I was on my own today. Mom had classes with the rest of the Master Gardeners so I took the car and headed to Franklin Park Conservatory. This was the second day of their annual Antiques and Gardens Fair. Vendors were located in various places throughout the conservatory and I spent an hour or so browsing what they had to offer.
I particularly enjoyed the stone and pottery vendors as well as a nursery that was offering mostly native plants. I bought an orchid - Nodding Ladies' Tresses - which I'll be able to plant and leave in the ground year round. I knew Mom would want one, so I bought one for her, too.
The antique dealers came from places like Virginia, New Jersey, and the Carolinas, and had some very high quality things, but way over my budget. One business had framed vintage botanical prints from the 1500s. Very nice!
I took my purchases to the car, then returned to the conservatory to make a quick sweep through the plant rooms. With most everyone's attention on the fair, I pretty much had the rooms in the conservatory to myself, which was a really relaxing way to see it. The butterfly exhibit from earlier in the summer had ended a few weeks ago, but there were still a few hanging around.
There is a permanent Chihuly display at the conservatory and though I've seen it twice before, it never fails to be awe-inspiring. The glass art fits in so well with the plants, it's hard for me to imagine the gardens without them now.
From the conservatory, I drove to Old Deaf School Park, which is home to the Topiary Gardens.
The park is the former site of one of the buildings of the Deaf School. The building burned in 1981 and had to be demolished, with the property lying dormant for seven years. It then was turned into a park and sculptor James Mason conceived the idea of recreating Georges Seurat's painting, A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte, with topiaries of yew trees. Known for adding whimsical touches to his works, he included a cat in the rendering of the park scene, a feature not seen in the original. The docent at the visitor's center told me about this and said to be sure to look for it.
I wandered around the beautiful park, admiring the topiaries, chatting with a man who was setting up white chairs for his wedding later that afternoon, and looking for the cat. I thought I'd found it, but when I reported back to the visitor's center, it turned out I hadn't. Of course, I had to go back and locate it, which I did, and it was in an unexpected yet natural place and it made me smile.
Just down the street from the Topiary Gardens was Kelton House. This historical residence was also on one of the Master Gardeners' tours yesterday and is normally only open by appointment. Since it was so close, I decided to see if by chance I could visit the gardens behind it, even if I couldn't go inside the house.
When I got there, it was obvious that there was a wedding reception being held outside in the gardens. As I walked up the sidewalk, a couple members of the wedding party were standing at the end of the driveway, so I went up to them and asked if the gardens were really as beautiful as I'd heard. They assured me they were, and I was welcome to "go back there and mingle and take a few pictures" if I liked. I was hesitant, but they insisted, so I crashed the reception.
I was only back there for a few minutes and acted like I was supposed to be there. The reception was nearly over anyway, and lots of people were leaving, so no one paid much attention to me and I got to see Kelton House gardens. The house has an interesting history, being a stop on the Underground Railroad.
By this time, I was needing to get back to OSU to pick Mom up from her classes, so I drove back, past a war protest on High Street, parked the car, and waited in the gazebo in front of Howlett Hall. I spoke with Mom on her cell phone and she still had a 45-minute session to attend. She knew one of the presenters, who said I was more than welcome to sit in on that session, so I did. Ideas for working with children in the gardens were presented, with a very interesting segment on vermiculture.
Following this, the conference was over and we headed for home. We'd had a very fun, very busy three days, but we were both ready to get home and rest up from it. Actually, I think Mom could have kept going indefinitely, but not me. I wish there was some way for her to transfer some of that seemingly endless supply of energy she has, to me. I could sure use it.
At the end of the day, we both came home with some new plants, new pieces of whimsy for our gardens, a couple of gardening books, and more great memories of another successful mother-daughter gardening trip. While I didn't really gather any specific ideas for my own garden, I know that I'll be inspired as I'm working in it and will remember things I've seen on these trips and may implement something I probably wouldn't have, had I not been around to these garden-focused places.
My take of green things:
- Heuchera americana 'Ginger Ale'
- Euphorbia 'Efanthia'
- Hemerocallis 'Hush Little Baby'
- Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven'
- Carex 'Blue Zinger'
- Spiranthes cernua f. odorata
- Liriope muscari 'Variegata'
- Echinacea purpurea 'Pink Double Delight'
- Allium sphaerocephalon
- Astilbe simplicifolia 'Sprite' (Mom bought this for me, because it's her favorite)
- Amorphophallus rivieri 'Konjac' (Mom bought this one for me, too, as they were offering them at a special price for Master Gardeners)