Master Gardener Tour

By Sandie McClure

Linda Hepfner, Lorraine Martelli, and I joined the Mercer County Master Gardeners and Friends on a bus trip July 31.Our first stop of the day was at the private garden of Carol Knock, a retired teacher in Warren, Ohio.  She plants and maintains an acre of beautiful landscape in her backyard.  We enjoyed seeing a variety of willows, rose of Sharon, and dogwoods (one had green stems which turn golden in the fall).Her rock garden was highlighted with delightful and whimsical plant containers—boots, a blue-enameled roaster, tea kettles, large cups, and other innovative containers.The colorful landscape had many unique birdhouses and feeders.

Our second stop was at the Draime Estate Gardens of Kent State University.  These are a botanical display of incredible beauty with interesting sculptures.  After touring the Japanese Garden, the Orchestral Garden, and others, we enjoyed a lunch in the Italian Folly—a formal garden with woody plant hedges and ornamental trees.

Our third stop was at the Kridler Greenhouse and Gardens in Homeworth.  We saw varieties of plants which were new to all of us.  The colorful displays included a variety of Hibiscus, Roses of Sharon,  passion flowers, ornamental myrtle bushes, citrus trees, hummingbird vines, and others too numerous to mention.  The staff was preparing an area near their lake for a wedding party of 300-400 guests.  It was a lovely setting for a wedding.  Many of our group purchased plants and yard furniture at Kridler’s.

The final stop of the day was at the Brumbaugh Nature Center in Alliance.  We enjoyed the Visitors Center, the 1860 Houston Barn, and the nature trails.

Our trip was both educational and enjoyable.  If you travel in the Ohio area, please consider stopping at one of these places.