Gardens of Coshocton

I’m just back from an intense yet productive week in Coshocton, Ohio where I was doing an arts residency at the Pomerene Center for the Arts. I worked with a group of about 250 3rd and 4th graders to make fabric people a little like the ones I make myself. (For more about my art, please see my website and my art blog.)

I would have had fun making the art anywhere–even a smelly school cafeteria–but was amazed to find that my art room was this:

That’s right, outdoors among the rhododendrons and azaleas on the porch of a Greek Revival house. It was beautiful. Here’s a close up of the fancy azalea that was in the middle of my art room:

Not only that, while I was there I stayed with the Pomerene’s director. She and her husband live on a gravel township road way out in the country with only Amish families for neighbors. It was a beautiful time to be there. I loved sitting on their porch just listening to the peace and quiet.

And by peace and quiet I mean massive amounts of bird songs. This brings me to mental note #1:

  • Whenever I schedule another arts residency in early May, I need to pack my binoculars

As well as mental note #2:

  • I should make sure to schedule more residencies along migration routes during early May.

The birds taunted me. I could see little warblers flitting way up in the trees and I could hear all kinds of interesting birds singing, but I had no way to get a good look at them.

I did, however, get to go on walks with Chuck the dog.

And watch Stewart the cat lick the dew off the skylight in the morning.

There were also plenty of gardens in and around Coshocton. I saw more when I went back to visit my alma mater, Kenyon College. Kenyon’s beautiful campus was at its peak.

From all of this, I present: Irises that it would be fun to own. (Would anyone notice if I chopped off a rhizome to bring home with me?)

The last ones were at Clary Gardens, a little botanical garden in Coshocton. I stopped there and the historic Roscoe Village before heading home and was glad I did. They included many wonderful plants and settings.

Full Disclosure

I am definitely not a gardening expert.

Case in point: my lovely plants that I started in an actual greenhouse way back in February. I had high hopes–this year there would be early tomatoes. And tomatillos that are ripe before the frost. I’d have big, stocky plants ready to pop in the ground by May.

Well.

Not so much.

I think it was the soil I used. It had come in perfectly sized bags that were easy to carry with me. The seeds were up in a matter of weeks. Happy and green. And then they didn’t grow any more. They stayed two inches tall for weeks and I was too busy to think about it much. Then they turned yellow. And it was April. My friend’s tomatoes planted weeks after mine taunted me with their hefty, twenty inch tall stalks. I had to do something.

Of course by then all the potting supplies were gone from the stores, so I resorted to red party cups. The seedlings looked so much greener after a week in new soil, and I had visions of them shooting skyward in the next couple weeks before I could put them in the ground.

But now the greenhouse is too warm for plants and mine are still midgets. I’ll collect them tomorrow and hope for the best.

Meanwhile, why yes, I am an expert! I intentionally planned my garden to have something in bloom all the way from late winter through summer. I put lots of thought into it!

Well, OK, so it’s completely accidental.

In my perennial bed, the bearded irises are over, but some new irises took their place. I don’t know much about them–I swiped a couple rhizomes from Patchwork when I saw how beautiful they are.

My coral bells are also blooming now and the astrilbe and hydrangea will join them very soon. I should have extra color in my garden for several more weeks!

My wall of honeysuckle is at its peak. This week I was finding excuses to work a little here and there in my garden just to enjoy the scent.

I also have some Japanese honeysuckle that’s blooming on our front fence. It has pretty flowers, but every other year it seems to get infested with aphids or some such bug. It looks like this is a year for the bugs, but I could enjoy the flowers for a little bit, at least.

Meanwhile, John graduated from nursing school last weekend. Friends used the occasion to give me gifts of flowers. I got a bouquet of peonies, since it’s also peony season in Evansville.

And a black iris from Alan. They’re really beautiful. Now I’ve transferred one from his garden to mine.

John and I also had the gift of having our families in town, and I enjoyed having new people to enjoy my garden with me and to take photos of me standing in it! Yay!