Welcome Back

After a three month hiatus, September 21, 2019 marked the beginning of a new season for the Monroe County Master Gardeners & Horticulture Club. For our first meeting, we were planning to make a short trip to the Woelmer farm where Mr. Woelmer would take us through his BEER HOPS garden. However, Mother Nature prompted Mr. Woelmer to harvest his crop,so we will defer and catch up to this new “FAD” during the next growing season.

Lucky for us,Master Gardener- Bob Bransky, was able to come in and show off his non-gardening talents by playing a song he learned about “volunteeers” during a seminar in Wisconsin.

While munching on the light snacks provided, we sat back, listened and enjoyed Bob’s performance-
It was then time to get back to work; we need to prepare the demo gardens for their long winter sleep; so out to the gardens we went, with Jenny pointing out the needs in each of the garden areas.

Discussion on ground covers

The Children’s garden has been well tended but we need to look at the changes we can make to decrease amount of labor needed to keep all the beds looking their best.

can you name this plant????

Flowers in the children’s garden area


Did someone say Rose of Sharon?? How many are too many?

Walking along the north side of the building, we discussed the shrub row and the need for the anemones in the Memory Garden to be moved-stopping to inspect the 7 Son’s bush, before heading to the front gardens.

Can you see how it got its name?

See the flowers?

In the front garden we noticed all the evergreen shrubs have been removed from the front of the building. This will save much pruning–moving along brought us to the pine tree area. Bag worms a problem in the past
and apparently still are, as Gail found a sack but numbers not as great.

While continuing to inspect the pine tree-Gail came across a cluster of UGH! worms-were these the bag

Now on the southern end of the front gardens-

Jennie continued to discuss adjustments which could be made, allowing for less maintenance on our end.

Walking along the south side/parking lot gardens

Our Beauty Berry Bush was just that, a real beauty.

The entry garden always puts on a season’s long show!

A clematis in the entry garden; one of my more favorite areas just because of all the blues

We need to check on a favorite in the native shrub row–Paw Paw Tree- this year found it loaded with those big luscious fruits.

Lastly, look at the tall asters in the butterfly garden-


Members Share Page

A page has been added to our Blog called Members Share (unless the group can come up with a better name). This is a private page with a password for members only. The password is the same as our members page

Four Star Demo Gardens

Story and photo by Gail K.
Following our tour of Linda’s garden, we headed to the Four Star Demo Gardens. The Four Star plant was a standing tour when Monroe Ext. offered the Master Gardener classes. I graduated 2004 but I can’t remember ever visiting the Demo Gardens. Enjoy some highlights from our “self-guided tour.”

The roadside sign–
members use the strategically placed chart to identify plants in the area behind the sign.

Many liked the pale lavender color of the dwarf butterfly bushes planted in the sign display. (added Note from Linda: I was there yesterday with my niece and these were covered with various butterflies…but only a few Monarchs).

I really liked the arbor and the grasses along the walkway which led us around the sign garden to the larger display areas.

As we walked to the larger gardens, the Milan girls stopped to discuss which plants they could use in their Veteran garden display.

Larger display areas:

Looking back over our shoulders, you see the arbor where hanging baskets and large pots- make for an impact display of color & design.

This one caught my eye.

Migrating from area to area-we each moved at our own pace. Drawn to an area because of color, style or just because-

Despite being “self-guided” the size of our group made for group discussion which really enhanced our learning experience
and as always-Jenny was on hand to answer our questions. Below-display with ID board

(Close up of plant ID key

(individual plant ID & information marker )

In addition to the actual displays-the plants were in different settings.

The pond & waterfall: Left,back-a Lavender Chiffon Rose of Sharon. Thinking, Lavender is going to be an up and coming color

pond edge

A display of trailing begonias

( Yesterday when I visited you could hardly see the lattice. It was one beautiful vertical garden)lw
From the bridge you can see just how vast the flower displays are
The plate sized-hardy hibiscus were big hits, a dark maroon above and the pale pink one below.

Some other favorites:

mini mauvette, annabelle hydrangea

peach colored rose

I even found plants growing along the ditch bank interesting
and so did this garden favorite
Trip worth taking alone or with a group…………..Just think next year it will all be different………that’s the way of test gardens……

Monarchs on the Move

Karen Hehl sent me this for posting:

This afternoon my husband and I were out in the garden around 5:30. He noticed several Monarchs in the air. They flew past. We kept watching, then there were a couple more. Over the next couple hours there was a steady stream of them flying over our farm, heading south. I saw more Monarchs in three hours than I have seen in the past three years. Some stopped in for a snack on the Zinnias. As the sun was going down, we noticed several flying around under the trees. I am hoping some of them will spend the night in the trees. I will be looking for them tomorrow.

August Tour: My Garden

Photo & story by GK and a few from me.
The last tour of the summer highlights to enjoy:
Our blog editor Linda: extended an invitation to visit her garden

We have been to Linda’s garden before. An interior designer; her garden – a self reflection, never disappoints.
The front yard contains two paver resting areas surrounded by beds.

West Arbor patio area

the group in the front yard patio entry

Re-doing the front entry gardens, has been her most recent project- below, members study the succulent wall pocket placed to greet front door guests.

A closer look of the vertical succulent garden

Since the pavers take up most of the area, plantings are in various types of containers. At the entry I decided to feature a succulent garden. Here are a few of the containers and succulents.

sitting on the table is a container of various succulents

An old floor lamp converted into a container so the string of pearls could be featured

Another plant that got a lot of attention- a hydrangea. The plant produces striking color variations and per Linda,
she does not amend her soil for PH—-

This hydrangea is planted into a pot as well. It continues to produce new blooms that start off lavender, turn to the blues/lavender and then to the pink/sage color

For those of you that were interested in this variety it is an Endless Summer brand called BloomStruck (Hydrangea macrophylla).
Along with the succulents you will find 7 varieties of tree peonies as well as a few herbaceous ones. This time of year you see most green foliage. However, in Spring the blooms add much color. Here are a few of my spring photos:

This was increased in size to see into the bud where the saw flies are getting their share of pollen.

Here we discussed a bit of powdery mildew caused by lack of circulation in that spot. The mildew was concentrated by the herbaceous peony growing from the root of the tree peony

There were a few interesting plants discussed as well including the Helleborus from front yard that was a double, It’s called Helleborus Wedding Party – Flower Girl. There is a full series of Wedding Party, I have 3 in the series, but the other’s were just planted this year and won’t get blooms until this spring.

I had cut one for a spring flower arrangement.

Leaving the front; we walk around to the side yard on route to the back gardens.

Hiding in the flower bed–“a gardening angel”

On the west side of the house was an over grown area with globe arborvitae. There were 5 of these “monsters” and I made it a goal to rip the out and replace with colorful coneflowers.
Nested into the group is a delightful clematis. One of Gail’s faves from her past tours…she has a request in for a clipping. It’s name: Clematis heracleifolia, Mrs. Robert Bryden.

Linda loves using coleus to bring out matching blasts of color.
Below: Jenny shows how to propagate a coleus
What handsome owl. I enjoy matching many of my flowers to these artwork pieces in my garden. Notice the coleus next to the owl. It’s an unusual one that caught many of the gardeners eyes. I looked up my tag to include it’s name. The company that trademarks it is Dummen Orange. The trademark is Stained Glassworks and it’s name is Tilt A Whirl Coleus.

Here are more examples of Linda’s talent for bringing plants & yard art together with color
A major plant feature in Linda’s garden is a Japanese Maple
(I think I need to get one of these.)
Another feature the potting shed.

The side view

the inside from front to back

on the outside- back wall of shed, one of those wall pockets that Linda is noted for.
Below, A view of the garden from the rear of the shed.
Discussion-this plant: a HYSSOP or not ??

Grabbing a bottle of cold water before we dart off to our next stop.
Let’s take a quick peak back at her garden:
Linda, thank you, for being such a gracious host & for
sharing your garden with us!!………..

As we leave the Wildwood Metro Park: Manor House & Ellen Biddle Shipman’s Garden; on route to the Toledo Botanical Gardens-I want to share some parting words- a quote from Ms. Shipman:
“The Garden is a portrait of the person & it should express her likes & dislikes” The short, air-conditioned ride freshened us up for TBG,

Stella was able to describe the many changes taking place in recent years, s the botanical gardens have become part of the city park system.

( in artist’s village)

She showed us where the sensory garden will be built, and various collections and projects,…


(rose garden)

(an unusual rose)

(blues & sculptures)

like the hedge of white rugosa roses on the way to the color garden where she usually volunteers, when she is not helping with the plant records.

She had high praise for the hard work of the three horticulturists, improving the garden experiences in spite of frequent staff turnovers. It was fun to hear background on many of the plants,

like the Katsura trees near her area giving off a strong cotton candy aroma as their leaves turn in fall,
and the internal staff debate over the fate of the barberry bushes in the red garden
Both places are worth visiting at many times of the year and our two hours with guides will help us appreciate them more, remember more plants, and share info with others we take there.
As our tour came to an end most everyone opted to head home, weary from all the walking; some us continued to flit around since we were already here:

Here are some other highlights:

The Pond


Herb Garden

Leucothoe fontanesiana

a large sculpture–resembles the Metro Park logo:
existed before TBG joined the Metro Parks.
Done for today, to return on another; let’s extend a

THANK YOU-to Stella our very own MG who served as docent for this portion of our day. Both tours today were great!!!
We are lucky to have such diversity within our membership- and fortunate to neighbor with such valuable resources!!!!

Wildwood Preserve

Written by Jenny S.
photos Gail K.

Apprehensive about the weather report, we arrived at the Wildwood metropark
in coolest clothing and took care to stand in shade, but fortunately it was overcastwith a breeze in the morning and quite tolerable!

Although the former Stranahan manor house was closed in preparation for a wedding scheduled that day, our docents were also involved with the historic mansion and got permission for us to enter after all,
only going to the upstairs living area.

From there we had excellent views of the garden Shipman designed particularly
to be seen and enjoyed from that perspective (and it was cool inside!)

The acclaimed designer stayed in the house while planning the garden for the Stranahans and used the architecture of the house for inspiration.
(the dark arc at the far end of the above picture is this feature in the garden)
We learned some history of the house, heavily vandalized while abandoned before a massive community effort succeeded in the city purchasing the site for a park It is beautifully restored and an ambitious restoration of the original garden is underway.
Our hosts made the point that while Shipman’s garden frameworks were simple and elegant, the actual plantings were quite involved and difficult to maintain, so that few of her designs continued for many years after planting; very few in existence today. (A good lesson for us in planning public gardens.)

Some massive purple beeches are original and now provide more
shade than the rose garden should have, but it was quite lovely with
antique varieties and standards, enclosed in low box hedges.

Anemones and lilies were also enclosed in boxwood, with viburnum standards.
Rhododendrons and azaleas put on a show in spring, no doubt with bulbs, etc. but were simply a nice, healthy green in July. We missed the lilac and wisteria blossoms, too, and saw only the ragged end of the climbing hydrangea bloom.
There are a lot of interesting garden areas around the building that are not part of the personal and formal Shipman design, like a moss garden, hosta collections and both pollinator and wildflower patches with lots of good trails through the woods.
We liked seeing where Michele works to maintain small areas around large cottonwoods,

where bush honeysuckle (Diervilla) is growing and blooming well.

Someone else was in the gardens with us

Thank you Michele B for arranging this tour—to our docents who were very knowledgeable and to Jenny for the script. Upon leaving Wildwood, we went on to the Toledo Botanical Gardens-where our very own Stella K. served as our docent. That portion of our tour will be next but a separate blog posting.
Thank you gk