Bloomington Garden Walk June 5-6 offers hidden gems in landscaping
Nestled in a flower bed, the words carved on a stone seem best to say: “An hour in the garden puts life’s problems in perspective.”
When I took a preview tour of the 30th Annual Summer Garden Walk in May 2019 with members of the Bloomington Garden Club, we had no idea what to expect. Then COVID struck.
When much of the world closed, the Garden Walk 2020 was canceled. That didn’t mean, however, that flowers stopped blooming, trees stopped leafing, birds stopped singing, and gardeners stopped gardening.
In fact, many people may have spent even more time than usual in their outer havens. I know I undertook a hillside landscaping task that I had postponed for years. Spending more time at home has not been wasted.
Now the 31st Annual Summer Garden Walk is back and ready to showcase some of Bloomington’s beautiful gardens. The five gardens on this year’s promenade are beautiful and quite diverse. I wrote down ideas on what to do with my own land.
For sheer fun and a chance to see paradises that are often hidden from passing sight, join this year’s Garden Walk on Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, June 6, noon to 4 p.m. . Rain or shine. garden will be open to visitors. Tour tickets have a card and the $ 10 ticket is valid for the two days the gardens can be visited in any order.
Each garden reflects the personality of the people who live there and each garden offers several beautiful surprises. To provide an overview of the treasures found in the five gardens, members of the Garden Club have compiled information for these short overviews. My thanks for their knowledge of everything that grows in these vegetable gardens.
Along the front of this house is a bed lined with simple red geraniums. But the story behind the flowers reflects the kindness of the man who lives here. When a local 4-H club member called to ask if the owner wanted to buy geraniums for a 4-H fundraiser, the man immediately said he would take 150. That’s when. there that the girl’s father phoned to verify that huge number. . The following year, the owner ordered an additional 200 geraniums from the same 4-H member and has been doing so since.
The 1954 Usonian masterpiece house for Garden One was designed by Charles Miller, the former instrument maker in the Department of Geology at Indiana University. The new owner bought the “Concrete Hut” in April 2013 and moved in January 2015 after a major renovation. This garden features an innovative 12-zone sprinkler system that reduces waste of time and water.
As the owner notes, eradicating the weeds in his front yard required a backhoe and a landscaping crew. Nonetheless, the owner was able to implement his main design concept which he calls the ‘Plan of Earl Rugan’, known for the villain of ‘The Princess Bride’. The Earl apologized to the hero he is about to torture because his torture device has not been tested, saying, “But let’s start with what we have.” So began this unusual garden.
Peaceful beauty reigns in this garden of ‘ordinary’ plants which, according to the owner, were not professionally designed but ‘just arrived’. The owner points out that her garden is made up of plants that anyone can easily buy and grow. But the result, under his skill and talented eye, is an extraordinary mature garden.
Begun 40 years ago, the garden features herbaceous and woody plants massed together to create lush green beds and a seasonal succession of flowers. In 2020, the garden received a boost when the owners’ son left the New York pandemic to stay with his parents and regularly ended each day of remote computer work by enthusiastically working in the garden.
He unearthed old stepping stones that meander across a charming garden island in the lawn, bordered by an array of plants, including multi-colored foxgloves that rise like exclamation marks. Find the wooden bench that the son carried to the top of a spot overlooking the garden. The bench is the best place to see this wonderland.
Artistic touches abound in this garden which features interesting “little moments” made from a variety of painted logs, geodes and rocks. A slit from a fallen tree has been creatively painted to become a slice of watermelon. A bright blue “bottle tree” adds more color and a backyard waterfall provides a calming sound effect to the creative garden.
Built in 1987 on what was then heavily shaded land, the site has gained additional solar exposure in recent years due to the removal of around eight large diseased trees. Strains of different sizes have been preserved and used as plant supports. Notice the broken ceramic pots and the well-worn ceramic hands resting on a tree stump.
Along the alley are many small red saplings. Broken ceramic pots are used to mark saplings and shelter them. When the young trees reach a certain size, they are offered as a gift by the generous gardener.
What if your house is on a busy street with a limited number of parking spaces and a steeply sloping backyard? In a quarter of a century, this owner has transformed the barriers of her property into a charming sanctuary where guests feel welcome.
One of the first projects was to create a stamped concrete circular drive so that motorists could move forward when leaving rather than backing up. A courtyard in front of the house is adorned with a lighted foundation, strawberry trees, decorative pots containing conifers and perennials as well as a magnificent pink climbing rose Zephirine Drouhin which thrives in the shade. Take the time to enjoy a large rock planted with succulents before setting off again.
As for this sloping lot, the creative owner turned it into a beautiful terrace with imaginative places to sit and enjoy. A gazebo with two cozy swings, a fireplace and a ceiling fan is a delight in any season. Elsewhere are dining rooms, a bar, a built-in grill, plenty of seating, and a thermal spa. On the lower level a rocky stream was created with a flowing spike pot with a purple perennial plant. A birdbath surrounded by irises is also included.
These owners wanted their home to have a natural space with the feel of a British park. First, a water problem presented by sloping ground through which runoff from neighboring dwellings freely flowed had to be corrected. The result is that all paving, including the driveway, consists of irregularly shaped concrete pavers treated to resemble stone and laid on a porous base that allows rainwater to seep into the pavement. ground below.
On the east side of the front garden, a wide gravel path leads to a garden gate and acts as a weir, directing runoff down the slope where it is carried under the sidewalk through a drainage pipe. A veritable arboretum, the garden presents the soothing sounds of a waterfall and a pond that are home to both koi and frogs. The pond has two bubblers that prevent the water from freezing in winter.
Wildlife lovers, these owners fenced the deer but took special care in welcoming the other critters. When a squirrel with an injured leg had difficulty reaching seeds in a bird feeder, the owner would build a “squirrel ladder” and secure it to the bird feeder. Although the squirrel is no longer in residence, a band of chipmunks are now climbing the ladder to access the feeder. Near the koi pond is a specially constructed ‘squirrel hotel’ and a ‘squirrel picnic table’ where the squirrels can sit and munch on plentiful food for the squirrels.