I have just returned from a trip home to England, and spent quite a lot of time visiting gardens. The weather was not the best - mostly cold, rainy and windy - but still my sister and I managed to see beautiful spaces all over south England.
Today, I am not going to write about these, although I have a lot to share in future columns, but I want to encourage you to visit the gardens at Garlo Nature Preserve.
Garlo was the first of the preserves to be acquired by the Seneca County Park District, and is the largest. For the past 10 years, two people have created some unique gardens there.
PHOTO BY VICKI JOHNSON
The dedication of the Hedges-Miller log cabin is one of the highlights of Oktober Fest at Garlo Nature Preserve.
Jim Bailey, retired park commissioner, has planted the area around the nature center with a dazzling array of native plants, perennials, herbs and ornamental grasses featuring Russian Sage, perennial sweet peas, a host of black-eyed Susans, Autumn Fire sedum, dianthus, daisies and poppies.
A favorite spot is a large hydrangea on the north side of the building.
He has planned a succession of bloom that keeps the gardens appealing all through the year.
Stretching toward the road is a butterfly garden where Jim has set buddleias, bee balm, coneflowers, monarda and many other plants producing nectar to attract a host of butterflies.
Host plants for caterpillars include milkweed, mint and Queen Annes lace.
A dazzling display of iris is featured in early summer.
Leaving one section to grow wild in the southeast corner is improving the habitat and luring monarchs and swallowtails to the area.
Linda Rose, park program director and director of the Out and About Pre-School, is working with her students on several areas of Garlo.
The children planted sunflower seeds in a rectangle to create a room that glows in the late summer sun. This was funded by a Wild School grant, as were a bean tipi, sundial, a watering place, toad abodes, a rock pile and wind chimes.
Additional gardens include a rain garden that channels runoff water from the barn and nature center and uses it for water-loving plants. This is attractive to wildlife, and it filters the water and prevents flooding.
With a grant from Lorrie Ott Seeds for Education, Linda has planted many native species and added a Grandpa and Me bench.
There also are plantings around the kiosk and other small buildings, and I am sure the newly restored log cabin will have its own garden in the future.
An excellent time to visit Garlo Nature Preserve would be Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m., while Oktober Fest is in progress. Admission is free, and Garlo is easy to find.
(When I say that, you can believe it. I can get lost in downtown Bascom.)
Just go through Bloomville south on SR 19, and the park is about a mile down the road. If you get to CR 6, you have gone too far.
The Oktober Fest features traditional German food, including bratwurst, leiberkaese, hot and cold potato salad, sauerkraut and red cabbage, along with hot dogs and a host of homemade desserts.
The Deutschmeisters German band will perform from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and there will be a wildlife attraction, crafts for children, kettle corn, a farmers market, rock cutting, farm animals and narrated wagon rides.
The featured event this year will be the dedication of the Hedges-Miller log cabin at 12:30 p.m. The 1850 cabin, which has been skillfully reconstructed by a team of volunteers, was donated to the park district in 2002 by Dorothy Miller.
We are hoping for good weather this year, but come on out, rain or shine, and visit the gardens and join the celebration.
Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program. Contact her at email@example.com.