Kara and Adam drove down from Defiance this morning so that Kara and I could take in the Van Wert County Master Gardeners Garden Walk. Romie and Adam were spending the day on the golf course, while Kara and I headed for points south.
I was excited for Kara to take this tour because as a Master Gardener, my mom had a chance to see the gardens the day before and she raved about them. Kara is new to gardening, but she's got a very green thumb and she's been bitten by 'the bug,' so it was going to be fun to witness her excitement at seeing the different gardens.
First on the tour was the home of Michael and Debra Kitson. This was a cozy and charming garden and well manicured. It was clear that a great deal of effort had been made to keep things green and growing in this hot and dry summer.
The back of their house greeted us with a wisteria-covered pergola leading to the patio and deck.
One of the highlights for both Kara and me was the water garden up on the deck.
We also enjoyed seeing the morning glories vine over a length of jute twine from a metal stake to the wood fence. Beautiful blooms were open for us, as it was still early in the day.
Next, we parked at my parents' house and walked across the street to Kevin and Brenda Merkle's home, which is beautifully landscaped and has an in-ground pool at the back, overlooking the Willow Bend Golf Course.
I've always loved this house and enjoyed seeing the back of it up close and personal. It was a warm day today and the pool looked very inviting!
We walked back towards Washington Place subdivision, to the home of Barry and Judy Thatcher.
Elegance was the theme here, and there were container plantings in abundance.
It was amazing that the flowers and plants all looked so lush and healthy and they must spend a great deal of time watering, since container plantings dry out even faster than those in the ground.
The veranda and patio area was just gorgeous, with an outdoor room look to it. It reminded me of some of the room settings that Mom and I saw at the Cincinnati Flower Show. I sat for a bit, just to take it all in, and while the look was formal, the feeling was comfortable and casual.
A little further down the street took us to Bob and Kathy Schnipke's home, where Kara and I both were awed by the small pond and waterfall by the patio area.
There were several koi and goldfish swimming around and the water lilies were blooming. Two small frog fountains added to the charm.
Bob and Kathy's gardens were very neatly groomed as well.
Kara and I admired the beautiful roses and the bright blue lobelia.
We got back into the car and drove south of town to the farm home of Clint and Amy Mosier. The property is quite large and includes a large pond.
The possibilities here are endless and while Clint and Amy have done a lot of work already, with rockscaping and plantings, the sheer size of their gardens will keep them busy just maintaining what they've already done.
It has a prairie look to it, which compliments their home in the country.
After we left the Mosier's, Kara and I had a little cross-country adventure due to a missed turn. During this little 'detour,' I discovered that I have failed as a mother, neglecting to teach Kara my excellent map-reading skills.
We managed to find our way to the next stop on the tour, however, which was the home of John and Leslie Simon.
They have a gorgeous wooded lot where the house is situated and there are many beautiful flower beds surrounding it, including some with English Roses.
When we first got there, we passed some dianthus that was being enjoyed by a couple of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.
The main garden is in full sun and is surrounded by a picket fence. The individual beds with perennials and herbs are framed by wooden borders and is quite colorful. Adjacent to this garden is a potting shed, of which I'm envious. Doesn't every gardener long for a potting shed? There is also a small greenhouse nearby.
The Simons have identified their plants with unique markers crafted of silver wire and pieces of colored glass. I didn't ask Leslie if she made them herself, but I suspect she may have.
After touring the Simons' gardens, we turned back north to the log home of Ed Freund. Ed built the home himself and the focus here was on trees. Many, many beautiful large pines and birches, as well as several other kinds of trees are seen here and Ed had each kind labeled for identification.
I've always had a fondness for paperbark birch and there was a grouping of these along with some river birch. I love the interesting bark on both of them.
Everything here was very well-kept, including the container plantings at the back door and on the deck.
We had a nice chat with Ed and he brought me up to date on his sister Beth, who shares my birthday. Ed and Beth's parents are John and Marlene Freund, former owners of Freund's Nursery. Marlene and my mom shared a hospital room when Beth and I were born, however I think that's the only time I've ever met Beth and I don't really remember it.
Kara and I moved on to the next home, that of Gordon and Paula Stemen. The brick walkways were especially attractive for their white picket fenced garden. It was in the style of a knot garden, with a center area and four separate flower beds surrounding it, divided by brick walkways, which had thyme growing between and over the bricks in places. Thyme is just one of many plants that can withstand light foot traffic.
Some of the bricks had "OHIO" imprinted in them and I wondered to myself if they would notice if one of them went missing. I thought they probably would, so I left only with a cookie and a bottle of water, which was provided at this stop.
The blue ceramic pots caught my eye, as I'm partial to them myself. Beautiful combinations of annuals filled them and once again I marveled at the health of the plants.
One of the best bottle trees I've ever seen was here and again, the blue ones caught my attention. The placement of the tree added to its attractiveness, as it was set in among other large trees with ornamental grasses near its base.
The ninth and final home on the tour was that of George and Altha Brooks.
Altha's passion is daylilies, and there were over 70 named varieties in various gardens on their property. This is the daylily's time to shine and they do that very well here.
A yellow double (whose name escapes me now ) was my favorite and I saw a white one ('Ice Carnival') for the first time. White daylilies aren't common.
The patio area is constructed of flagstone and leads to a wood deck. On the patio is a water feature, also constructed of flagstone. There were many blue ceramic pots here as well, all beautifully planted.
It was a warm and windy day and by the time Kara and I finished the tour, we were tired, but we came away with many ideas that we could incorporate into our own gardens. That's the wonderful thing about garden tours like this and we're glad that people take the time and effort that participating in these things requires.
Thank you to all of the host gardeners and also the Master Gardener volunteers who worked to help the homeowners today. Bravo to you all - it was wonderful!