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Around Lexington

End of the Summer Party: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25, Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Road. The second End of the Summer Party will feature a DJ with games and prizes, outdoor yard games, a 40-foot inflatable obstacle course and a free raffle every 30 minutes. There will also be a food truck and dessert for purchase, as will as a movie played on a 20-foot inflatable screen. The movie will start at dusk. Sponsors include Lexington Lions Club, DCU Bank of Lexington, Lexington Police Department, Lexington Fire Department, Lexington Human Services Department and Lexington Recreation Community Programs. Free. For information:

Venture Crew 1775 open house: 7:30-9 p.m. Aug. 30, 3 Forbes Road, Lexington. Venture Crew 1775 will hold an open house featuring free pizza for those interesting in co-ed scouting. Venturing is the co-ed and youth lead part of Boy Scouts of America for ages 14-21. Venture Crew 1775 is sponsored by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and focuses on STEM, High Adventure and community service. They have skied in Switzerland, sailed in Florida and climbed Mount Katahdin. They have also toured the Boston Dynamics robotics facility, the Silk Lab at Tufts and the aviation research hangar at Hanscom AFB. For information:

Lexington Pops Chorus Open Rehearsals: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Sept. 5 and 12, Hancock Church, Clarke Hall, 1912 Mass. Ave., Lexington. Lexington Pops Chorus will hold non-audition open rehearsals. The fall program will include “Old American Songs” by Aaron Copland and choral selections from “The King and I.” For information:

Outdoor Concert at Youville Place — Basin Street Dixieland Band: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Sept. 5, Youville Place, 10 Pelham Road, Suite 1000, Lexington. As part of the Outdoor Concert Series at Youville Place, the Basin Street Dixieland Band will play jazz songs from the 1930s and 1940s, including “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Bill Bailey,” “I’ve Got Rhythm” and “I Found a New Baby.”. Free. For information: 761-861-3535;

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Series — ‘Entering Their World’: 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 7, Youville Place, 10 Pelham Road, Suite 1000, Lexington. Mal Allard, director of The Courtyard at Youville Place, will present “Entering Their World” as part of her ongoing Caregiver Support Series at Youville Place. Following this presentation, attendees will have opportunities for conversation and QA. Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Free. For information: 781-861-3535;

Art in the Garden: 3-5 p.m. Sept. 10, 17 Solomon Pierce Road, Lexington. The Lexington Field Garden will sponsor an Art in the Garden event to raise funds to maintain and replenish the plantings at the town’s Emery Park at the home of Christina and George Gamota. The event will be in the Gamotas’ landscaped private Lexington garden, surrounded by the artwork of five local artists. The artists include Teresa Deible, Tracy Fischer, Ronnie Gould, Alison Lauriat and Molly Nye. There will be an e-catalogue with photos, descriptions and prices of each of the five artist’s inventory. It can be found on the club’s website, People will be able to purchase ahead of time if they cannot attend the event itself. LFGC will use the proceeds from this afternoon to maintain and refurbish Emery park, the largest public space in Lexington Center. Admissions is $25 for LFGC members; $30 for nonmembers.

‘Forever Fit’ information session: 1:15 p.m. Sept. 11, Fitness Room, Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Road. Funded by a grant from the Dana Home Foundation, Lexington Recreation and Community Programs will offer an information session for “Forever Fit.” During the session, participants will learn about the program, taught by Judy Whitney, personal trainer with over 30 years’ experience in the fitness industry. “Forever Fit” will provide individual assessments followed by one-on-one and group training sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Individuals interested in committing to the fitness program may do so after the information session for the administrative fee of $10.

Flu clinic for seniors: 10 a.m-1 p.m. Sept. 13, St. Brigid’s Keilty Hall, 1997 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. Influenza vaccine will be available for Lexington residents 60 and older. Residents are asked to bring their Medicare Part B or other health insurance card, but can still be vaccinated if they do not have one. All vaccines will be provided at the upcoming clinic free of charge to Lexington residents on a first-come, first-serve basis. Future clinic dates are being planned, including family clinics and they will be announced as soon as additional doses of vaccine arrive. For information: 781-698-4503.

Bird-Friendly Gardens: 10 a.m. Sept. 13, Lexington Depot, 13 Depot Square. Landscape designer Nanette Masi will share her expertise in designing gardens to attract birds, butterflies and other insects with the Lexington Field and Garden Club. Masi uses native plants, works with organic materials and techniques and designs gardens to stay healthy from spring through winter. Her designs feature native plants, natural garden design and beauty for humans, as well as bounty that attracts wildlife. Refreshments are served at 9:30 a.m. The program is open to all. For information:

Pan-Mass Challenge Kids Ride: Sept. 17, Bowman School, 9 Philip Road, Lexington. Lexington will hold its third annual Pan-Mass Challenge Kids Ride, a bike-a-thon that crosses the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to benefit cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since its founding in 1980, the PMC has melded support from cyclists, volunteers, corporate sponsors and individual contributors. For information:


Caregiver support group: 7 p.m. second Thursdays, Youville Place Assisted Living Residence, 10 Pelham Road. The residence will offer a monthly support group for caregivers of individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Led by Mal Allard, director of The Courtyard at Youville Place and Una Barrett, a senior living specialist with Positive Living Solutions, the support group will meet monthly. Youville family caregivers, as well as caregivers from the community, are invited to register for the first meeting.

Toastmasters International: Noon-1 p.m. Thursdays, lower level, Cambridge Savings Bank, 1781 Mass. Ave., Lexington. The Lexington Toastmasters meet every Thursday to work with others on communication and leadership skills. Open to all community members. For information:

Call for Artists — Lexington’s Autumn ArtWalk: Members of the Lexington Center Alliance, Lexington Arts Crafts Society, Lexington Council for the Arts and the Munroe Center for the Arts are coming together to plan another display of artwork throughout Lexington for this year’s Foot-by-Foot ArtWalk. This year’s theme is “affordable art.” Submissions are requested to be 12 by 12 inches in size, and priced $250 or less. Larger works may be submitted along with smaller pieces, however, large pieces will only be selected for a small number of windows. This year the priority is to fill Lexington with small, 12 by 12 works (for 3D works, this is 12 by 12 by 12). Art will be displayed Nov. 6-26 (during the seasonal celebrations of the Lexington Retail Association, and the Thanksgiving weekend). Artwork will be selected based on quality and available display space. Artists are required to have a Lexington connection either as a resident, affiliation with Lexington through work, etc. Deadline for submission: Sept. 12. To get an entry form, email

National Alliance on Mental Illness Family Support Group: 6:30-8:30 p.m., first and third Tuesday of each month, Brookhaven at Lexington, 1010 Waltham St., Lexington. Family members and caregivers of people living with mental illness are invited to the National Alliance on Mental Illness confidential Family Support Group. Facilitated by NAMI trained volunteers who have experience with mental health concerns. Ongoing, drop in, free to participants. Contact Janet at 781-761-5287 or For information: Free.

Lex Eat Together: 5:15-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Church of Our Redeemer, 6 Meriam St., Lexington. Lex Eat Together offers a weekly dinner in the heart of Lexington for anyone in need of a meal or companionship. Their mission is to provide a setting which respects privacy and dignity. All are welcome to this community event. For information:

First Friday suppers: 6:30 p.m. first Fridays, 2 Hayes Lane, Lexington. Every First Friday of the month except holidays, join the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3007 for a free supper. Reservations are a must. Call 781-862-1370 for a will-call ticket number. Exclusively for veterans and their family members. Ample parking on premises.

Irish step dance classes: 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays, First Baptist Church of Lexington, 1580 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. Weekly classes for children held at 5 p.m.; adults at 6 p.m. Traditional solo and social dances to Irish jigs, reels and hornpipes. For information:

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Gardening symposium set for Sept. 23 at Westford Academy

WESTFORD — The Massachusetts Master Gardener Association will hold its second annual Massachusetts Gardening Symposium, a daylong educational event, on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Westford Academy, 30 Patten Road.

Themed “Inspiration for Next Year’s Garden,” the program emphasizes 2018 garden design and plant selection. Gardeners of all levels of experience are welcome.

The agenda features presentations by four nationally recognized horticultural experts: Thomas Rainer, landscape architect and author of “Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes”; David L. Culp, plant hybridizer, vice president of Sunn Border Nurseries and author of “The Layered Garden”; Kathleen Gagan, owner of Peony’s Envy, a 7-acre New Jersey retailer, nursery and display garden; and Janet Macunovich, online, broadcast and hands-on gardening educator and author of “Designing Your Gardens and Landscapes.”

Cost of the symposium is $90 per person. Reserve tickets at For more information go to, or email

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This is what happens when acclaimed artists design a garden

By Harriet Verney CNN

(CNN) — From Michelangelo’s Renaissance-era scenes from Eden to Monet’s 19th century landscapes, the garden has been a focal point to centuries of art movements.

But what happens when rather than simply depicting gardens, artists try gardening themselves?

A new triennial at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark hopes to explore exactly this through a three-part exhibition that looks at the past, the present and the future.

“The Garden – End of Times; Beginning of Time,” will be staged in venues in an around Aarhus, with some installations stationed the coast as far as five miles out of the city.

“When they look upon nature, (artists) see the possibility but also the challenges in a different way than we would,” said Erlend Hoyersten, the director of ARoS.

“It’s not just the visuality of nature, it’s the question of what exactly is nature and what is man-made because we tend to forget the difference between the two. Driving though Denmark we have fields of wheat and different kinds of crops growing and it feels like nature but it’s actually green industry.”

Though the city only has a population of just over 300,000, Hoyersten anticipates visitors in excess of 1.1 million due to the subject’s universality.

“Everybody has an opinion of what nature is or what a garden is,” he said.

“You have an attitude towards it, you have an experience with it.”

TM © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Northern Gardening: Tree care tips during drought

After several weeks of hot weather and insignificant rainfall, many trees are showing signs of stress due to drought.

Symptoms include any of the following: wilted foliage; a sparse canopy of small, off-colour leaves; browning of leaves or leaf margins; yellowing and premature fall coloration; and leaf drop.

Trees suffering drought are more susceptible to insects and diseases, especially borers.

To help your stressed trees it is important to water correctly, sufficiently and over the entire root zone. A sprinkler or soaker hose can cover a large area and will allow for slow absorption rather than pooling of water. Keep in mind that the root zone can extend well beyond the canopy of the tree, and most of the roots are in the top 12 to 18 inches of soil.

With a sprinkler you can use a rain gauge to measure the amount of water. Provide two inches of water every five to seven days over the root zone of mature trees. Young or new trees require slow deep watering every two to three days.

Grass below trees competes for water, so if there is grass present, more water is required. The water needs to get through the turf before it can reach tree roots.

Removing some turf from around trees and replacing it with mulch helps with water absorption and water retention. Use lawn edging to prevent the grass from growing back in, and keep the mulch two to three inches away from the bark of the tree.

Soil type also affects the requirement of water. A sandy soil will require more frequent watering, while a clay soil will retain water longer, but is more likely to allow water to pool with very limited penetration.

Do not prune drought-stressed trees or shrubs and do not fertilize. Fertilizer uses water, which is then not available to the tree roots.

Continue watering drought-stressed trees until freeze-up, depending on fall rains, of course. Use a rain gauge for rainfall to help determine if and how much watering is required to maintain two inches every five to seven days. The same symptoms and care procedures apply to shrubs as well as trees. The trees, at least, would welcome a long, gentle rain.

Horticulturalist Mary Wright has lived in Denare Beach for over 20 years. She shares her passion for gardening with Flin Flon readers in The Reminder.

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Fall in Love With Your Home Again This Season at the Dallas – Texas Home & Garden Show

Don’t let the weather be the only thing that changes this season. Spruce up your home and garden designs for the cooler Texas months that are fast approaching!  Mark your calendar for the 34th Annual Fall Dallas – Texas Home Garden Show returning to Dallas Market Hall, Sept. 8 – 10 and get ready to make your renovation dreams a reality. 

Attendees will have prime access to hundreds of companies that will breathe life in to their design dreams and can chat one-on-one with vendors to learn more about the latest indoor and outdoor trends and solutions that will wow your family and guests for years to come. No need to visit numerous stores for inspiration, guests will be able to access the information and resources they want to get started all under one roof!

This fall, the show will feature best-selling author Kristina Leigh Wiggins, also known as the “Texas Martha Stewart”. Best known for her book Building Your Home: A Simple Guide to Making Good Decisions and her mobile application, Simpleigh Done, Kristina will be leading two engaging presentations for event goers including: Til Death Do Us Part…Or Until We Remodel The Kitchen! – Maintain your sanity and marriage while building your dream home and Remodeling 101:Where to start…When to finish.

“We wanted to offer a wide variety of vendors to our guests, but also the opportunity to interact, first-hand, with experts to make their visit more of an experience,” commented Dave Holz, General Manager of the Texas Home Garden Show and International Exhibitions, Inc.. “The show includes numerous, free events that include seminars and gardening tips from the Dallas County Master Gardeners, as well as the opportunity to learn more about exterior home wear and tear signs with our home exterior experts, and tips on how to stay ahead of the cold weather curve by making sure home windows are secure with advice from window specialists from across the State.”

In addition to all of the events slated for adults at the Texas Home Garden Show, kids have the opportunity to have fun as well! Be sure to check out the complimentary KidZone where they can bounce their cares away at the inflatable center, as well as try their hand at becoming junior gardeners with fun and complimentary activities provided by the Dallas Master Gardeners.

Admission to the Dallas – Texas Home Garden Show is $10 for Adults, $8 for Military and Senior Citizens and Children 14 and under are FREE. Military and Senior Citizen discounts are only available at the door. Event parking is FREE and valet is available. 

What: 34th Annual Fall Dallas – Texas Home Garden Show 

When:  Doors open Fri., Sept. 8 at 2:00 pm, Sat., Sept. 9 at 10:00 am, and Sun., Sept. 10 at 11:00 am

Where: Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Fwy, Dallas, TX 75207

Who and What:  A greater preview of the events and activities, as mentioned above, that on offer at the show include: 

  • Kristina Leigh Wiggins – Author Kristina Leigh Wiggins (aka the “Texas Martha Stewart”) is an experienced architect, designer and project manager. Kristina Leigh graduated magna cum laude from Texas AM College of Architecture and spent time with several architecture / design firms in Texas. Kristina Leigh’s book, Building Your Home: A Simple Guide To Making Good Decisionsimmediately became a Best Seller on Amazon. She also designed Simpleigh Done, an easy-to-use mobile app to accompany the book. Both help homeowners stay calm, collected and organized while building / remodeling their home. Kristina Leigh Wiggins will be presenting on Saturday and Sunday at the Dallas – Texas Home Garden Show.
  • Wonderful Windows – Did you know that windows can make your home more attractive? They can also eliminate draftiness and make your home quieter. Replacing windows can also make your home more secure. Whether you’re looking for a complete replacement or a single custom job the Texas Home Garden Show is the best place to start the job. With companies like Center Point Renovations, Champion Windows, Renewal by Andersen, and Window World you’ll find the best company for your home.
  • Home Exteriors – It’s time to do an appraisal of your home’s exterior. Check for peeling and blistering paint. Clean the gutters and inspect for damage. Assess the health of your roof and windows and take a good look at your deck for loose boards and weak spots. Once you’ve determined your home’s needs you can consult countless experts in all areas related to home exteriors. With companies like Hallmark Building Supply, Statewide Remodeling, Quint-Pro Siding Windows, and Woodbridge Home Exteriors you’ll have every concern and issue addressed.
  • Dallas County Master Gardeners – The Dallas County Master Gardeners provide free gardening advice to area residents. The Master Gardeners welcome the opportunity to help you find the solution to your gardening problems. Featuring several seminars on topics relevant to urban and suburban gardeners of all skill levels!
  • KidsZone – Once again we have something for everyone at our shows, ever the kids! Don’t miss the KidsZone where your little ones can play on the inflatables and work out all that energy and explore with the Master Gardeners as budding junior gardeners. With the KidsZone you can bring the little ones along knowing there’s plenty to keep them entertained.

For general information, or to access all activity and event times for the 34th Annual Dallas – Texas Home Garden Show, visit

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Moving home? Remember these top tips to avoid upsetting the neighbours

Speaking to your neighbours 

We can all find it difficult to avoid awkward encounters with neighbours you don’t know, but William says that making eye contact and reading body language swill often give you the best set of clues. Just try to be natural and remember you don’t need to be best friends. 

Little and often is key for contact, rather than a lot. 

He said: “Don’t be too pushy when it comes to making friends with your neighbours. When you do naturally bump into them, be sure to let them know you’re glad you finally met and read their signals – are they making eye contact or do they look like they want to run for the hills? Some people will always want to char, others may just offer a polite nod every now and then. Body language will give you a good gauge of the kind of neighbourly relationship you can expect. It’s okay just to wave or smile in acknowledgement.” 

Garden parties 

Hosting a garden part or house warming is a great way to enjoy the summer, but if you’re ht host – even if you’re only inviting a few friends over – be conscious of noise that might reach the neighbours. Part of the bargain of buying a house is to be respectful to those nearby. 

William said: “You should let your neighbours know if you’re planning on having people round, it shows an added level of consideration and you can hope for the same in return. If you’re planning a big party, ask if they mind, especially if you’re having a barbecue – just think of any washing outdoors. Try to give a few weeks’ notice as well. Most reasonable people wouldn’t dream of stopping you. 

“Think about the tone and context of any party too and be considerate of the language you and your guests use, especially if there are young children around. It might be your part but you’re still responsible for it, so monitor your guests.” 

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It’s Garden Thyme! with Bea & Craig Wright, of Elkton

This week I had the pleasure of visiting the home garden of Bea and Craig Wright of Elkton. Both have been gardening since childhood — Bea with her mom in their prairie garden, and Craig with his grandparents on their 2,000-acre corn farm.

Today this nature-loving couple work side-by-side tending to their 5-acre Bay-Wise certified farmette, known as Morning Mist Farm. They grow a variety of berry bushes, vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and perennials. This picturesque setting also includes a barn which houses horses and ponies, and a lively natural-stone koi pond.

Bea, Craig and I talked a little about their Bay-Wise certified methods and what they enjoy most about their gardens. Additionally, they shared a few tips to help you in your home garden. I hope you enjoy Bea and Craig’s garden story!

Tell us a little about what inspired you to begin gardening.

My mom has always been my greatest gardening inspiration. She was a city child, living in a small village outside Frankfurt, Germany. Growing up, she mostly tended to edible weeds. After moving to America, she planted a large prairie garden on our 2-acre property. My chores in that garden were weeding and harvesting beans. My mom has moved back to Germany and now lives in a city condo. Because she now has no land to tend, she looks forward to her yearly visits with us so that she can get her hands in the dirt, while offering oodles of ideas and recommendations for our gardens. I still treasure that bonding time as she passes along her wisdom. — Bea

What would we find growing in your gardens this season?

Our berry bush bed features josta berry, gooseberry, red currant, blueberry and cherry bushes. The herb beds are filled with rosemary, parsley, sage, mint, chives, tarragon, oregano, stevia, cilantro, basil, fennel and borage. The flower beds highlight phlox, sunflowers, yarrow, coneflowers, Shasta daisy, Queen Anne’s lace, day lilies, roses, bee balm, allium, dianthus, lacecap hydrangea, butterfly bush, sunchokes and milkweed. Our water-garden features water lettuce, black princess, Colorado, pink attraction and Texas dawn water lilies, blue flag iris, fireball hibiscus, forget-me-nots, bog bean, royal pickerel, creeping jenny and pitcher plant. We also have various fruit trees, grape vines and a raised-bed vegetable garden brimming with both seasonal and perennial veggies.

What Bay-Wise garden methods do you favor most?

Using Bay-Wise methods speaks to my tendencies to be a “lazy” gardener; for instance, mulching the grass (which is recommended) means less raking of clippings. Fall leaves are encouraged to be left on garden beds, as it provides a nice niche for insects that in turn are beneficial for the soil or become food for the birds.

The compost pile (another of the items encouraged for the Bay-Wise certification) gives back by providing all the nutrients we need for the vegetable garden, reducing the need for chemicals and fertilizers — another plus since much of our landscaping is edible fruits, berries and vegetables. It has been a very rewarding revelation for us to see how this benefits not just us, but our environment. — Bea

What do you enjoy most about your gardens?

I find it fascinating to observe so many fauna — from the little lizards scurrying around our rock walls — to birds, bees, bunnies, butterflies, caterpillars and deer that visit our landscape throughout the year. — Bea

I love water gardening. The variety of aquatic plants available is amazing. Plus, not having to weed is a plus. I also love being able to grow most of the ingredients for what I consider the perfect summer meal: BLTs and sweet corn. — Craig

Would you like to pass along any tips to help other gardeners succeed in their home gardens?

It’s OK to start small. You can learn a lot about gardening and nature with a few containers or one little bed. Go with what works for your location. Enjoy whatever you have growing and consider having your garden Bay-Wise certified. You can find the information at or contact the Cecil County Extension Office at 410-996-5280. — Bea

Consider growing native plants from local nurseries. Think about what you like to eat and plant it. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If things don’t work out, learn from it and try something different. And remember, you can’t fight nature! — Craig

Dee Marotta travels the Cecil area in search of gardeners to feature for It’s Garden Thyme! She asks about their methods and shares what she learns here. If you’d like your garden featured, Dee would love to hear from you. You can reach her at: or 410-287-5816. You can also find her on Facebook: It’s Garden Thyme.

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Home improvement reality stars come to Orlando Fall Home & Garden Show

Home improvement reality comes to Orlando as celebrities from popular TV shows “Yard Crashers” and “Catch a Contractor” come to 8th annual the Orlando Fall Home Garden Show at the Orange County Convention Center.

Landscaper Ahmed Hassan as seen on DIY Network’s “Yard Crashers” and Skip Bedell, cohost of Spike TV’s “Catch A Contractor” will be guest speakers several times over the three-day event from Aug. 25-27 alongside hundreds of vendors geared toward design and home improvement.

Hassan was the original host of “Yard Crashers” and also appeared on other DIY Network shows “The Dirt On…,” “Green Me Up” and “Blog Cabin” as well as work on HGTV, CBS “Early Show” and NBC’s “Today Show.” He’s slated to present “The Dirty Truth About Landscaping” twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday.

Bedell will appear twice Saturday and once Sunday to present “Hiring A Contractor: Do’s Don’ts.” Bedell’s co-hosts “Catch A Contractor” along with wife Alison and Adam Carolla. He also regularly appears on Fox News’ morning show “FOX Friends.”

Home Depot, Gatorland, Wild About Birds and Sit Means Sit Orlando.

The convention center floor will be filled with displays and vendors for both interior and exterior home design, landscaping and gardening, the New Product Zone, a kids area, arts and gift area and more.

There will be an orchid sale, wine tasting, health screenings and flu shots from Walgreens and other distractions. Free tote bags will be handed out as supplies last.

Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors 65 and older, $6 for retired military, free for active military and children 16 and under. You can get $1 off admission with a canned-food donation on site to A Place for Grace. Parking is $10.

‘This is my wheelhouse’: Emily Ford combines history, science and design in her role as Glensheen Mansion’s head …

She pulls a freshly picked tomato from her rain jacket pocket, rubs it between her fingers and pops it into her mouth.

From her small office inside the gardener’s cottage, Ford describes how excited she is to blend her lifelong passions into a career she loves.

“If I looked back at my childhood and could direct my younger self, I’d be like ‘Hey, remember how much you loved dirt?’ ” she said.

As head gardener at Glensheen Mansion, Ford, 25, is part scientist, part landscaper and part historian — and she loves every role.

“I get to be passionate about it and dive into art, and history and design,” she said. “My brain is always whirling because it’s like ”What do I get to do next?’ versus ‘What do I have to do tomorrow?’ “


Ford, 25, grew up in Brooklyn Park, Minn., and spent summers at her grandparents’ farm in Jacobson, Minn. Her grandfather was a tree farmer and engineer who taught Ford woodworking, electrical work and plumbing.

“I learned how to use my hands at a very young age,” she said. “And learned how to build things and use tools.”

He also passed his knowledge of flora to Ford.

“Roadside tree identification was like a requirement in my family,” she said. Today, her grandfather is fascinated with her job and often asks about the trees at Glensheen. In return, she picks his brain for planting advice, she said.

Ford learned gardening from her grandmother, who had a garden and would can food for the winter. In college, Ford befriended a woman from church who let her till up her backyard and grow produce.

Ford’s interest in science and love of using her hands led her to study geology at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., where she was hooked on soil science, she said.

When Ford moved to Duluth after graduation in January 2015, she worked odd jobs, but found herself gravitating toward the trades. She worked as a woodworker for the Tongue and Groove Store and as the facilities manager at the Vineyard Church. Her science background led to a stint as a field botanist at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she was constantly picking prairie seeds and identifying plants.

‘Like playing Clue’

Her diverse background comes in handy because the head gardener position is more than just gardening.

“You’re tending to the garden, but also I have the trees, I have the grass, I have a few maintenance things here and there, and I’m like ‘This is awesome. You know? This is my wheelhouse.’ “

Glensheen director Dan Hartman recognized Ford’s passion for gardening during her job interview. “It just falls off of her,” he said, adding that he knows visitors see that excitement and knowledge, too.

When Hartman initially showed Ford the vegetable garden, she remarked, “Oh, vegetable garden? This is my jam,” he recalled.

Hartman said it’s rare to find someone with Ford’s level of passion. He also wanted someone who was open to creating a space that looked different than any garden in the area or state.

Ford has been in head gardener since October 2016. She and Hartman travel to different botanical gardens to gauge which elements would make sense and fit the historic fabric at Glensheen, he said. To help achieve this, Ford pours over archival photos and documents from the mansion’s early years to ensure accuracy.

“It’s fun because there are so many pictures, and you’re trying to replicate these pictures, and it’s like playing Clue a little bit — where did all of this stuff come from? How did it happen?” Ford said.

Historical guides

Chester Congdon’s journal serves as a primary source for Ford. In it, he wrote about which trees he liked and which trees he wanted removed, as well as a handwritten list of roses he wanted. All of this helps with adhering to the 1910 vision of Glensheen.

“It’s super sweet to see because this is what he desired to have on his property,” Ford said of the journal.

These historical documents have led to several changes on the grounds.

The Formal Garden — an English-style space attached to the back of the mansion that overlooks Lake Superior — should have almost constant sunlight, but a tree had blocked light from reaching one side, inhibiting growth. By examining photos and maps of the grounds from the mansion’s early years, Ford and Glensheen staff determined that the tree was not originally there and could be removed — ensuring historical accuracy and the garden’s vitality.

Additionally, they moved plants in the Formal Garden to ensure the space was symmetrical. If you were to fold the garden widthwise over the Italian marble fountain, the plants and flowers on each side would match up, she said.

Ford also uses inspiration from Bob Wyness, who took over as Glensheen’s head gardener from his father in 1955. Ford said his gardens would “pop” with color. He also had high standards for his employees and gardens, which Ford also oversees. When asked what her own style was, she initially hesitated, but like Wyness, Ford wants to wow visitors.

“I just want it to be architecturally fun,” Ford said. A way to do that is to use different textures, she said. For example, if the garden is going to be all green, different shades of green or leaf types could be employed.

Ford’s excitement and passion is spread to everyone on staff at Glensheen, Hartman said.

“Some of us who have been around for 20 years, some of us have been around for a year — she’s educating us all the time.”

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In the Garden | 63rd Harvest Show this weekend

The Mansfield Men’s Garden Club is fortunate to have a female resource to help plan the theme for the annual Fall Harvest Show. She is flower arranger Pat Wells, who has helped the club for many years.

This year, she selected the theme “Signs of Summer” for the artistic design section. The club is most thankful for her volunteer services year after year. The theme Signs of Summer is a most perfect theme for the 2017 show. Thank you, Pat!

The 2017 Fall Harvest Show is dedicated to honor the memory of Renato Siewert, who passed away last year. He was a man of deep faith who loved living things and nature. He is sadly missed, but not forgotten. He was a faithful club member.

Show schedule

The show is open to the public from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. There is no admission charge to enter or visit the show. Show entries are to be brought in from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Show schedules and entry tags may be picked up at the ticket booth off Trimble Road, or at the greenhouse.

Entries are available for both adults and juniors. The junior category is divided into entries for grades 6 and younger, and seventh through twelfth grade.

There is no admission fee to see or enter the show and a participant does not need to be a garden club member to enter the show. Prizes will be given to the best entry in various categories. Member Jim Kulig is in charge of prizes.

Bill Collins and Pat Wells are in charge of the show schedule and judges.

2017 officers of the Men’s Garden Club are president Jack Iliff, vice president Mike Frye, secretary Larry Lantz and treasurer Dan Boroff.

Show schedule sections

Sections are A. Vegetables; B. Fruits; C. Annuals; D. Perennials; E. Mums; F. Roses; G. Bulbs, tubers; H. Orchids; I. Flowering POtted Plants; J. Foliage Potted Plants; K. Hanging Containers; L. Vegetables in Container; M. herbs; N. Novice Entries.

Junior sections are:

• Sixth grade and younger: O. Fruits and Vegetables; P. Garden Flowers; Q. Gourds and Pumpkins; and R. Plants in Pots.

• Seventh through 12th grade: S. Fruits and Vegetables; T. Garden Flowers; U. Gourds and Pumpkins; V. Plants in Containers.

Section W: Adult Artistic Design

Classes: 215 Sunburn – red predominating; 216 Corn on the Cob – include parts of corn; 217 Bikini – miniature design; 218 Firecrackers – creative design; 219 Thunder and Lightning – black and white; 220 Home Run – line design; 221 Horse Race – reverse diagonal; 222 County Fair – panel design; 223 Family Reunion – mass design; 224 The Old Swimming Hole – water showing.

Section X: Junior Artistic Design

Juniors may enter any class, just add J and age to class number.

Artistic design rule

Only one entry in each class may be made by an exhibitor. Material used in design classes need not be grown by the exhibitor. Some plant material must be used in all design classes, unless otherwise stated.

Do not paint fresh plant material. Do not cut fruits and vegetables. No artificial plant material may be used.

Tips for entering specimens

Plant material should be fresh without wilting, no immature or starting to fade. No damage from weather, insects, dirt or spray residue.

A potted plant should be in proportion to plant size, not too small or too large. Pot should be clean on outside, spent blooms and withered leaves removed.

Richard Poffenbaugh is a retired biology teacher and active home gardener since 1960. He is a member of the Mansfield Men’s Garden Club and was editor of the club newsletter (The Greenhorn) for 21 years. He resides in Ontario with his wife, Barbara. Reach him at 419-529-2966.

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