Last Friday, my friend Marsha and I set out on An Adventure and after spending the first part of our day at The Butterfly House, we looked for a lunch location. We settled on Applebee's and after enjoying a wonderful shrimp spinach salad with soup, we succumbed to dessert. I had the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate something or other and I left the restaurant in a Chocolate Stupor. M-m-m-m-m-m.....
It was the first time that either Marsha or I had been to the Toledo Botanical Garden and we didn't let the light drizzle that fell off and on all day to put a damper on things. We'd brought our umbrellas, but it wasn't enough for us to really need them. We took our time strolling through the gardens, which are located on over 60 acres on the west side of Toledo.
We decided to visit the gift shop first, since we were late in arriving and the shop would close at 5:00. It has many unique items, with one room devoted to beautiful and unusual glass items, some of which were Chihuly-esque.
I chose a small glass bird made by an artist from Switzerland that will hang in my kitchen window. There were plants for sale as well, at a 40% discount, and I purchased the two remaining hardy Agapanthus. At six dollars each and with multiple bulbs in each pot, these were a bargain and I won't have to lift them for winter like I have to do with the ones presently in my garden.
We stashed our treasures in the car and then made our way to the gardens themselves. On a warmer, sunnier day, the Shade Garden would be a soothing haven, with its lush green trees, shrubs, and small pond with an gazebo overlooking it.
Within the shade garden, by the gazebo, is the Aquatic Garden.
There was a grotto sitting area and many, many hostas, those staples of any shade garden worth its salt. The Hosta Collection here is accredited by the North American Plants Collection Consortium (NAPCC).
On our way to other parts of the gardens, we decided to take a detour to one of the other buildings on the property. This one housed art on display, some of which was for sale. Most of them were watercolors (my favorite medium) and there were a couple that I thought were exceptional.
Returning to the gardens, we visited the Pioneer Garden, which grew heirloom plants, plus a few unusual varieties, such as tobacco and cotton. The log cabin is authentic, moved from its original location to the gardens, and was inhabited by Peter Navarre, thought to be one of Toledo's first inhabitants. The large apple tree by the cabin is believed to have been planted by Johnny Appleseed.
There was a long fence lined with grapes that were ripe for the picking. Marsha and I both had a taste and I have to say they were the sweetest I've ever had. Maybe seeded Concord?
Below the grapes was a long row of Lantana in the most luscious shades of red and orange. I have pink and yellow Lantana in window boxes at the front of my house and I wish they were hardy here. I think I'll try to overwinter them.
Nearby was the Dahlia Display Garden which showcased many varieties and colors of dahlias, all of which were on plants nearly six feet tall.
The entrance to the Rose Garden was impressive and so lush that you really couldn't tell what laid beyond. The grasses there gave no indication that beds of roses were behind them and we were somewhat surprised to walk through and find so many still in bloom.
Just behind the Rose Garden was the Vegetable Garden, which utilizes the French Intensive Wide Bed method. There wasn't much yet left for harvesting, except for the tomatoes, much as it is in my own garden. But I'm sure it looked fabulous in July! The Tin Man was an interesting touch.
We walked over one of the bridges over Crosby Lake, to the Perennial Garden, which is divided into sections such as the Color Garden, the Grass Garden, the Green Garden, and the Cottage Garden.
In the midst of these is the English Border.
Everything was so well-kept, we remarked about how many people and man-hours it must take to keep a garden this large looking this good, especially during a summer with drought conditions that we've had this year.
The Green Garden was mostly in large raised beds and contained various types of trees and shrubs.
The entrance to the Cottage Garden beckoned...
My favorite part of the Cottage Garden was the stone wall, which provided a very romantic setting that would have been beautiful for a wedding.
And speaking of weddings, there were preparations going on for one on the grounds later that evening. The 'getaway' vehicle was parked there and even with the windows up on the car, you could smell the age of it. It was a Buick Eight 'Special' and in immaculate condition.
There is a resident Great Blue Heron on the grounds, which we were fortunate enough to see.
Several sculptures and art pieces are scattered throughout the garden, but my favorite was this Tree of Life metal art:
Art is an important part of the gardens and their mission. Grants from the Ohio Arts Council make much of the art that is present here possible. The Blair Museum of Lithophanes is on site and we would have loved to have seen that, but it wasn't open the day we were there.
own garden. I've planted more, and they are preparing for bloom,
but we'll see if they are still there next spring.
Somehow, we missed the Herb Garden. This means a return trip - as if we need an excuse to make our way back to this beautiful place. I'd like to see it in late spring/early summer, when the azaleas are in bloom. I'd like to see it in all its seasons and with it only being an hour and a half away, it's a possibility!