2021 Final tour:

Photos and story by Gail K.

2021 Final tour:leaving rural Michigan we head south to Ohio;
down US 23 to Airport Hwy West. 

: Gardener- I brake for plant sales & yard art.
           (maybe we should make a sticker)

Oak Park is well noted for their expertise in pond care. They have several on site ponds and carry a vast array ofproducts & supplies needed to maintain any type of pond.

Along with pumps & liners; they offer a variety of pond plants and fish. I have always found the staff to be informative and helpful.

In addition to the outdoor displays & products; their indoor exhibits offer a variety of unique garden items,which attract gardeners of all types

ABOVE:     Fairy Garden items

.BELOW:   Terrariums

ABOVE:  Indoor plants

BELOW:  Succulents galore

Back outside: we found a large expanse of trees, shrubs, & plants on display.  These are but a fraction of what they have on site at the start of the growing season…but at this time of the year-the price is right…..

ABOVE: ground covers galore!!! 

SMILE!!! I caught the Milan gals off guard, as they walked around the gardens–

Then there is my favorite-YARD ART!!!

As expected; the variety has diminished since the start ofthe growing season, but they still had a lot to offer……

There are pots of all sizes, shapes and uses.
BELOW:  Assisted by a staff member-Debbie found justthe right pot to take home for her garden.

Tucked away in the shade garden is an expansive

Gnome village. I admit; I believe in fairies & gnomes. Do you??  This was a really neat display, and not far from the small playground they have for children without parents.

Tom & Emokee discuss adding a gnome garden to their wooded lot garden. One plant in the shade garden, deserving of attention was The butter burr…. several members grabbed at least one for their own shade gardens

OK folks; finish your shopping and tuck your goodiesinto your cars…..it’s time to hop off our designated
stop of the day—- The Cannaley Treehouse Village.

Look who I found to take home–just so cute!!!

Thank you Oak Park for your hospitality & shopper’s discount.We enjoyed our visit and found some great deals. We’ll besure to check back early in 2022 for our gardening needs.

Meet you at the village………………….g

One last time I flipped thru the photos.  A select few catching my eye; as if the others not quite enough. In this final post on the Dahlia tour; I share a view of Mother Nature & perhaps her **  perspective of life.

ABOVE: Even Mother Nature isn’t always perfect;        ** Why should we try to be?

BELOW: Wonder, if the nectar tastes like vanilla or strawberry??
         ** Life is a matter of give and take….

Erect & standing at attention; as if to say Hey!  “Look at me”
        ** Be proud of who you are—

ABOVE: A color standout; makes up for the lack of petals.
           ** Be the best you can be.

BELOW: Delicate yet “imperfect”; kissed by the soft
   glow of a morning sun;
                   ** just happy to BE……

BELOW: Nodding as if embarrassed in lacking a full bloom;
       **Be patient; beauty doesn’t happen over night

ABOVE: Deformed or just unique; reality two separate blooms.
           **Don’t be too quick to judge

BELOW: Who needs all that stuff around the outside anyway??            *** Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

BELOW: Muted colors outside, mask the brightness from within.
**Things are never as they seem. 

ABOVE: Yummy delight, the bee oblivious to my presence;
      ****Enjoy what you will …….
BELOW: Lookin’ good no matter which way you see them

 ** two sides to everything; Be willing to look at both ….

ABOVE: when the time is right; the bud will “pop” to full bloom
      *** enjoy this moment in time, it will never happen again

BELOW: Hey there, you lookin’ at me??
    **wonders of nature are all around us-just look

You think I resemble what???***Dare to be different

Just a few of the standout groupings: As we leave

the Dirty Girls Dahlia Farm –carry this thought with you


Thank you Gail for all the lovely photos from our visit to the Dirty Girls Dahlia Farm. It has been inspirational. I will miss seeing everyone at our brunch.. I hope to be back in track in 2022. As you requested, Gail, here are this season’s dahlias from my paper farm inspired by this visit and your photos. Linda

story and photos by Gail K.

700 flowers & more colors than a 64 count crayola box; what to do???  Simply; post more flower photos, hopefully
without repeats.   (OK stop laughing) .

Ready???  Let’s hop on the ole’ color wheel. Giving a big spin, we stop on—-WHITE!

The pure white ones are very pretty but finding a pure white was a challenge; as you can see-below. The color is in the eyes of the beholder……….

Moving on & landing on maroon!!!

ABOVE: (I really like this one)…….SPIN—     YELLOW IT IS!!!!

true yellow…As seen in the Dahlia, a perfect blending color. Truly, Mother Nature knows what she is doing-

Spinning, spinning hitting on PINK!!! Next to impossible assigning one color but the
majority of the blooms we saw had a pink base.

Many variables in the pink family such as salmon, magenta & mauve.

With such a large color group; let’s pause for a minute. I chose not to photo name tags, rather I have grouped by color. Stella & Gerri are monitoring the blog (4 parts).  I hope my posts will aid in your selecting & ordering tubers for your own garden.

Even in the shape—so much contrast in one flower

This time we make a big jump— PURPLE!!! Heart Eyes
What’s not to love…………..

Spinning again, we warm up with ORANGE!!!variables– red orange, yellow orange & just orange. Orange another great blend—-?? COINCIDENCE yellow & orange straight from the colors of the sun….they warm our hearts.

Last but not least; the color RED!!! With shades of hot fire red to cool purple red & all else in between.

I hope you enjoyed the color tour–a kaleidoscope of Dahlias?
Before you order; check out the web site for a more detailed listing-
I will have coupons at our November banquet to use with your order. Next :  #4 Dahlia Tour– “Gail being Gail”

stories and photos by Gail K.

Following my GPS; I had minimal difficulty reaching the Dirty Girls Flower Farm.  As I turned onto a gravel road my GPS suddenly hollers out-YOU HAVE ARRIVED!!!!

I guess so!!!  On my left a small field, full of colorful flowers

I arrived early; to take photos before the group arrived. 
The field still in the shadow of morning; with the night’s dew
still heavy on the grass.   Despite my wet feet, I stood in awe with my mouth open—-HOLY MOTHER OF COLOR!!  Where do I start???

Really- have you ever seen such colors!!!  I was promptly greeted by Gerri, the official Dirty Girl. 
She had some tasks to complete so I kept taking photos.  

You all know I like purple, any wonder I was drawn to this one-and then

OH-LOOK—- over there–that one- it reminds me of Chahuly art glass— 


Gerri didn’t seem to mind my asking questions as I meandered around; going from row to row.

Above: Gerri removes a protective sleeve from one of her largest blooms.  She utilizes organic products & techniques; such as
companion flower or vegetable plants to help control insects and diseases.

Below: note the plantings at the end of each row.  

It isn’t an easy task, “meandering”- the 700 plants are in staked rows, with rope strung between to support the varying heights of the plants.

Also, care needs to be taken to ensure the stakes at the baseof each plant; which bear the name, does not get displaced.Talk about “tip toe thru the dahlias”   Fa La La la la…..

example: this beauty & its tag.  This association will be referenced in a later section of the blog  ……

Others begin to arrive; scattering through out the field-
wanting to closely exam the many blooms. (Kids in the candy store)

Gerri doesn’t mind the chatter & just keeps going about the business of taking care of her plants–

With the majority now present, Gerri reigns us in to her outdoor classroom & casually discusses the art of growing Dahlias.

Below: she uses a drip system to water; lacking a direct source, she explained how she uses a small pump to pull
water out of a tank and then push it thru the tubing system.

She took us up and down the rows; answering questions andexplaining the specific ins and outs of growing these unique
and fascinating flowers.

One major impact; the technique for getting “the best” bloom. This entails picking off side blooms and allowing “the leader”
to get all the energy to develop its bloom.

Having the right plant and using this technique will get you prize winning dahlias such as this:

after “class time”- Gerri stood by to answer questions she allowed us to freely roam about the plants.

Strolling thru the flowers, row by row; members ooh’d & ahh’d over the many colorful blooms. Many taking the time to write down the names of their favorites. ( Hi Linda )

They compared notes and discussed which ones they maybe interested in growing next season.

Throughout the morning, our host was snipping the longer
stemmed varieties.  We each got a bouquet to take home. What a pleasant surprise & such a thoughtful gift.

Truly a “hands on” learning experience on a new topic. Thanks
Milan Girls for suggesting the Dirty Girls Farm for a tour….I have never been so impressed with one flower; although I doubt
I will ever grow any; well maybe one. Thank you Gerri–

afterwards some of us stopped for a lunch before heading home; it was suggested we stop at the Red Rooster.

Great choice, an enjoyable meal (HUGE portions) and all
agreed the tour made for a great day- it was nice mingling asa group again.   I will share more flower photos in Part 3… g

You can cast one vote for each scarecrow every day but hope you will click on “Best Out(Standing) in the Field” under Belladonna, then go to the end of the entries and hit submit.

To cast your votes go to: https://www.milanmainstreet.info/straw-poll

Thanks – and stay tuned…..and PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE EVERY DAY!


Section 1:  30 DAYS OF DAHLIAS

Our first tour in September was a Dahlia Farm;   “Dirty Girls Flower Farm” in Willis, Michigan.
A real treat; the variety of colors & shapes, just amazing.

I want to share all my photos but for the sake of the blog I must restrain myself; after all she has 700 plants.  To include as much as possible, I will split into sections– Ready??? Hang onto your hats.

Get ready for some real eye candy-

Resembling firework displays-the garden exploded with the various colors & designs.

Every color imaginable; solids, mixtures & blends.You won’t find these in your crayola box, that’s for sure!! 
Only Mother Nature could create such colors!!!

Sunrise to sunsets; explosions of red, yellow, pinks, and oranges.

The various shades within each color, extends the mind’sconcept of what is “normal” …

From cool colors found in shade to hot & on fire like the sun…

The contrast of dainty & soft to sharp & dramatic.

REALLY!!!!   There are no words…..

What a treat–Mother Nature combined all her tricks into one flower……..

There you have it-
Just a simple bouquet of 30 out of 700; hand picked for you!
Which was your favorite?  The upcoming posts on this tour,
will include more.  For now;  ENJOY***
 a different DAHLIA each day for a month


Story & photos by Gail K.

Hello fellow gardeners-with Michigan’s summer season coming to an end-
Monarchs will be heading south-SunglassesI would like to share some final photos of my brood.

ABOVE: can you see the wing inside—- needless to say.neither of the twins, hatched; for some reason, the butterflysuffered a virus or other issue which destroyed it beforeit could.
BELOW: success!!!!      newly hatched   note its chrysalis

ABOVE:   a young caterpillar munches away while a newly hatched
Monarch dries its wings on the same milkweed plant.

BELOW:  hello, are you my sibling??

its wings just dry enough, the butterfly takes to the air landing on a nearby sedum; the flower nectar will provide much needed energy– a gentle breeze and sunshine will allow the wings to completely dry before fully adapting to its new life.

Following the butterfly around the yard- I make an observation: It would extend ?? appendage out then draw it back from what I assumed was its mouth.

Was it drinking ??? How cool-but wait.  I just learned, the Monarch is a Nymphalidae. Meaning, despite 6 legs it stands on its rear and middle legs only, curling its shorter front legs up. Was this merely a front leg???

A butterfly uses it feet to “taste” but not drink- I still say it was drinking……What do you think I saw??  
Irregardless, we bid farewell to the Monarchs; their departure
a sign of Fall. To ensure their legacy, they must leave Michigan & travel
great distances to reach a destination where they can start the cycle over…if they arrive safely, come spring, we will once again give witness to their rebirth when they return.



August Tour

story and photos by Gail K.

For our August tour; we had members invite us to visit their gardens.Below are pictures from the day we dropped in on Michelle.

Even before pulling into the driveway, Michelle’s artistic talent is visible. A flower bed, in a serpentine pattern winds its way across the front yard;

as if to wave a greeting to anyone passing by or to visitors walking to the front entry of the home.

… a warm welcome

Hearing voices, I turn & hop back down the red brick walkway; to find where everyone else must be.

around the side of the house, the backyard comes into view. What??? a vineyard….intriguing-can hardly wait to see what’s next. 

Entering into the yard proper; on my right is a mass planting of Limelight hydrangeas.

the group off to my left- listen as Michelle talks about the plants in her garden;  Caryopteris x clandonensis-“Bluebeard”

Seeing the grapevines, remind me of picking grapes in the small vineyard at my uncle’s farm.  Boy is it HOT today.

Before the rest get here, let’s take a closer look & catch a bit of shade at the same time.

The vines are loaded with clusters of grapes in various stages of ripeness.  I am going to try this one-

not bad: as I turn to find another I discover  the vines behind me are not grapes….oh goodie another favorite treat!!

Did I tell you I missed breakfast????  Better hurry before the rest get here….I’m hoping Michelle won’t miss these-

Yup!!!   I ate ’em and the search is on to find more.
               Yum Yum.
       Yikes here they come…..

don’t want to get caught with my hand in the cookie jar-

One tree caught the eye of many: the Dawn Redwood-Standing in the shade it provided, we discussed the uniqueness

of this particular species.  A member of the fir family, it will lose its needles come fall.  It’s a great tree for the west side of your home, Michelle’s large yard provides an ideal habitat
below:   the cones

This grouping of conifers provides a background for the

POND—adjacent to the patio & kitchen; allows those ineither area to be able to enjoy the sounds of the waterfall.

There are several features within the pond area. The KOI, a waterfall, the stream, a herb garden and the walkway.

Sitting on a bench on the backside of the pond I review the photos I have already taken; as I enjoy 

hearing the jingle jangle of wind chimes which hang nearby.

A large yard allows Michelle to have a wide variety of plantings. Vineyards, flowers, shrubs & conifers; along with

fruit trees (peach, apple) and vegetables (tomatoes, pumpkins)

She has literally divided her yard into “rooms.” Departing from the bench seat; let’s follow the path and see where it leads.

Thru the gateway & entering into the next realm-I see a slide which has been built into a hillside:

a play area for children (or adults??) who visit here. The path fully opening to expose an expanse of grass with scattered areas of defined groupings and outlined by a raised, mulched bed

which runs along the entire length on one side.

Today, even the native plants droop in the excessive heat.

The group decides to retreat from the sun, to the shade under the tents which are alongside the pond.


Here, we can cool off while enjoying some light refreshments

along with sharing gardening secrets, before we head home. It was a hot but enjoyable day. We learned a lot of new things.

Michelle, Thank you for opening your garden and allowing us to visit.You & your husband should be proud of your yard.   

In closing, although I was not able to do all 3 tours that day; we would like to post any photos taken by those who did….

Birth Announcement

Submitted by Gail K.

Birth Announcement

Monarch nursery is busy-


I believe this to be a male, the markings thick and dark

The journey which lies ahead & it started here, in my yard

Downtown Milan Highlights:

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Tour day I hit Milan like a whirlwind.  Quickly snapping photos along the way, rushing to “catch up.” 

Coming from & living in a small town; Milan’s revitalization efforts interest me. The following Saturday I went back; YUP!!  To leisurely take in the sights. I would like to share with you—At this junction I went straight ahead…….Downtown Milan here I come.

Look what I discovered!!!   Architectural Yard art??? Aren’t our homes what most of us base our gardens around… cool.

I love old houses; here is another one & I am quite happy I chose the other route.

I recalled seeing some on tour day- by the square gardens. Despite being behind, I had taken the time to walk down. If I hadn’t, I would have missed seeing these two….

Driving along, I arrive at the Milan Civic Complex.

Now I know where I am.

This time I can check out that rock over there-Who knew??? Cool!!!

Traveling via car I head to Wilson Park where I can park& head out on foot to get more photos.

I walk to the Veteran’s Wall…Sitting on a bench, I see where some of the bricks are engraved with names; I presume, donors.

Each of the walls, are dedicated to a specific war or
group of veterans.  The medallions represent branches of the military; this wall pays tribute to all Milan Veterans.

The plaque below honors Milan vets from WW ll.

It’s time to move on, away from the lake, so let’s cross the street for one last look ……

I’m attracted to water (Pisces); finding the sound of rushing water soothing to my soul.

Back on the park side of the street-I barely notice the murals-located on the front lawn with all the door art.   Did you see them?

Beautiful works of art providing the public-with a unique way to learn the history of Milan.

I believe I need a bite of something sweet to get my energy up……..can ya guess where I am heading??

Barely able to get in on the first visit- this time I had time to wait and yes—I did purchase some delicious treats.  After all, how could you not—

Flavored breads with fruit jellies for your bellies &high top muffins and donuts with stuffin’s  yum yum

intoxicating smells waffling thru the air, cause you to linger-but I must move on; indulging in one scone was just enough.

I make the short walk to the church, taking note of

the sign and its greeting— I can reach the car by walking down the rear hill.

It’s time to head home– but before I leave, did I miss a chance to vote on my favorite door??? These two get my vote-

I liked them both equally for my #1 pick. Which door did you like??

From where I sit on my lily pad, may I offer a “lesson for this day?’

we have visited many places- from grand to small-but do we really see it all???

I think we should always take that second look-you just never know what you may have missed the first time.

The lesson: if given an opportunity to take a different path  Take It”  I’m happy I gave Milan another look.