If you’re a gardener, this is a great opportunity to gather ideas and tips for your own garden and to connect with homeowners who are passionate about their plants. If you’re not a gardener, you’re still welcome to visit the grounds of homes that are lovingly landscaped and generally not open to the public.
“We’re looking for different types of gardens,” explains Nora Newsock, Chair of this year’s event. “We want every garden to be different – from smaller container gardens to large landscaped gardens. Some have beautiful water features, sculptures and art. You can have a garden even if you live in a condo or small house.”
Justin Mohler and Dan Zehringer, among others, will welcome the guests. “Dan loves walking through the garden; I am the gardener and educate him,” explains Mohler. Your shaded backyard includes flowers, herbs and vegetables, a stone patio and a fountain.
Mohler, owner of the Salt Block Biscuit Company in Dayton’s Fire Block District, often brings produce from his home garden to the restaurant—mustard, Swiss chard, chive blossoms.
“I grew up on a farm, so we always had a garden, and my grandfather taught me a lot about when to grow seasonal vegetables,” he says. “I start some of my vegetables at home from seed.”
Mohler says he enjoys gardening because it’s “relaxing, meditative, and rewarding.” The couple is taking a garden tour for the first time: “We look forward to educating people,” he says.
Although most of the gardens on the tour are maintained by the homeowners, professionals have also contributed their expertise. One of them is Nadia Malarkey, a Yellow Springs garden and landscape designer who specializes in regenerative garden design and has worked with the homeowners of a mid-century modern home.
“The steeply sloping ridge behind the house had never been developed and over time the forest surrounding the Houk Stream, which flows through the 3 acre property, became so dense with invasive honeysuckle that the beautiful, deep gully of the creek bed hollowed out by ancient river courses and huge glaciers could not be seen,” explains Malarkey. As you will see there is now room for family as well as room for native pollinators and birds.
Painting in the Gardens
The opportunity to meet and connect with an artist is a new addition to the tour. Bley Hack is an outdoor artist who regularly sets up her easel outdoors to capture natural scenes and lighting.
“I’m looking forward to the Garden Tour because I’ll be spending a full day in another beautiful place doing what I love: painting! says Hack, author of Colorways: Watercolor Flowers and the recently published Watercolor Painting at Home. She has also worked for various companies including Papyrus and American Greetings.
Hack has painted fresco in a variety of outdoor settings and says she enjoys chatting to people who drop by to have a chat. “It’s an exciting challenge because it’s always related to environmental factors: heat, sun, cold, wind, rain, creatures, spectators and many other things!” says Hack, who will be stationed at one of the Garden Gems stops. “Sometimes the weather works against you and the view changes so quickly that you have to get a mental picture of what the landscape looked like at the beginning and extrapolate the rest to match that first view. All of these things make you a painting experience that fully engages your mind in all decisions and considerations, and the simple immediacy of it all.”
Hack says painting gardens is also a pleasure because you know you’re coming into a landscape that’s at least partially manicured and that already has an order. “It’s like a kid in a candy store for painters: what to paint first? ‘ she remarks. “There are so many options for subjects and it’s also fun to move around and do multiple paintings of the same place or garden. Even painting the same view at a different time of day creates a different mood in the picture.”
About the garden club
The Garden Club of Dayton was founded in 1922 by Katharine Houk Talbott and a group of her gardening friends. In 1926 the club was invited to become the fifth member of the Garden Club of America. The mission is educational: “To promote knowledge and love for gardening; Contribute to the protection of native trees, plants, birds and other creatures and to promote monument preservation, civic planting and general knowledge of nature.”
Over the years, the club has made lasting contributions to Dayton and the Miami Valley. Members sponsored the creation of Victory Gardens during World War II, helped establish the Cox Arboretum, supported the River Corridor Project, funded the Marie Aull Nature Trail at the Wegerzyn Garden Center, and helped found MetroParks. Members have planted trees in Old North Dayton, helped the Kiser School plant a school garden, revitalized Valley Street Flood Park and helped clean up Pineview Park in West Dayton.
The Centennial Project
For now, the women are looking forward to their 2022 Centennial project — collaborating with MetroParks’ Riverfront project to redesign Sunrise Park, the park on the west side of the river that runs from Third Street to the Dayton Art Institute. The $50,000 they committed to creating a “Centennial Overlook” was made possible by public support for their garden tours.
Carol Powell is leading the project for the club. “We are enhancing an existing lookout at the corner of Monument and West Riverview that marks the start of development on that side of the river,” Powell explains. “We will have a mural painted on the wall next to the stairs that will lead people down to the river.”
Other elements of the project include two demonstration gardens featuring native pollinators and a commemorative medallion in the plaza honoring the garden club’s special anniversary.
Powell says her group’s mantra is “Love Your River.”
“Our goal is to connect people to the river,” says Powell. “We want them to care around their flow and care to the it also.”
HOW TO PROCEED:
What: The Garden Gems Tour presented by the Garden Club of Dayton. Certain locations will be listed on your ticket.
When: Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m
Tickets: $25 in advance. Advance tickets can be purchased online at gardenclubofdayton.org or by check to: The Garden Club of Dayton, PO Box 534, Dayton, OH 45409. Tickets can also be purchased on Friday, June 10 from 4:30-6:00 p.m become the Oakwood Community Center, 105 Patterson Road. On the day of the event, admission to one of the Garden Tour stops at 7 Stonemill Road, Oakwood is $30. Parking: Street parking is available outside the gardens.
Accessibility: The gardens are not wheelchair accessible and some have stairs.
Sponsors: Houser Asphalt and Concrete and Grunder Landscaping Company
For more informations: gardenclubofdayton.org