. We will wait ten days for the cement to cure before bolting it down. I removed the hostas as it was going to be too hot for them. I may have to make other gardening adjustments until all is in scale.

Making Our Concrete
Putting in Place
I love the piece and it is a major part of my "Art In The Garden".

"Swirl Bird" by Dale Rogers