Columbus – September 2018 – Topiary and Ikenobo

Recently we stopped by Franklin Park and were surprised to see a large area fenced in near the Conservatory that had always been part of the overall park. With our return visit, we found that over the last year they had added the ‘Grand Mallway’, a nicely landscaped area.

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As part of the Conservatory’s Topiary display, there were a number of flamingos displayed here.

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They were an interesting mix of floral and painted moss.

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With our mid September visit, much was still in full bloom.

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The flamingos and sculptures backed by the glass Palm House.

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The Mallway is a great addition – adding much needed outdoor space to the complex.

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Ringing the outside of the area is this covered walkway.

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It also provides interesting views of the Palm House.

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Nearby is the ‘Brides Garden’

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The entrance to the Childrens Garden featured more topiary art.

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Including a butterfly. The Conservatory has a great butterfly display (featured on another blog posting today).

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Topiary Dolphins.

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Mexican Wolves.

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Personally I like the permanent Topiary Gardens downtown. These look like Chia pets.

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In addition the use of paint detracts from the whole topiary idea.

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But the elephants are cool.

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Inside the Ikenobo Society of Ohio had a show.

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The flowers were unique and beautiful.

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Their website describes Ikebono as ‘one of the representative aspects of Japanese traditional culture, and ikebana began with Ikenobo.’

‘In 1462 the name Senkei Ikenobo first appeared in historic records as “master of flower arranging.” Senno Ikenobo, who was active in the late Muromachi period (mid-16th century), established the philosophy of ikebana, completing a compilation of Ikenobo teachings called “Senno Kuden.”’

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Simple yet elegant in their presentation.

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We had popped into the Conservatory for a brief visit, but with the new gardens, the topiary, the butterflies and the Ikenobo we ended up having a full morning of fantastic sights and smells.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Looking Over the Topiary Garden

Regular followers of this blog will know we often visit parks and gardens for the interesting landscaping that many contain.

A small park in downtown Columbus is no different. As you approach you are welcomed by a flower bed surrounded by some shrubs.

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The flowers were a home for numerous butterflies

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But this is no ordinary park – it is the Topiary Garden, sculptures in nature.

This park’s subject is the George Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.

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The shrubberies were groomed to make the painting.

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The couple with the umbrella are the center of the design.

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Soldiers with helmets stand guard.

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Some of the figures are easy to make out.

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They use framing the force the shrubs into the correct shapes.

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Interestingly we did indeed spend some of a Sunday afternoon in the park.

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An overview including the rowing crew. The garden is composed of 54 human figures, eight boats, three dogs and monkey and a cat.

It was first planted in 1988, and has continued to be enhanced through the years.

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Next door is the former Ohio School for the Deaf. This school was built in 1868, and features a number of gargoyles shaped as faces above the doorways.

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Rather than the normal grotesque gargoyles, these are friendly faces.

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To me they are the children of the school welcoming others.

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The keep a watchful eye on all who arrive.

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Situated on the east side of the building, they face the Topiary Gardens.

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Not quite sure many of them are sticking their tongues out, but they add some humor to the impressive building.

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A visit to the Gardens and the school are a must.

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Mansfield, OH – August 2018 – Kingwood Center Gardens

For this warm and windy Saturday we headed to Mansfield to see the Kingwood Center Gardens.  These gardens, and the mansion, were built by Charles King, who made his money leading a company that made electrical fittings for the trolleys and railroads of the early 1900s.

The house and grounds were built in 1926, and feature 47 acres of formal gardens, as well as greenhouses.

When Mr King died in the 1950s the estate was turned over to a private foundation that to this day own and operate the beautiful grounds.

My first photo of the day was taken with the ‘wrong’ settings. A couple of nights earlier there was a vivid full moon and I had changed the white balance and numerous other settings, forgetting to reset them. When I took the photo of the fountain it did not represent it’s actual look, but rather this ‘full moon’ look.

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Returning my camera to more proper settings for garden photography we set off. We were immediately impressed with the landscaping.

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As we made our way through the gardens we passed numerous planters with interesting mixes within each one.

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The stone paths and perfectly trimmed hedges framed the flora.

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The newest lens was perfect for some close ups.

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With the full frame capabilities, getting clear shots of the flowers is much easier.

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So much easier I came home with numerous photos of insects on plants and flowers.

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Additional planters on stone walls.

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The lawn and gardens in front of the house was immaculate (except for some gardener put tire tracks in it 🙂 )

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As with most gardens, weddings are a big business. Unfortunately for the bride this day some heavy rains came later, after we finished our tour.

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The house opened at 11, and a local peacock was there waiting for entry.

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While not extensive, there was some statuary well placed throughout the gardens.

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The carriage house had 5 bays for automobiles. What could be better, a 5 car garage and great landscaping.

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One of the greenhouses featured cacti.

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More insect closeups, this time in the greenhouse. Fortunately for this one he stayed away from the nearby Venus fly trap.

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We were pleasantly surprised by the Kingwood Center Gardens. While not Longwood (who is), this is one of the best, if not the best, gardens we have seen in Ohio.

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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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