2014 Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland

Southwest Ohio garden clubs who are affiliated with Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (OAGC) joined together to produce the 2nd annual Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland at the Hueston Woods State Park Lodge near Oxford, Ohio. Nearly 70 garden club members and friends from 12 OAGC garden clubs participated this year. They hailed from Butler, Clermont, Darke, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery and Warren Counties. The display will be up through January 19, 2015.

The invitation is open to other clubs who would like to participate. To get your feet wet for the 2015 set-up, please consider participating in the take-down on January 20, 2015. Contact Vicki Ferguson at vferguson@oagc.org for more information and for details on an overnight lodge discount rate for workers.

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Fa la la la la la la la la

Lobby fireplace

Lobby fireplace

The old traditional New Year’s Eve Welsh carol that gave us the song we know today as “Deck the Halls” has a history that dates back to the 1700s. Last week a new tradition was begun: the decorating of Hueston Woods State Park (OH) Lodge near Oxford, Ohio. Though not a song, a solid work crew of 19 ladies from seven garden clubs affiliated with The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs recently decked the halls of the Lodge in holiday finest at this inaugural holiday beautification project. Clubs participating were from Region 3 (College Hill GC, Here and There GC, New Neighbors GC and Our Homes GC) and from Region 4 (Des Fleurs GC, Liberty GC and Monroe GC.) Sponsored by the Hueston Woods Region Visitors Bureau, the clubs managed to decorate around 16 trees (two of them 12 feet tall) and hang yards and yards of artificial pine garland with lights and ribbon.

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If you haven’t visited the Lodge recently, you might want to take a trip with your family. The guest rooms have been renovated and are quite comfortable. Don’t want to do an overnight? Just go for a day trip and have a meal in the Trailblazer Dining Room. The Dining Room hours and menus can be viewed HERE. The food is wonderful! The Lodge Dining Room continues to be a destination for many — over 1100 meals were served on Thanksgiving Day alone! To see more photos of the Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland, click HERE.

Clubs interested in participating next year should contact me. Many hands are needed and no experience is necessary! Mark your calendars: the target set up dates for next year’s event spans November 11-13.

Trailblazer Dining Hall Mantle

Trailblazer Dining Hall Mantle
The Ribbon Tree is about 14 feet tall!

Small Wonders

Miniature designs must be less than 5" in any direction

I had a great day in Chillicothe (OH) yesterday sharing a Miniature/Small floral design program with the Story Place Garden Club of Region 9. What is the difference between as small or miniature floral design, you ask? The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs’ Exhibitors’ and Judges’ Schools teach that a Miniature design can be no larger than 5″ in any direction. A Small design is larger than 5″ but no larger than 12″ in any direction. Getting the right scale and proportion is the most important part of creating these lilliputian beauties. Sometimes it’s not easy but it is FUN! When you get the scale right, it is hard to tell if you are looking at a five inch or a 40 inch floral design.

Lots of sales news to report:

Our friends at Bluestone Perennials in Madison (OH) is a family owned Ohio-grown mail-order business. They have many great sale offerings for spring of 2012; some up to 50% off. Check out the deals at www.bluestoneperennials.com

If you haven’t subscribed to Knollwood Garden Center’s (Beavercreek) email newsletter, you should. (Sign up on their home page.) You’ll get a heads up on the specials and also the schedule of their wonderful gardening seminars. For instance, this week email customers are being rewarded with four special days (Thursday-Sunday, March 15-18 ONLY) to redeem their Bonus Bucks. The next opportunity to redeem Bonus Bucks will be in June. They are also offering a drawing for free tickets to the Dayton Home and Garden Show (an $8 value). Don’t forget the Dayton Home and Garden Show is offering entrance discounts. Check them out HERE.

Grandma’s Gardens (Waynesville) is offering 20% off the regular price of everything Thursday-Sunday, March 15-18 in their Spring Preview Sale. They, too, have an email group for customers. Sign up HERE.

Tomorrow (March 16) is the last day to sign up for Siebenthaler’s (Centerville and Beavercreek) Frequent Gardener Card for the discounted price of $15. Starting Saturday, March 17, the price goes up to the full $25 price.

Marvin’s Organic Gardens (Lebanon) is now open weekends.

On the road and back

Design by Joni Duncan

Which comes first? Growing beautiful plants and flowers and then learning to create floral designs or creating floral designs and then learning to grow beautiful plants and flowers? Whatever the case, lovers of either avenue of gardening found a heaven on Earth last weekend in Boston, MA, where the World Association of Floral Arrangers (WAFA) held their World Flower Show. The event featured hundreds of exhibitors from 30 member countries. The show is held once every three years and, until this year, had never been held in the U.S. The 2014 show will be in Dublin, Ireland.

Honorary (not judged) entry from Kenya. Design is about 6 feet tall.

The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (OAGC) took the opportunity to travel by bus to Boston to visit this incredible event. One of OAGC’s members, Joni Duncan of Beavercreek, OH, was an exhibitor. Her entry was in one of the 30 classes (with a maximum of 20 entries in each class) and featured commissioned glass pieces by Dayton glass artist Jim Kahle. Though she was not one of the top three in her class of 20, she did a fantastic job and said that learned much from the experience. Kudos!

Miniature design about 5" tall.

If you would like to see hundreds more photos that I took at the flower show and our trip, go HERE.

Good deal

Chris Carpenter of Beyond the Greenhouse in Springboro has a surplus of 4.5″ annuals (many are Proven Winners) that she is selling for only $2 beginning tomorrow, June 23 through Saturday, June 25. Additionally, 4″ pots of blue or white Wave petunias will be $1. Location of sale is 821 W. Spring Valley Rd. in Centerville (near W. Spring Valley and Paragon Rd.) Hours are 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday and Friday and from 9 am to noon on Saturday.

Garden Tour for the Cure

There will be a special 8-home garden tour in the Brookville/Clayton area to benefit Breast Cancer Research this Saturday, June 25 from 10 am to 4 pm. Tour tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the Design Crew Salon (442 Wolf Creek Pike, Brookville) or at any of the participating gardens. Contact Mary Thomas at 937-397-4599 for more information.

Wahkeena’s Hike for Health

Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium reginae)

This past Saturday, I finally took the advice I hear often: take a hike! So I did. Actually, it was a fundraiser called Hike For Health. A hike for health that benefited the walker and also raised monies for the OAGC (Ohio Association of Garden Clubs) Foundation. I chose to hike at the Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County south of Lancaster, OH. Talk about a gem in the wild, Wahkeena sparkles!

Amazing sights included the native Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid and the Showy Orchis as well as the Flame Azalea, all of which were in bloom. Using my cell phone’s ringtone, I managed to call in not one, but two Ovenbirds who ended up having a territory spat because of me. I also called in a Tufted Titmouse by whistling. In fact, the titmouse came within about 6 feet and apparently wanted me to feed it. It was the highlight of the day. Enjoy the photos. If anyone has some identification on the fungi, let me know and I’ll add captions.

Flame Azalea buds (Rhododendron calendulaceum)

Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum)

A bumble bee giving me a high-five

Squawroot (Conopholis americana) A non-photosynthesizing parasitc plant of oak roots

Devil's Urn (Urnula craterium)

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Local events:

Be sure to check out other events at the Events Calendar page tab at the top of this page.

My garden club, the Here & There Garden Club, will be holding its annual Plant Sale this Saturday, May 21, from 9 am to 1 pm at 5200 Bigger Road, Kettering OH 45440.

College Hill Garden Club will hold its annual plant sale May 19-21 at 40 Carson Ave, Dayton OH 45415.

The Mercer-Smith Historical Park is giving a free presentation and holding an Open House demonstration. “Heritage Plants in a Frontier Garden” will be shared this Saturday, May 21. The presentation is at 10:30 am in the Fairborn Library Meeting Room (1 E. Main St., Fairborn OH) and the Open House runs from 11 am to 3 pm at Mercer-Smith Historical Park (corner of First & Middle Streets, Fairborn OH). Learn some of the ways that plants, seeds and gardening techniques of the early 1800s differ from those of modern day.


Let’s get the party started

Robin Williams is quoted as saying, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!'” Well, here in Ohio – we’re starting to get down! At least in the southern part. I was up in Cleveland last weekend and, sadly, winter still has a grip there.

OAGC’s Hike for Health

Wahkeena Nature Preserve's Nature Center

I recently visited Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County south of Lancaster OH in preparation for the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs Foundation’s Hike for Health day on May 14. OAGC’s members are accepting pledges to raise money for the OAGC Foundation’s charitable endeavors on this day of awareness. (Email me if you would like to support me with a pledge. I’d be grateful for your support.) A side benefit is the bettering of the health of the walkers as they walk the trails at Wahkeena or other areas closer to their home.

Spring’s party has already started at Wahkeena

Long-tailed salamander

It was a great day for a short hike with Wahkeena’s staff, site manager Tom Shisler and Robyn Wright Strauss. We spotted the newly arrived Louisiana Waterthrush and even some Pine Siskins who had yet to depart for their summer grounds up north. We also heard the Yellow Throated Warbler. Always with an ear for new birdsong, they both bolted to attention when a new sound split the air. The funny part? It was only my cell phone going off – which has the ringer of an Ovenbird singing. It was a hoot.

Though the days of salamander hanky-panky are behind us, evidence of their antics were abundant. Tom knew right where to look for salamanders and when he overturned a rock by the spring, sure enough, there was a long-tailed salamander.

Salamander egg mass

Down at one of the man-made vernal pools funded by OAGC, Tom and Robin gently lifted up some of the egg masses for viewing. Frog and toad masses were present as well and is a sign that spring is well underway.

The Canada goose couple were already on the nest. Tom has had to unclog the pond’s overflow as the beaver have been busy trying to plug up that leak in THEIR pond! Sadly, I must note that the center’s hawk recently passed away. It was estimated that she was over 23 years old. Plans are already underway to have another rehabilitated and unreleasable hawk move in to Wahkeena.

Baby salamanders

If you’ve never been to Wahkeena, I encourage you to take the trip to this wonderful preserve. Willed to the Ohio Historical Society by Carmen Warner, an OAGC member, Wahkeena has long been a destination for the organization’s members. Entrance fee to OAGC members is FREE. All others are $5/car.

We have babies!

Decorah, Iowa bald eagle nest cam

Surely the bald eagle nest cam in Decorah, Iowa has captured everyone’s attention. With three mouths to feed the parents are kept very busy. The nest cam show nature’s basic instinct: survival. The babies are being fed anything from rabbit, crow, muskrat, fish and who knows what else. Yumm! The baby down will be replaced with darker, medium-grey second down when they reach about 9-11 days of age. Juvenile feathers will start to appear when they eagles are around 24 days of age.

Well, I must be off. I’m taking my worms on the road for a Master Gardener program on vermicomposting tomorrow in Newark, OH. Later!