Forget the sunblock, no need to grab sunglasses, and leave the hat on the shelf. You won’t need five bucks and the camera can stay put, ready for another Kodak moment. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy Garden Walk 2009 in and around Van Wert, Ohio because I went…I saw….I photographed….and the sweat poured out.…just for you.
Sunday, August 9th, my sister and I headed out on the hottest day of the summer thus far for Van Wert. We took a back road that ended up being the wrong road, but we finally made it to our first sunflower stop.
Larry & Emily Riley
We didn’t go in order. We simply stopped at the first house we could find and that happened to be the home and gardens of Larry & Emily Riley in Van Wert. The three words that describe the landscaping and gardens are…whimsical, innovative, and charming. An iron fence surrounds the back yard that holds a plethora of flowers in a mass of colors, shapes, and textures. The items used to accent and hold plants bring smiles to even the reddest-from-heat faces. Naming the vignettes proved to be almost as much fun as viewing and photographing the flowerbeds…and yes one area takes “bed” quite literally. An old wringer washer rests against a white building bearing plants instead of wet clothing; a washboard juts out, as an accent, from a cascading plant that touches a hosta leaf below with a friendly hello. Wall art, reminiscent of a quilt, became a background that drew the eye upward. I bestowed the title, floral washday, on the outdoor vignette.
The Rileys put antique, yard sale, flea market, or attic finds to new and unique uses. The basket on an old bicycle spills over with a charming arrangement of annuals. A watering can, that gave its bottom for the cause years back, was placed permanently in a pouring position with a lush of plants and flowers all around it. A silly toad spewed water into a tiny pond adding the serenity of water. Emily created an eye-catching display using hostas and begonias around five tea cups perched on table legs painted in red, blue, orange, peach, and lavender using floral sticky clay to hold the components.
From the welcoming front door to a peek through an open door in the backyard, the Rileys have created beguiling garden scenes and relaxing spaces within a small yard that screams personality.
Robbie & Madison Adams
A drive down a tree-lined street in Van Wert took us to the home of Rob & Madison Adams. An elegant entrance with large containers framing the hosta lined walk to the door greeted visitors. A short walk into the yard led us to striking metal art. Rob designs landscapes and incorporates his iron works with stunning appeal. The bright flowers captured my eye and the glint of the sun gave the sculpture and surrounding plants a surreal element. In the back yard, plantings and art harmonize forming an outdoor living space that soothes the soul, even on a hot day in August. Rob’s father began creating metal sculptures and wall hangings in his free time from being a physician. Rob and his sister, Beth, leaned the art through the guidance of their father. Rob’s wife, Madison, is also an artist with Street Artists, located in Van Wert. Check out their website and be sure to take a look at the gallery. My favorite piece in Rob and Madison’s yard was a wall hanging of the sun gazing in timeless mystery over the yard from near the back door.
Rob & Leslie Moser
After a quick bite to eat, we were back on the road heading out of Van Wert proper. We came upon Rob and Leslie Moser’s home and, of course, had to stop. One of the master gardeners at the residence, told us that the aim of the previous owners, Brent & Kris Tow, was to create an easy maintenance landscape and oh, how they achieved their goal. The natural setting for the log home fits like a bird in a nest. Blue and green container plantings, along with a wooden rocking chair, set the porch off drawing attention to the entry. A curving stonewall surrounds the back of the home with a woods off to the side and a pond in the front. Roses, pink hydrangeas, heucheras (coral bells), and impatiens stand their ground next to fountain grass and spruce trees.
The landscaping may be low-maintenance, but the owners also attained a balance of natural, serene, and lovely.
Roman & Kylee Baumle
The last stop of the day happened in Paulding County at the home and gardens of Roman and Kylee Baumle. Surprising, jubilant, and lush offer an overall description of the gardens. Around every corner inspiration lurked ready to leap into my brain and be stored for a future gardening project.
From a tree that holds a tiny secret door with a fairy watching close-by to a stand of sunflowers emulating the bright sun overhead, the gardens danced as mirages in the heat. The vegetable vignette complete with sweet corn and a bib-wearing scare crow added humor to the gardens and flowerbeds. Roses, growing along side the fence, stately lilies, and a triangular bed with a colorful sign directing visitors this way and that brought elegance and character to their respective corners. Fountains soothed the soul and eased the sweating brow. A freestanding background of lattice provided space for a climber and sumptuous foliage plants. A shabby chic chandelier became a pot holder hung from an overhead arbor that shaded the patio. In the corner, a growing vine hid necessary pipes and wires that every homeowner must deal with. Birdhouses, hummingbird feeders, baubles and rocks added decorative layers among foliage, flowers, and plants.
The heat of the day and a late start ended the tour early. We missed viewing the gardens of Carolyn Girod, Ray & Mary Young, and Dave & Janet Myers. I just know I missed spectacular gardens and novel approaches to growing vegetables and flowers. My admiration goes out to the Van Wert Master Gardeners who organized such a fine event, even when the weather decided not to cooperate. To the garden lovers who willingly put their “growing babies” out into the world… you are my heroes.
Still hungry for more? Don’t forget to take a look at the slide show. Just follow the link under Slideshows on Flickr. Also, Kylee Baumle's blog, Our Little Acre gives you a guided tour of her yard and gardens. You’ll find loads of inspiration, bountiful ideas from quirky to quaint, and a relaxing tour of the Garden Walk 2009 in Van Wert, Ohio.