For some time now, I have enjoyed reading one of the most beautiful garden blogs on the internet. BG Garden Blog, authored by Brenda, not only is located in the same zone as Our Little Acre, but is also just a short hour and a half drive away. Yesterday, upon the invitation of Brenda, I visited her gorgeous gardens.
As I neared Brenda's house, I passed a wind farm, much like the one that is being planned for our area. I'd forgotten that Bowling Green had this and I was happy to get to see the gigantic wind turbines in action.
A short time later, I turned into the drive at Brenda's house and I was taken back to the time I visited Hiddenhaven, the gardens of Tracy DiSabato-Aust. The rural setting was very similar to Tracy's, complete with pond and woods.
Brenda met me as I stepped out of my car and from that moment on, we were two friends and gardeners immediately off on a day of talking plants and flowers and design, with the latter being a mostly one-sided conversation, as garden design isn't my strong suit. It clearly is something that comes naturally for Brenda. She has a knack for putting things together in a perfect blend of color and texture.
We casually walked around her house and Brenda explained some of how things got where they were and what were her favorites. She shared her plans for planting various landscaped areas, flower beds, and the vegetable garden.
The Portage River runs through their property, back through the wooded part. Oh yes, lots of woods and we walked some of the trails. There were remnants of the spring wildflowers, such as bloodroot. Black-winged damselflies (Calopteryx maculata) flitted here and there, and graciously allowed me to get close enough for a decent photo.
There are several beautiful cats roaming BG Gardens, because like us, they like their kitties. I got to meet Jack, Oppie, Kink, Boo, and Gracie.
After we did our walk-through, we took off for Genoa, where I introduced Brenda to one of her fine local dining places - Muggz's Tea Nook - where I'd been at the end of May, during the Cleveland trip. Funny how that is, that something can be right in your back yard almost, but for some reason, you're not aware of it. I tried to finagle the recipe for the Tomato Basil soup out of the chef, but alas, it's the only thing she won't give out, of all the things she cooks. (She did tell me she uses honey in it, though.)
With our tummies full (Thank you, Bren!), we traveled a short distance to Elmore, home of Bench's Greenhouse & Nursery (as well as Schedel Arboretum and Gardens). As we turned into the parking lot, we saw a sign out front that said, "40% off all plants." A flurry of words were exchanged between us, as we pondered if that meant what we thought it meant.
When we got inside, we saw another sign:
And then another:
Finally, Brenda went to the counter and asked just what really was 40% off. The answer? Anything with a root system.
Well, let me tell you, we were beside ourselves and like two kids in a candy store. In some places, a sale such as this might not be all that exciting, but this was Bench's. Brenda had told me they had a huge variety of plants, trees, and shrubs to offer and that they were healthy too, and she was right.
We probably spent two hours or more, looking through their things, picking and choosing and having the best time. The only thing stopping me from getting more than I did is that I'm running out of space to plant things, unless we make the gardens larger. They're already at the upper limit of what Romie and I can manage, so I left the 'Coppertina' ninebark and the 'Diane' witch hazel there. It was really hard passing up the witch hazel, at $60 for a large one, but the sale meant there was no guarantee on anything and I wasn't sure I wanted to risk that much.
Brenda used to work at a greenhouse, so she shared some tips with me as we chose plants and talked about where they might be planted and how to take care of them. We took our purchases to the checkout, and Brenda was concerned that we might not be able to fit everything into my van, but I assured her that over the course of all the gardening trips Mom and I had made in the past, we both knew how to pack a van to the maximum. No worries!
We felt good about our choices and the great deals we got on some fabulous plants. Brenda got a couple of Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) shrubs and a 'Sutherland Gold' Sambucus, as well as other perennials. I found my hanging Boston ferns for under the pergola and the gazebo, and a few other plants that I've never seen in any garden center before, such as a tricolor St. John's Wort (Hypericum × moserianum 'Tricolor').
I also picked up a Japanese Beautyberry, a Sunset Hyssop (Agastache rupestris), two Siberian Irises ('Pink Haze' and 'Strawberry Fair'), and an orange German Bearded Iris ('Savannah Sunset'). A Gloxinia, at $2.99, just jumped right into my cart, too. Those perennials, in quart containers? $2.00 each.
By now, it was after 6:00, and I needed to think about heading for home, so after taking Brenda back to her house and saying goodbye to her lovely family, she and I said our goodbyes too. It was amazing how quickly the time had passed, but that's how it is between friends, isn't it?