Weekend: How does your garden grow?

Attention all garden lovers: It’s time for the 2014 Findlay Garden Club Garden Tour. Seven city and two country gardens, plus two gardens at the University of Findlay, will be open Saturday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, July 13 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The tour is free, but donations are accepted.
It’s important to note that the gardens on the tour are examples of gardeners’ own efforts, not those of professional designers. The tour is meant to show the variety of gardens, large and small, that anyone can create with imagination and a lot of work.
Frank Gibbs, located at 4376 County 37, Rawson (about 9 miles from central Findlay), owns and operates a fifth-generation family conservation farm designed with a large serpent mound. As a recently retired USDA soil scientist, Gibbs has planted shelter belts of trees, flowering shrubs, prairie plantings and a mosaic of hardwood wetland vernal pools. Be prepared to walk to see it all.
Another historic country farm is that of Jeff and Emily Walton, a veterinarian. Their 1859 brick home, located at 8172 Ohio 103, was included on the Historic Preservation Guild’s tour in 2004. Find 18 live cats and multiple cat figures and items throughout the largely perennial gardens. Summer flowers include lambs ear, rose campion, coneflowers, Shasta daisy, liatris, daylily, roses and butterfly bush. Enjoy a hillside waterfall flowing into a pool with small fish, water lilies and mint.
Within the city of Findlay are seven tour gardens, all very different from each other.
Nancy Kinser, at 1218 Hurd Ave., calls her garden “Gary’s Memory Garden”, in honor of her deceased husband who started it. Nancy has perennials, including hosta, and annuals animated with three water features. Walk a winding garden path that reveals treasures at every turn, and finally, relax in a beautiful gazebo.
Jan and Rob Young’s garden is located at 235 Frazer St. Planned to provide constant color and consistent change, the Youngs have transformed what is often called their “Secret Garden” into a gardener’s paradise with a series of garden-scapes. Starting with two 90-year-old grapevines, currently Kiwi vines and seven varieties of grapes adorn the center arbor and surrounding fence line. The garden sports a palette of colorful flowers, including hanging plants, a container garden, and several varieties of begonias and coleus. A formal annual bed contains sedum, geraniums and snap dragons, and three water features include two ponds with year-round pet goldfish. The garden is wheelchair accessible and parking is available in the University of Findlay lot next to the home.
Lawrence Kirkendall has a plant lover’s wonderland at 818 N. Cory St. Kirkendall has built up the landscape through 50 years of loving toil. The gardens have over 50 varieties of flowers, vines, shrubs and trees, all planned so that leaf shape, texture and variegation are complementary. Crape myrtles brought from Mississippi 45 years ago, a Japanese lilac, a yellow poplar and a gingko tree are some of the unique plantings. His expertise in the branch-cutting technique has created new trees. Don’t miss an original decorative planter tucked in among the flowers.
The McCandless Garden is located at 121 E. Pine Ave. The garden reflects a series of ever-changing ideas and inspiration resulting in a tapestry of both the ordinary and the exotic. Many varieties of hosta and novel perennials share the garden with common plants like lilies and brunnera. A variety of woodland plants and Japanese maples are at home in the mostly shady backyard garden. Focal points in the garden include a small waterfall pond, a cedar pergola and numerous sculptural details. In 2013 the garden was featured in Ohio Gardener magazine.
Marilyn and Norman Meyers have created a pretty, neat landscape to complement their house at 1005 Brookview Court. There are many varieties of large hostas in both the front and rear gardens. Roses and vegetables reside together in a small east garden. An outstanding feature is a large raised wrap-around foundation garden extending around the east corner of the house across the south or back side. Many varieties of flowers and unusual ornaments adorn this raised garden. More backyard beds are found under spruce and crabapple trees.
Clint and Peggy Baker have a little bit of the country in their city garden at 2001 East-View Drive. The large rooster ornament in the front garden gives a hint of the 11 laying hens and one (surprise) rooster in a neatly designed backyard coop. Off the back patio and sun room is a small, but nicely designed garden with an interesting pattern of walkways and intriguing ornaments. Before leaving, don’t miss the bean tepee, the homemade play house, the rain barrel, an unusual hanging, and feed the tame hens.
Off North Main Street at 216 Elwood St. find the garden of Carl and Diana Kuhn. This unusual garden is home to enchanting container and fairy gardens. At least 30 of these small wonders are scattered throughout the property which includes a large pond. Marvel at the many small figures, houses and ornaments in the little landscapes. Completing the garden are many normal-sized perennials, shrubs and trees that give the garden structure.
Landscaping is well-planned and beautiful throughout the campus of the University of Findlay, and two new gardens are hidden treasures. One is a water garden, nourished entirely with rain water, found across the parking lot behind the Gardner Fine Arts Center (Mazza Picture Books Museum). Reach it by going west on Frazer Street and turning right behind the Egner Center for the Performing Arts. The second and newest garden at UF is a sensory garden designed with winding paths and raised beds of flowers. Completion is on-going, but there are a number of sensory items, including wind chimes, throughout the gardens. Rest and enjoy peace beneath the new pergola. To reach this garden, turn off North Main Street onto Swing Avenue, left on North Cory Street, and right into the parking lot behind the Davis Street building.
Maps are available for the tour at most area garden centers including Brinkman’s, DeHaven’s, Feasel’s, Perennial Plant Peddler, Lowe’s, Meijer, Walmart, Garden Central and Indian Trail Nursery in Columbus Grove.
For questions contact Doris Salis at 419-422-3560 or salis@findlay.edu.

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