Archive for August, 2019

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!!!!


Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

By Gail K:
Highlights from my exploration of the Dow Gardens:

Est. in 1899 as the home of Herbert & Grace Dow–the 110 acre garden now sees 200,000 guests a year. The map shows the many paths & named garden areas on the estate. My opinion; the gardens are an experience with nature; allowing each person to enjoy & reflect in a unique personal way. Flowers not so much the focus, but add color & texture to the design and shape of the many pathways.

Follow me as I make my way thru the garden areas-so very much to see but I must limit for the sake of the blog. In the photo above you see how the plantings enhance the curve- leading the eye and your feet to continue on;anticipating what may be around the bend.

The Rose garden-here are a couple of roses which caught my eye.

Adjacent to the Rose Garden was a very large Children’s Garden:

A notable planting in the children’s garden was this combo of
petunias and coleus.

rior to reaching the children’s garden, my eyes were drawn to a grove of white birch trees.
Not sure of the intent, but it gave me a sense of peacefulness.

You had to be on the alert for hidden gems-below is the studio:the building had a distinct Japanese flair, which was reflective in other aspects of the garden

Another interesting aspect of the gardens was the use of various materials & shapes- this bridge & the round stone walk were mesmerizing- echoing a time long gone —

Another aspect of “personal choice” and mixed media of the
A hidden gem in the Pineside garden
The Pineside Garden provided the backdrop for their home, “THE PINES.” The large & inviting veranda style front porch, provided a shaded respite for weary guests to sit in rocking chairs & take in the vast expanse of the yard as they paused from the extensive walking required to see the gardens.

A faint breeze carried a sweet aroma, thanks to a nearby Beauty Bush
The “stream walk” area provided the most contrast–water, rock and plantings.

A favorite for me–WATERFALLS

This photo encompasses the many aspects used in the garden
and should you need to take a break-there were hidden alcoves that provided
just the right spot-to sit and contemplate
Below–A prominent clue to the Japanese influence in the gardens- this is located in the Stream Walk portion

This large, mixed planting on a hillside was in the early portion of my exploration–it speaks to the gardener in all of us.

Among the flowers I discovered another fave of mine
In closing, I hope you sensed a personal encounter with the gardens. I enjoyed my time & found a certain peace. In closing, to quote Mr. Dow: “NEVER REVEAL THE GARDEN’S WHOLE BEAUTY AT FIRST GLANCE”

Read Full Post »