Elkhart, Indiana – July 2018 – Gardens and Public Art

Our destination this day was Elkhart, Indiana – home of a collection of ‘Quilt Gardens’ and ‘Quilt Murals’. But first a quick stop at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.

Hammond is in Lake County, which is a mix of industrial, suburban and farming set along the south shore of Lake Michigan. Their welcome center is built to represent the waves, silos and steel mills of the county.

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The movie A Christmas Story was set in Hammond (although filmed in Cleveland and Toronto). One of the famous scenes is where a little kid is talked into sticking his tongue on a freezing cold flag pole, thus getting stuck. It is recreated here in a statue.

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Once we arrived in Elkhart we saw our first mural.

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As well as the quilt garden. To us the gardens were somewhat of a bust – they are difficult to see because they are too flat to the ground, and just appear as a mix of flowers (albeit nice flowers)

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The entire county did have a collection of decorated elk though.

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We spent an hour at the Wellfield Arboretum, which has a nice collection of sculptures, plants and flowers.

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A steel rodent?

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There were also some water features along with a number of painted ‘sticks’.

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The arboretum was well kept.

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In nearby Middlebury is the ‘World’s Fair Gardens’. These gardens were first presented in the Chicago Century of Progress fair in the 1930s.

They were later moved to Middlebury where they have existed ever since.

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The Middlebury site had a quilt gardens that was easier to see as it was on a small hill.

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Columbus – June 2018 – Old Oaks Neighborhood House and Garden Tour

Like many cities in America Columbus had significant growth in the early 1900s. One of the main drivers of this growth was the development of streetcars, which allowed people to live further than walking distance from their place of work.

One of those neighborhoods in Columbus is the Old Oaks neighborhood just southeast of downtown. When the streetcar line was electrified in 1891 the neighborhood followed shortly after.

On this sunny warm June day they had their annual Home and Garden Tour. But before we could tour the homes we made a stop at Holy Rosary St John Church to purchase our tickets.

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The church has impressive stained glass throughout.

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But we were here to tour the neighborhood …

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As with many inner city neighborhoods there had been a long period of lack of investment leading to deterioration. Many neighborhoods, including Old Oaks, has had an infusion of gentrification over the last 20-30 years.

While many Columbus neighborhoods have had a near complete gentrification, Old Oaks still has a mix of the original residents and those who have come in and rehabbed a home.

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The neighborhood is nearly all stately brick homes.

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There is an interesting mix of those that are in dire need of repair, those that have been fully restored, and then those like this one that are in between. It is understandable with the amount of work and money it takes.

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Amongst the large brick homes is this beautiful Craftsman style home – note the house on the left is boarded up – waiting for the right person to come in and bring her back.

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Not all of the homes shown here were on the official tour, but grace the streets of the neighborhood.

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With the flags it is clear you are in Ohio – USA.

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At the edge of the neighborhood, along Livingston Avenue is Greek Revival style home that was built much earlier than the rest of the neighborhood – dating from 1852. Known as the Caroline Brown home, it was a stop on the Underground Railroad to freedom for slaves prior to, and during the Civil War of the 1860s.

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A few of the interiors of the homes were open for inspection.

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They were all beautifully restored and decorated.

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A great use of an old pull down school map – a window shade!

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Some had stained glass windows (you can also see the use of stained glass from the street as well).

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Fireplaces were present in many of the bedrooms.

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All of the homes have excellent wood work throughout.

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Another example of a bedroom with a fireplace.

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An older look was present in one of the homes.

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The highlights though were the garden tours – this one featured a massive pergola leading to the original (apparently un-restored) garage.

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An arch frames the garden of another home.

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If nature wipes out your tree, make it art.

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One of the homes had extensive outdoor living space including a pool and a palm (Ohio palm tree?)

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Another had a number of artistic touches include beer bottles made into candles.

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The garages are in the rear, as originally they were carriage houses, to house horses. Alleys line all the houses in the back.

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Technically not a garden, but the front porches were great – giving the neighborhood a sense of community.

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Old Oaks is a community in transition but as is remains a vibrant part of the city. Thanks to all who shared their homes and gardens!

As our tour ended back on Livingston Avenue, we visited the boyhood home of Eddie Rickenbacker, truly one of America’s great men. Raised in this humble house in the early 1900s, Eddie went on to become a record land speed racer, a World War I fighter pilot, a pioneer in the development of Aviation, and many other things.

For some interesting reading about one of Columbus’s great native sons check out the wiki page on Eddie. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Rickenbacker

Somebody should make a movie (although they did back in the 1940s it could be done so much better now – and Eddie has the stories that would be worth telling).

 

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Kennett Square, PA – May 2018 – Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens is located in suburban Philadelphia, in the town of Kennett Square. Considered by most as one of the foremost gardens in America it is an amazing display of horticultural coupled with architecture and water features.

The Gardens have been located here since the 1700s where the Pearce family began cultivating trees. It wasn’t until the early 1900s when one of the DuPont family members purchased the gardens did it really become the showcase that is renown around the world.

 

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The day we visited nearly every person arriving headed straight for the flower gardens.

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Where a fountain graced the pathway.

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There are over 800 volunteers who keep the gardens immaculate. Once a flower loses it’s bloom they will remove it and replace it with something else.

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Resulting in vivid displays.

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Water features are everywhere, including this Italian Water Garden.

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This gazebo is a popular spot for weddings.

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While other buildings used for mechanicals are equally impressive with the floral.

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But the highlight is without a doubt the are the fountains. The  5 acre Main Fountain Area is said to combine Italianate ornamentation with French Grandeur coupled with a World’s Fair showmanship.

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Water features are everywhere, all synchronized to provide displays. The Bellagio has nothing on Longwood for fountain displays.

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Inside the Conservatory the floral and fauna continue to amaze.

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The variety of plants and flowers are extensive, many I had never seen before.

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And all in picture perfect condition.

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As you exit the conservatory you are again given an expansive view of the fountains.

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As well as another smaller flower garden.

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Before ending up at the Carillon, which provides chimes every 15 minutes. Longwood Gardens is truly an amazing place.

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New York City – April 2018 – Sunday Morning on the High Line

The High Line runs for about 1.5 miles across the lower west side of Manhattan. Originally an elevated freight line to get commerce in and out of the industrial and warehouses that once populated the area, it has been transformed into an urban park.

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Along much of the path the original rails have been retained and planted with native plants.

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A few spots traverse through the original buildings, all of which have been restored.

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One of the spur lines that went directly into a building is a ‘garden’. While it may look like weeds to most, they want it to look that way.  A tree many grow in Brooklyn but Manhattan has trendy weeds (and not those kind)

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There is some art work along the path as well.

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Recently it has been extended to the booming area of Hudson Yards.

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Victoria, British Columbia – September 2017 – Hatley Gardens

Hatley Gardens and Castle in Victoria, British Columbia is a beautiful setting for spending an afternoon. Just as we arrived a pipe band came by for a special event (other than us arriving!)

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The Italian Gardens were the first stop.

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Situated on the Royal Roads College, a military school, there are some patriotic symbols.

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The Japanese Gardens

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Hatley Gardens is one of the best we have seen.

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Cleveland – August 2017 – One World Day

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens is  a beautiful area in Rockefeller Park that celebrates the diverse cultures that make up Cleveland. Once a year they celebrate One World Day, where all of the 40 different countries that have gardens (or are working on them) celebrate their culture.

The individual gardens had extra touches added to them.

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We spent time with learning about the culture of Slovakia from the man who lead the building of the gardens. While some, such as the Italian and German have been there for 70 years or more, a few have been built in the last 30 years.

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The Hungarian Garden had a ‘Budapest Cafe’ set up, complete with music.

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A couple of Czech women in their traditional attire.

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Most had crafts from the homeland.

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A shuttle was provided for those who were late to the parade, like the Lebanese, who were entertaining even on the shuttle ride.

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One of the Russian marchers.

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Vietnam is currently working on their garden, and were well represented in the parade.

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Each country brought a flag for the day that were displayed at the main entertainment stage.

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The leaders of the Romanian group.

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There were a number of youth groups who are continuing to carry on the traditions of their country.

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Young and old marched together.

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After the parade many posed for photos in their gardens.

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The Serbian group had great outfits, with cool shoes.

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With the food, culture and gardens it was a great day for One World in Cleveland.

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Willoughby, Ohio – August 2017 – Holden Arboretum

The Holden Arboretum is located outside of Cleveland, offering a collection of gardens as one of the largest arboretums in America. Recently they have added a couple of features, the Canopy Walk and the Observation Tower.

The Canopy Walk allows you to observe the forest from 65′ above the ground on suspension bridges between towers.

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The Observation Tower, over 100′ high, offers views above the trees, as well as Lake Erie off in the distance.

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After our tree top adventure, we toured the remainder of the gardens.

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