Steve & Diana Pollock
Steve & Diana Pollock
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The Van Wert Master Gardeners are sponsoring a Garden Walk featuring 11 exceptional gardens in and around Van Wert.

The Garden Walk is scheduled for Saturday, July 16, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $10 per adult. Tickets may be purchased at any of the gardens and each garden stop is designated by a sunflower sign prominently placed in the landowner's yard.

Refreshments will be available as well as "Shop Fruits of our Labor" market at the homes of the Master Gardeners on the walk. Additional locations offer a Tussie-Mussie demonstration, irrigation demonstration, and diagnostics with questions and answers. Items need to be brought in a ziplock baggie for identification.

Following is the location and descriptions of the gardens:

Sue & Robert Young, 935 Elm Street, Van Wert

The square foot gardens at Sue and Bob Young's home at 935 Elm Street began when Sue read "All New Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew and decided to give it a try. Three years ago, her grandson Chan Hurless helped her build her square foot boxes. Sue has always enjoyed designing her garden but this was a different style and she is enjoying the new challenge. There are 7 square foot boxes, 5 half barrels and 2 big flower pots filled with herbs, flowers and vegetables. Every year she tries to bring in new plants to add variety and color. Sue dresses up the family backyard with fun scarecrows, watering cans, bird houses, and a water fountain that she handcrafted. The child in all of us will enjoy looking for Miniature Fairy Gardens. So look for the different areas to relax and enjoy the birds chirping and also a few gardens in a bag.

Steve & Tomi Jaycox, 702 Congress Street, moved to this location in 2002 with an empty canvas and many weeds that lay ahead of them. After three years of waging war on the eyesore and admitting defeat, professional landscape expert Laurie Long of Laurie's Naturescapes was hired to create and expand a garden. Weeds were killed, peonies moved, and plans were made to accommodate additional plants for the future. Over the years a variety of perennials and annuals in many shapes, sizes, and colors have been added, along with organic materials, a rock garden with succulents, tree stump planters, landscape pavers, and stone and driftwood pathways; all of which add interest and texture to the creative design and attract nature's own "colorful characters" such as butterflies, interesting birds, squirrels, and favorite family pets Hazel and Boo. The Jaycox family wishes to extend gratitude to everyone in the community who has shared and contributed toward the garden over the years.

Mauvette & Ralph Collins 16524 Middle Point Rd, Van Wert

Their home is located at the corner of Gamble and Middle Point Roads.

Mauvette started her garden in 2001 with a large fountain base that she used as a container for flowers. The next year two perennial beds were added. That same year her husband, Ralph, built her a seated arbor. There always seems to be a perennial that needs separated and moved, so now her perennial bed extends clear to the road. She has several clematis vines and over 250 roses of many varieties that climb on obelisks and trellises. In addition to her vines, she has Oriental lilies, several potted flowers and hanging baskets on the deck and patio. They also have a berry patch and vegetable garden. As you stroll through the gardens, take in the lovely aroma of the roses.

Aaron Baker, 1001 S. Walnut, Van Wert

The gardens of Dr. and Mrs. John Perchalski feature a bold palate of summer color through the use of irises, day lilies and asiatic lilies that bloom in succession throughout the summer. The front of the house features a traditional foundation planting that compliments the period in which their historic home was built. The back yard contains several garden areas, including a shade garden with astilbes, hostas, bleeding hearts and spiderwort. The shade garden gives way to a succulent garden filled with butterfly-attracting sedum varieties. Flowing from the brick patio is a cottage garden, framed by a brown picket fence that structures gardens rooms and encloses an eating area and a water lilly pond. Behind the cottage garden, Dr. Perchalski's collection of day lilies--more than a hundred of them--are showcased against blue muffin and high bush cranberry viburnums. Master Gardener, Aaron Baker, caretakes for the Perchalskis. Since moving there in August, Aaron has revitalized dozens of shrubs through winter pruning. In addition, he has reshaped and redesigned several beds, planting and dividing and transplanting more than five hundred perennials. This garden demonstrates how to maintain mature landscape as well as the use of annuals to help a garden shine through an extensive update. At this location, there will be an opportunity for diagnostics with time for questions and answers. Please bring your plant or insect item in a ziplock baggie for identification purposes.

Visit the cottage style gardens of Fred & Louise Hartwig, 1186 S Walnut Street. Theme gardens include a white garden, yellow garden, rose garden, sun and shade gardens, with numerous Japanese tree peonies, and a yellow one that the Hartwig couple treasure. This Garden Walk stop will feature a vertical garden and small space garden. Fred and Louise would like to impress upon gardeners new and experienced, that no matter how small the space, one can have a garden. Dwarf fruit trees have been introduced, such as peach, and a Meyer lemon. See how to grow grapes, blueberries, and strawberries, all in a small space. Also, on location will be "Shop Fruits of our Labor" offering visitors the opportunity to purchase all sorts of garden related items.

Gardening has evolved at Steve & Diana Pollock's home at 8012 Slane Road. Over the years the focus went from canning, freezing, and drying of garden harvests to simple family fun spent in outdoor garden rooms! Surprises abound for every season starting with early June bringing bright orange Oriental Poppies and many favored peonies of long ago. Later, annuals fill in remaining empty spaces during summer months along with herbs, vegetables, and perennial flowers. Self seeded flowers are nurtured and enjoyed by family members. Sunflowers are everywhere. The structures and recently built pergola on the premises add an appealing ambiance to the pond nearby where family members gather to fish and swim. Heavy spring time precipitation was the inspiration for adding a few raised beds this year. This project completes the backyard enjoyment. Pick up and cool off with refreshments at this Garden Walk location while you take a leisurely walk around the premises.

Jay & Tonia Gamble, 12479 Cooper Road, went from high to low maintenance gardening. For many years a regular garden was planted, tilled, and hoed. That all changed when Jay attended a square foot gardening seminar in 2010. He was captivated when taught about gardening without tilling or hoeing. His 20 foot by 40 foot garden was converted using the square foot method. He now has 12 boxes of various sizes and since learning about this technique has separated his row of asparagus from the old garden. The garden consists of a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. In addition, he has added strawberry and blueberry plants. While visiting the Gamble's home be sure to ask about irrigation to help with garden maintenance.

St. Mary's Parish Rosary Garden, 601 Jennings Road, Van Wert

The parish, in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus, coordinated the development of a garden as a "Memorial for the Unborn". Once the decision was made to construct a garden the Knights of Columbus suggested that a memorial for the unborn be constructed. A rosary was built around the memorial out of stones and bushes, with five benches placed throughout the garden. Clint Salisbury, a fifth-grade student at St. Mary's at the time and son of Roger and Becky Salisbury, won the contest for designing the garden in the shape of a footprint.

Parishioners, who made donations to the cost of construction, have their names engraved on the benches, stones and trees throughout the garden.

Other areas of interest consist of the Bell Tower garden, the front of the Church and school, as well as the recent landscaping around the Church and Hall.

Garden of the Senses, next door to Wilkinson's Printing on 100 block of Main Street

The Master Gardeners of Van Wert have created a garden in downtown Van Wert, located in an empty lot between two businesses that had been used as a parking lot. This lovely oasis, called the Garden of the Senses, today contains trees, flowers, herbs, and shrubs with raised beds and brick walkways curving around the flowers and trees with benches to stop and rest and enjoy the peacefulness of the garden. A pergola was built on the spot, which in the summer is adorned with hanging baskets and during the Christmas season houses a stately decorated Christmas tree. The Garden of the Senses can be viewed on Main Street just east of Balyeat's Coffee Shop.

Children's Garden, across from the airport on 1400 Leeson Avenue, Van Wert

This garden, located in Smiley Park on the southwest side of Van Wert, has been a project of our local Master Gardeners classes. It provides a hands-on learning facility for children and their families. A gazebo is positioned in the center with several theme gardens radiating out like spokes on a wheel. The first garden is a large butterfly-shaped garden outlined by flagstone and incorporating vibrant plantings that butterflies love. A walkway through the center of the garden leads to the colorful Butterfly House; provided by KAM Corporation, that contains lush plantings of aromatic flowers .They attract the many species of butterflies that make their residence in the House and garden. This garden was designed to promote Education, Horticulture, The Arts, and to be Environmental.

Historical Society Museum Herb Garden, 602 N. Washington Street, Van Wert

The herb garden is designed to the period of the log house. It contains plants that would be grown and used for a family living in the log house in the 1800's. The herb garden is divided into several raised beds with paths between them. The gardens include a culinary, medicinal, household, cutting, biblical, fragrance and a vegetable garden. The Evergreen Garden Club designs, plants and maintains the garden throughout the year.

During the garden tour, a demonstration will be given on how to make Tussie-Mussies from herbs in the garden. These are bouquets or nosegays that carry a message in the language of flowers. Guests will be able to make their own Tussie-Mussie to take home with them.

If you have a green thumb, or even if you don't, you will want to check out the various landscaping ideas and the variety of gardens designed and developed by area families. You will be amazed at the lovely gardens and lawns that you will see and be able to pick up ideas on what will enhance your garden and adapt it to your lifestyle. So, whether your garden is large or small, mark your calendar now for July 16 and make it a point to visit all the gardens on the tour.

The proceeds of the Garden Walk will be used by the Master Gardeners to maintain their two garden projects: Garden for the Senses and Children's Garden. The public is invited and encouraged to stop downtown Van Wert and view the Garden of the Senses that includes a winding pathway bordered by flowers, trees, and shrubs ending with a charming pergola. Drive to Smiley Park (across from the airport) and see the Children's Garden with an inviting gazebo and surrounded by the many theme gardens all attractively landscaped. The proceeds from the Garden Walk will be useful in supporting the Master Gardeners with ongoing future educational projects.