Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Clary Gardens Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Welcome to Clary Gardens in Coshocton, Ohio.

Visit Coshocton as Clary Garden Foundation celebrates its 20th year on their beautiful hillside landscape. The foundation began to encourage the community to develop a botanical garden that would be a place to learn more about horticulture, local history, and the arts.

A local florist, Elizabeth Clary, purchased the 20 acres to memorialize her late husband, Lawrence, in what was to become Clary Gardens. The Clary family had operated a greenhouse in Coshocton for over 100 years and were famous for sending their red roses by rail all over the United States. Over the years, Elizabeth added weeping redbuds, yellow magnolia trees, geraniums, tulips, and 30 varieties of roses to the developing garden.

Ohio Rose & Star quilt pattern can be found here as part of a Coshocton County Quilt Barn Tour.

In honor of the family’s rose business, the Clary Garden barn has become part of the Coshocton County Heritage Quilt Barn Tour. An Ohio Rose & Star quilt pattern has graced the side of their barn since 2003.

You know the place is special the minute you drive through the gate. The setting is beautiful and well maintained. There is no charge for visiting from 8 am to 7 pm daily. The garden is supported by the generosity of the Clary Garden Foundation members.

Spring blossoms add extra beauty early in the year.

“Under the Big Top” has been the theme for 2021 to celebrate their growth over the last 20 years. Floral displays were red, white, and gold – circus colors. There was even a Ringmaster and animals on-site to attract old and young alike.

In the summer months, they have a Nature Program for Children which includes a science adventure and outdoor activity. Grow your own garden! Learn about the plants in the woods.

Field trips teach children to explore and enjoy nature.

An assortment of trails makes it possible for people of all ages to find that special place for a walk in nature. Their half-mile Woodland Loop includes some fascinating geological features and is a local favorite. Your dog is welcome as long as you pick up after your furry friend.

These gates open to a scenic path that leads down to a beautiful amphitheater.

For a very reasonable price, you can have a guided tour of the facility from March through October 31. There are several possibilities on their 20-acre grounds depending on the amount of time and energy you have to spend. These include interesting topics like Time Travel Tour, Woodlands Rock, Stop and Smell the Roses, and the list goes on.

Follow the path through the Rose Garden or relax in the gazebo.

Follow the path through the rose garden or take a rest in the rose garden gazebo. Just below the rose garden, you enter that special amphitheater that has been voted the number one outdoor wedding venue in Ohio.

Theatre in the Ravine provides the perfect place for weddings and concerts.

The Theatre in the Ravine is a very popular spot at Clary Gardens. This sandstone amphitheater is built into the hillside, which overlooks a tranquil stream and wooded area. It’s a wonderful place for concerts, weddings, and theater presentations as it seats over 200 people and has electric hook-up on its natural stage. Two plays have already been scheduled for this summer.

Receptions and public events are held in the tent behind the Compton House.

Receptions and meetings are currently being held in a large tent beside the 1850s red Compton House with beautiful table settings available. This summer they plan to replace the tent by constructing an open-air pavilion on the stamped concrete pad for wedding receptions and other private events.

Choose the Garden House for your next private get-together. Built around 1850, the house has two main rooms separated by a kitchen and is available for rent during the season.

Relax at the Spring House as you listen to the sounds of soothing water as it flows from the historic Spring House. It’s a magical place near the Iris Pond and woodland trails.

The Children’s Garden features wooden balance beams, beanpole tipis, and a crawl-through tunnel that resembles a caterpillar. Children enjoy coming here to learn more about nature. They often take off their shoes and wade in the shallow creek learning to identify salamanders and crawfish.

Enjoy being surrounded by butterflies at the Traveling Butterfly Exhibit.

A special Traveling Butterfly Exhibit comes to the garden nearly every year and gives viewers a chance to walk among the live butterflies as they flutter about. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to have one land on you. Enhance your chances of having a butterfly landing by feeding them some nectar.

The gardens are in their early stages of development and every year sees new additions. Plans for the future include a walkway connecting Clary Gardens and the nearby Caldersburg Cemetery to historic Roscoe Village, which is very close by. This will lead more people to explore both places.

Before visiting the gardens, check out their schedule at www.clarygardens.org as the gardens are sometimes closed for part of the day during weddings and special events.

Clary Gardens holds beauty in nature each season of the year.

Clary Gardens at 588 W. Chestnut Street in Coshocton is a place to enjoy peace and harmony with nature. Every season creates a different view so you might want to return throughout the year.

Clary Gardens are located in Coshocton, Ohio at 588 W. Chestnut Street just around the bend south of Roscoe Village. Watch for the entrance sign on the right-hand side.

Family Fun at Storybook Trails

Something new has been added to entertainment for youngsters who enjoy a walk in nature. Ohio Department of Natural Resources added Storybook Trails in 2020 to five state parks as a place for youngsters to explore the world of books as well as nature. Ohio is one of only seven states with free admission to all of its 75 state parks.

This Storybook Trail entrance is at Dillon State Park.

The first park to have a Storybook Trail was Alum Creek State Park. Other parks that share the nature trail include Dillon, John Bryan, Maumee Bay, and Wingfoot State Parks. More will be added. Here families can walk down scenic trails while learning about nature from authors who received inspiration from it.

Each park features a different book regarding nature and the books are changed at least once every year. This year, ODNR partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library to provide story content to the trails.

Reading and enjoying nature are two important values being developed. These Storybook Trails bring books to life for children and families. Along the way, you might want to sit down at a picnic table to enjoy lunch or a snack in the great out-of-doors. Some of the trails are paved while others are grass.

This summer, read “In the Trees, Honey Bees” along the Dillon trail.

Dillon State Park in Zanesville was the first Storybook Trail in Muskingum County. Here the story of “In the Trees, Honeybees” by Lori Mortensen is presented in child-high pages along Black Locust Trail. That’s down by the beach and ball courts with a great playground close by.

Children enjoy reading the story page by page.

“In the Trees, Honey Bees” is a rhyming book about nature. Younger children always like rhymes while on the sidebar there are creative activities and information about bees, pollination, and honey for older children. Students actually chose this book as they understand the need to save the honey bees.

This half-mile trail encourages children to explore the world of nature and is not too long for younger children or grandparents. There are 16 colorful child-high panels that bring the book to life and feature fun facts, nature clues, and activities. Trail-side interactive panels will have readers buzzing like a bee or breaking into a bee dance. These boards also encourage reading as you read the entire book along the trail.

Some activities will take you on a side trail that circles back to the main trail so you don’t miss any of the story. These extras add excitement to the day if you have the time and energy.

Choose a book from Little Free Library at the end of the trail.

When you are finished walking the trail, stop at the Free Little Library, where you can borrow a book to take home with you or leave books for someone else to enjoy.

This young man enjoyed reading the story last summer.

The Muskingum County Library liked this idea so much that they created a Story Walk in downtown Zanesville in June 2020. They change their stories with the seasons so you will frequently have a new adventure.

Stories change frequently on the Story Walk and the walk ends at the library.

At this time, you can read the story of “Officer Buckle and Gloria” as the pages are set in the beautiful flower containers along 5th Street beginning at Market Street, and end up at the Muskingum County Library.

Families enjoy the Story Walk in downtown Zanesville.

Officer Buckle presents safety programs to Napville Elementary School. But the children pay little attention until…he brings his dog, Gloria, along with him. The children love the antics of Gloria. Take the Story Walk and find out how the story ends.

Kidzville in Riverside Park provides an enjoyable and safe place for children and families.

Plans are near completion for another Story Walk near Kidzville in Riverside Park along the beautiful Muskingum River. Permanent frames will be installed this summer downtown and at the park so stories can be changed frequently.

Book pages have been enlarged for easy and fun reading.

Placing Story Walks at strategic places in the county where the community frequents will encourage reading and exercise. Springtime has brought families and their children to Kidzville as a great place to play in the fresh air. It’s a busy place. Many families are looking forward to the opening of the Kidzville Story Walk.

All three story trails provide a great place for a free stroll through nature with your children or grandchildren as you read a book, get some exercise, and explore the world of nature together.

Follow this shady trail to read all pages of the story at Dillon State Park.

Storybook Trail at Dillion State Park just west of Zanesville is the perfect place for a day with the entire family. Often visitors see white-tailed deer, grouse, wild turkeys, waterfowl, and sometimes even a bald eagle. The trail is located near a nice playground with a picnic area, and very close to the beach for a day in the sun. Visit there soon for free outdoor family fun. Be sure to pack a picnic basket!

Springtime Walk at Secrest Arboretum

Enjoy floral paths with paved walkways throughout the arboretum.

Springtime! Nature awakens from her winter nap to display lovely shades of green, blossoming trees, and springtime flowers. It’s the perfect time for a walk outside to soak up the sun while enjoying the Spring Show.

Edmund Secrest founded the arboretum in 1908.

One place perfect for this adventure is Secrest Arboretum located on the campus of Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. The arboretum was established in 1909 by Edmund Secrest, the first state forester in Ohio and director of the Experiment Station from 1938-1948. Although it is a research arboretum over 10,000 people visit in annually.

Kids enjoy climbing in this natural play area.

This arboretum was designed with adults and children in mind. While adults will enjoy the trees and plants, children have been given play areas in the midst of the natural world.

This slide is a big attraction for kids of all ages and extra slippery on a burlap sack!

Fortress at the Hogs-back is a place for kids of all ages. Kids enjoy climbing over the rocks, walking through cement storm drain pipes, and best of all, going down the huge slide in the side of a hill. That slide is even big enough for adults to enjoy!

Blossoming crabapple, redbud, and cherry trees highlight the grounds in springtime.

Training programs and evaluation of new plants are provided to Ohio Nursery, landscaping organizations, and Master Gardeners. But the grounds are a beautiful and peaceful place for a walk any season of the year.

Attractive metal artwork appears outside the Visitors’ Center.

Stop at the Orientation Center where outside there’s a map of the grounds showing the different trails to take and information about the arboretum. This 110 acre facility is a living laboratory for research, teaching and learning. There are over 2,500 varieties, species, and cultivars of plants to learn about.

A special research project involves finding the best coneflowers for our area.

Visit their new research project, a Coneflower (Echinacea) Garden with over 100 varieties of coneflowers. There are colors from white and pink to red and yellow. Here they are determining the best coneflowers to grow in our area.

Flowers appear everywhere. There are 15 different theme gardens so you will be sure to find something you enjoy. There’s Gayle’s Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, Ohio’s Native Garden, and Million Flower Pathway to give you an idea of what is available. The Garden of Roses of Legend and Romance might become a favorite.

The main reason the Native Garden is so important is that it provides food for our native butterflies, birds, bees, and all wildlife. They have done an outstanding job of labeling the plants and trees so you can have information for perhaps a new plant for your garden.

A hillside amphitheater is a great place for weddings and concerts.

John Streeter Garden Amphitheater is a great place for weddings, concerts, and theater productions. The sandstone steps make a perfect entrance for the bride while guests can sit on the sandstone seats. Several musical events have been scheduled for this summer. Check their website at www.secrest.osu.edu for more information.

Frequent benches provide a place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Along the way you will find giant frogs, tortoises, and pieces of metal artwork in the form of butterflies, birds, and flowers. There’s also a pavilion for picnics, and benches throughout for visitors to rest or just enjoy the scenery and the scent of the flowers.

Springtime blossoms added beauty throughout the arboretum.

Friends of the Secrest Arboretum are responsible for funding, volunteering, keeping the grounds looking wonderful, and scheduling educational and musical events. They have played an important role in developing Secrest into a national and international treasure.

Beauty awaits around every corner.

The arboretum is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year. Easiest access is to place 2122 Williams Road, Wooster in your GPS, then follow the signs that lead to the arboretum.

Stroll their paved walks through forests and meadows to discover what plants would be best for your home. It’ s a great place for a family outing any season of the year!

Spring Time Arrives at McDaniel’s Greenhouse

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

~Audrey Hepburn

McDaniel's Soon

It’s time to pick up a beautiful hanging basket or some plants for your garden.

Springtime brings thoughts of gardens. Vegetable or flower, take your choice. Both are good for the soul.

     Some gardeners begin their plants from seed, but most prefer to stop by the local greenhouse and pick up plants that have had a loving tender start.

McDaniel's Annuals (2)

You’ll find great variety and quality at McDaniel’s Greenhouse.

     Quality plants can easily be found at McDaniel’s Greenhouse in Rix Mills just outside of New Concord. Their plants are reasonably priced and always have a healthy start. The greenhouse was started by Larry and Jeaneen McDaniel in 1973. Jeaneen was a teacher and when her family began, she wanted a way to stay home with them yet contribute to the family income. At that time she had one glass greenhouse called Posy Pot. It grew and grew!

McDaniels' Rachael and Bryce

Bryce and Rachael McDaniel work year around in the world of plants.

     Now their son Bryce and his wife, Rachael, have taken over the operation. It’s a real family affair with their sons also participating. They are always helpful in giving suggestions for plants that you might like and even help get them to your car if you have too many to carry!

McDaniel's Rachel and shopping cart

Rachael’s artistic background has her creating a shopping cart that is overflowing with succulents.

     Bryce grew up in the greenhouse so he learned from his parents how to care for the plants. Rachael said she was not a gardener until she met Bryce fifteen years ago. She was an art major and you can tell from arrangements at the greenhouse that she’s putting that talent to good use. She still keeps Jeaneen’s notes though to guide her through the season.

McDaniel's Succulent Area

This succulent area even has a play area.

     Some of their plants were started last fall from cuttings of healthy mother plants. These would include succulents, ornamental begonias, and coleus. The McDaniel family makes this look so easy with all their experience. They cut the branches from a mother plant, then simply stick them in good soil. When the moisture is properly maintained, soon small roots appear. It’s almost magical.

McDaniel's New Greenhouse

The newest greenhouse contains their collection of succulent plants.

     Succulents have become a favorite since Bryce took an interest in them about eight years ago. They’re not only colorful and some appear unusual, but they require very little care. Most succulents survive even when neglected.

McDaniels Jay and Misty Travis

Jay and Misty Travis place purchased plant plugs in trays.

     Some popular plants have patents so greenhouses can not grow new plants from cuttings. They have to purchase them as seeds or plugs from a supplier. They arrive as very small plants, but with some loving tender care will be ready to re-pot for hanging baskets, custom orders, or for sale as individual plants.

McDaniel's Hanging Baskets (2)

Soon the greenhouses will overflow with beautiful plants.

     One day recently, the McDaniel’s family planted over 300 Dahlias, and 1200 plant plugs were placed in trays. They walk miles every day as they work in the greenhouse. While hanging baskets are watered with a sprinkling system, the rest of the plants are hand-watered with hoses using cistern water to avoid chemicals. Watering takes six hours every day but it’s a great chance for them to keep a close eye on all the plants.

McDaniel's Early Hanging Baskets

In early March, plants were in their beginning stages.

     A few years ago they installed heated floors in a section of their greenhouse where they are doing the seedlings and cuttings. By using a wood burner, the floor temperature stays about 70 degrees, the perfect temperature for the young plants.

McDaniel's Fun Planters

Attractive settings appear throughout the greenhouses.

     Something new that has been added is a potting table where people can have some assistance in potting their own plants. Children, as well as adults, enjoy this activity.

McDaniels's Hanging Basket

Pick up a ready to hang basket or perhaps fill one of your own.

     McDaniel’s Greenhouse has many requests for custom orders so it’s vitally important that the plants peak at just the right time. That takes special timing! Customer containers are brought to be filled with instructions regarding plants and colors.

McDaniel's Fall Workshop (2)

Workshops have been added to their events during many seasons.

     Workshops began in 2019 and will be held throughout the year as soon as possible so check their Facebook page for some interesting events including Succulents, Christmas Pine, and Lavender. This fall they will be growing their own mums.

McDaniel's Entrance

A piece of spouting filled with attractive plants tops the doorway to this greenhouse.

     When asked what they do for relaxation, Rachael said they go to the boys’ soccer games, track meets, and basketball games, where Bryce helps coach. Once in a while, they get a chance to go camping and kayaking. You can tell family is of top importance.

McDaniels May flowers

Hardy flowers can be found at McDaniel’s that will last all summer long.

     Check out their website http://www.mcdanielsgreenhouse.com or their Facebook page for the latest updates. Call in your orders at 740-872-6143 or email them at mcdanielsgreenhouse@gmail.com. They will offer extended hours of 9 am – 5 pm for the season. Spring has not been canceled.

     Plan to stop by and pick up a special flower for yourself or a friend. See all the colorful flowers and plants that are sure to make you welcome the gardening season with a smile as you anticipate the results.

McDaniel’s Greenhouse is located at 2725 Rix Mills Road – County Hwy 55 – off Route 40 west of New Concord. You can’t miss the greenhouses when you come into Rix Mills. Visit their website at www.mcdanielsgreenhouse.com

Sheriff Investigates Still

I enjoy writing about real situations so when our writers’ group decided to do a book called “Ripped From the Headlines,” I wanted to write about something that could have happened. One of my interests in natural health and I know a lady who brewed a special tea to help many problems. So this story is about a  fictitious local man, who was working on a natural cure. 

Boden, Ohio 1933 An anonymous source recently informed the Signal about law enforcement conducting an investigation in the woods outside of town. It seems a man known only as Lightning has been carefully watched by the sheriff’s office because of suspicious behavior involving a still in the hillside behind his home.

Neighbors watched Lightning carry bag after bag of materials into a cave under a rock cliff. Several local men were also seen entering the cave. It is suspected that they were there to purchase the brew being made.

A freshwater spring comes out in that area and is vital for the making of good rum, which some have heard Lightning say was his favorite drink.

Sheriff Harry Totten and a couple deputies surrounded the entrance on a recent morning very early before Lightning even arrived at the still. They hid in the trees so they could watch his approach.

Lightning whistled a merry tune of “Show Me the Way to Go Home” as he happily made his way to the hillside one sunny May morning.

Imagine his surprise when the sheriff and two deputies appeared from the woods with guns drawn. His whistling stopped as a puzzled look crossed his face.

“What’s the problem, sheriff? I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”

With a smirk on his face, Sheriff Totten answered, “We’ll see about that when we check inside the hillside here. Seems something strange is going on in that cave and we’re here to check it out.”

“Oh, sir, I can’t let you see in there as I’m working on a secret and don’t want anyone to see it until it is perfected.”

“Yea, sure. Some secret brew to make your neighbor’s feel better?” By now the sheriff was getting a bit upset by Lightning’s conversation.

“How do you know what I’m working on? No one has been told anything about it. This hasn’t even been tested yet.”

Exasperated, a deputy ordered, “Let us in the hillside and see what is inside.”

“Please don’t come in. I’m not ready for people to know about this.” pleaded Lightning.

“Sorry, but we’re headed in this very minute so step aside.” With that, they entered the hillside to find the still they were sure was making rum.

Inside they discovered something that resembled a still but it didn’t smell like alcohol at all. On closer inspection, it didn’t taste like alcohol either. In fact, it rather tasted like dirt.

“Yuk! This is horrible. You’ll never find anyone to buy this if you were planning on selling it. Whatever is it for?”

Lightning chewed on his lip as he tried to think of a way to explain what he was making without giving away the secret completely. Everyone knew about his wife’s rheumatism so maybe that would satisfy the sheriff.

“Actually, I’m trying to make a tonic that will help my wife’s rheumatism. She really suffers from the pain and I keep trying different combinations to see if I can find something that helps. I work on it each morning for a little while before I go to work and let her try some each day.”

Has it helped your wife any?” smirked the sheriff. “I don’t think anything you brew up here is going to prove to help rheumatism.”

With that, Sheriff Totten and his deputies had a good laugh as they returned to their recently purchased 1932 Ford Model B. “I always thought Lightning was a little off his rocker.”

Now Lightning could relax as he continued his experiment with the old Indian recipe his elders had passed down for generations. No one had developed it in recent years and Lightning felt it was about time that someone put it to work to help many people.

Living near Big Indian Run, he could gather the needed herbs and roots easily from the hillsides close by his home. When he combined them with fresh spring water, it didn’t take long in the still for the purest tea to overflow.

Some say it tasted like dirt, but if it helped a person feel better that was what was important.

He had heard stories of people being cured of their illnesses after drinking this special tea day after day. His ancestors had carried down the stories for generations.

Now, his daughter, Crystal, was very ill, too, and nothing seemed to help her. That’s what made him decide that this was the right time to develop this special brew.

“Daddy,” he heard her call. “Come carry me to the spring so I can watch you work.”

Quickly he moved to the house to help his daughter who was so weak she could scarcely stand. Together they sat by the spring and felt the soft summer breeze.

“If only you felt better and life could stay like this,” he whispered.

Crystal so wanted to go to school but right now that wasn’t possible. She knew her dad was trying his best to find a solution to make her feel better so she tried not to complain.

Day after day, Crystal drank the special tea her dad had brewed and day by day, he noticed a little color returning to her face and a little strength coming back to her body.

Sometimes the best cures for our aches and pains have been given to us in the natural world around us if we just know how to use them.

Today, Crystal enjoys going to school and laughs when her dad tells the story about Sheriff Totten thinking he had a still to brew alcohol.

His wife’s rheumatism has improved remarkably as well. There has to be something to that old Indian recipe.

Lightning is seriously thinking about bottling his brew!

Would you be willing to try some? 

Captain Bill Calmly Cruises Through Life

Captain Bill at wheel

Captain Bill takes the wheel of the Lorena Sternwheeler.

When you’ve been a captain for thirty-five years, navigating the waters is something you do with ease no matter the situation. William Page, called Captain Bill by those who know him best, has surrounded himself with life on or near the water for most of his life.

Captain - child

That’s Bill on the right with a diving helmet his dad found in a Pittsburgh River.

   Growing up in Zanesville, he lived close to the Muskingum River and had many daring adventures there as a child while picking up coal along the railroad tracks. Riding a log jam down the river while fishing was one escapade that got him in trouble. Often he and his cousins would climb up under the bridges to catch pigeons – they wanted a carrier pigeon.

Captain - Aquatics Unlimited

Aquatics Unlimited in Zanesville was one of his first business ventures.

   Bill worked for Anchor Hocking Glass for 25 years as an engineering draftsman and mold maker. But the water was calling him and he opened Aquatics Unlimited in Zanesville. Here he designed and built swimming pools and spas, and taught scuba diving.

Captain - Swimming Pool

This swimming pool in Nashville, Tennessee was the last pool he constructed.

   Because of his diving abilities, he was a reserve deputy sheriff in Perry and Muskingum Counties. There he was active doing search and recovery dive team training and rescue missions.

Captain Diving

Giving scuba diving lessons was something Bill truly enjoyed.

   Then he took a vacation and fell in love with the waters of Florida. Soon he moved there, where he owned Knox Bait House Marina. When Bill decides to tackle a project, his persistence has always paid off. Since he had been a commercial diver, he decided to open a scuba diving center where he gave lessons on the Crystal River.

Captain - Manatee

Swimming with the manatee was a favorite Florida pastime.

   He set up a manatee training program at Crystal River because of their abundance at that location. His training program received international recognition. He fell in love with the manatees and enjoyed teaching people how to interact with these large aquatic mammals, who are very friendly when properly treated.

Captain Silver Suit 2

He was honored to wear the Silver Suit of Jacques Cousteau.

   While managing the Port Paradise Dive Center, he was in charge of everything from boat and diving equipment rentals to training divers and giving tours. This is where he was lucky enough to wear one of the famous silver suits of Jacques Cousteau who said, “The best way to observe a fish is to become one.” Bill understood how to do that.

Captain - Video Recorder

Bill still has the underwater video recorder that he used quite often.

   While in Florida, Bill’s life was filled with excitement. He worked at Walt Disney World with the dolphins, was part of the support team for a simulator space capsule with NASA, and directed scuba diving programs at the University of Florida and Bay Point Dive Center.

  There’s a special experience of freedom while diving. The feeling of weightlessness in the water and in the space capsule were pure delights for Bill. One special pleasure was diving to view all the colorful fish, especially at night when some give off a fluorescent glow. “We dive not to escape life but for life not to escape us.”

Captain - Yacht

Sailing his charter yacht Challenge led to many exciting trips in the Caribbean.

   In Florida, he received his captain’s license and took people on cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean. For three years he captained The Challenge, a 52′ charter sailing yacht.

   An old friend from Zanesville, Dorothy Montgomery, pulled some strings and asked him if he would come back and temporarily captain the Lorena. He had never operated a sternwheeler before but decided to accept the challenge. That was fifteen years ago.

Captain and Becky

Bill and his wife, Becky, share a passion for the waterways.

   Since then Captain Bill and his wife “Admiral” Becky, social director on the Lorena, have enjoyed the Muskingum River and the people who ride along with them. They hope to be back on board by the end of May each year.

Lorena Paddlewheel

Today Bill is Captain of the Lorena on the Muskingum River.

   While steering the Lorena, he notices his environment. In the sky, he sees many different birds, eagles and an occasional seagull. In the water, herring and other fish make themselves known but he quipped, “I haven’t seen an alligator, but I’m looking.”

   In his spare time, Bill drives tour buses and school buses for West Muskingum. He fills every hour of the day. If he would have one bit of advice for young people, it would be, “Education. Get it all.”

   Everyone has dreams and Bill is no exception. One dive he would still like to make is off the coast of Australia in the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

Captain - Queen of the Lake II

His next project is to direct the restoration of the Queen of the Lake III at Buckeye Lake.

   His next project is fairly close to home as he has been asked to be project manager at Buckeye Lake as they complete the final steps on the restoration of Queen of the Lake III.

Captain at home

The Captain’s home office is filled with nautical memorabilia.

   There’s no doubt that Bill and Becky enjoy life to the fullest these days. Bill enjoys playing keyboard, guitar and accordion but never took a lesson. He’s one of those true musicians that play by ear. Today he’s perfectly happy to just relax in their beautiful home near Zanesville.

   Bill has seen things under the water that most have never seen. Memories float to the surface when he speaks of his adventures.

   “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonders forever.”

~Jacques Cousteau

Topiary Garden Inspired by Painting

Topiary - Old Deaf School Park

Topiary Park is located on the grounds of Old Deaf School Park in Columbus, Ohio.

Walk through the Topiary Garden on Town Street near downtown Columbus, Ohio as you let your imagination take you to “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” This painting inspired Columbus artists James T. Mason and his wife, Elaine to develop a living reinterpretation of that painting on the grounds of the Old Deaf School Park.

Topiary - Painting Print

“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” inspired this Topiary Garden.

   Georges-Pierre Seurat was a French painter (1859-1891) and this painting on a ten-foot canvas is considered to be one of the most remarkable paintings of the 19th century. The painting took him two years to complete as he first focused on the park itself before painting people from every social class participating in park activities. No figure encroaches on another’s space. All coexist in peace.

Topiary - Relaxing under the tree

This topiary couple relaxes in the shade while reading a book.

   Topiary is the practice of clipping plants into shapes. James shaped the bronze frames and planted the greenery, while Elaine served as the original topiarist. This small garden was developed with the help of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. They pay attention year-round to keeping the plants trimmed and in excellent condition around their wire framework.

   This area actually dates back to 1829 when the Ohio School for the Deaf established educational and residential programs for school-age children who were deaf or hard of hearing. By 1953, the school had outgrown its downtown location and moved to a larger property on Morse Road. Today, the Topiary Garden on those old grounds is the only one of its kind in the world – a park based entirely on the interpretation of one painting.

Topiary - Rowboat on the water

There are eight topiary boats on the pond, which represents the River Seine.

   This was all originally built for the opening of the AmeriFlora exhibit that took place in Columbus in 1992. Special care has been used to create close representations of the painting by Georges Seurat in 1884. The pond represents the River Seine and was developed in the early stages of the garden in 1989. There are even artificial hills that help capture the scene.

Topiary Gift Shop

The gatehouse, resembling a French countryside home, holds their gift shop and information center.

   The gatehouse resembles a French country house to match the park’s theme. Here you will find an information center, museum and gift shop. It is located next to a library which has an outstanding art exhibit.

Topiary - Lady reading outside gift shop

Outside the gatehouse, this topiary lady sits reading a book.

   Highlighted are the sculpted topiaries, hedges trimmed into the shapes of men, women, children, boats, and animals. The frames that support the figures are made of 5/8-inch bronze and set in eighteen inches of concrete.

Topiary - Man with tophat

A man with a top hat is one of 54 topiary characters in the scene.

   There are actually 54 people, eight boats, three dogs, a cat, and a monkey included in the carvings. The largest topiary is 12′ tall. You might see a man with a top hat or a lady with her parasol dressed in the fashion of the 1800s, watching the topiary boats on the pond.

Topiary Bronze

This bronze plaque is situated at the artist’s viewpoint, “As He Saw It.”

   Visit the spot called “As He Saw It” for the exact location of the scene Seurat saw as he was painting it. There is a bronze plaque at this spot so you can compare the topiary to the painting. It’s a quiet place in the middle of the city where you can leisurely wander through the garden and become part of the painting or sit and relax in its tranquil setting.

Topiary - View of painter

This view matches the actual Seurat painting completed in topiaries.

   This garden has been showcased around the world in magazines, periodicals, books, and documentaries. Articles have been found in Life, National Geographic, and The Wall Street Journal.

Topiary - Lady with Monkey and Umbrella

This lady with her monkey is very popular with the children.

   The Topiary Garden Park, situated on seven acres, is open daily from dawn till dusk, and admission is free! Metered parking is just outside the fence. While the Topiary Park is only a couple of acres, the remainder of the area has many scattered picnic tables and benches where families gather.

   A Sunday afternoon spent at Topiary Garden Park is just as relaxing as a visit to The Island of La Grande Jatte. Enjoy the beauty of nature in downtown Columbus.

Topiary Park is located at 480 E. Town Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. There are parking meters just outside the main gate,

Ohio Sunday Springtime Drive

Sunday drives have been part of our family tradition since I was a child. Dad always loved to travel those back country roads to see what we could see. Today this gypsy is trying to carry on that tradition as often as possible.

Spring Salt Fork Lake 2   On a recent Sunday afternoon, my car headed out to one of my favorite spots for thinking and dreaming at Salt Fork Lake Dam. From there, it was a matter of luck where the next stops might be. Ride along and see what interesting places appeared along the way.

Spring Hillside   Along the way the trees were finally getting their leaves in that beautiful spring green with some colorful redbuds thrown into the mix to add a little color.

  Spring Plainfield flags     The small town of Plainfield made my heart swell as their main street was lined with the US flag. Houses and businesses all along the street had a flag in their front yard to show their support of our country.

Spring depot   Coming into Coshocton, I spotted an old depot no longer in use but a great reminder of how railroads were an important part of our past.

Spring Roscoe   A drive through Roscoe Village always gives pleasure. Today there were a few people out walking but not much traffic. The little shops along the way looked like they were lonesome for customers.

Spring Clary Gardens   Nearby Clary Gardens has not only a flower garden, but a hillside amphitheater for entertainment and weddings. There is also a lovely Quilt Barn on the premises.

Spring Basket   Down the road at Dresden, you can witness the largest basket in the world. This delightful, small town continues to make handwoven baskets at Dresden & Co.

Spring Whit's   Coming through Zanesville, a Whit’s custard ice cream cone called to me. The flavor of the month was Almond Joy, a delicious treat.

   Hope you enjoyed the ride!

“Chihuly: Celebrating Nature” at Franklin Park Conservatory

Chihuly Annie's Pond

“Anemones and Niijima Floats” can be found at Annie’s Koi Pond. Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

I want my work to appear like it came from nature. So that if someone found it on a beach or in the forest, they might think it belonged there.

~Dale Chihuly

Stunning glass artwork by Dale Chihuly is being featured at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus. The vibrant colors make this exhibition glow from within.

     Select pieces of Chihuly have been exhibited at Franklin Park since 2003 when they were honored to be the second botanical garden in the world to host an exhibition by Dale Chihuly. This time they are excited to be able to exhibit their full collection and several pieces on loan, the largest Chihuly collection in a botanical garden.

Chihuly Sunset Tower

“Sunset Chandelier” can be seen suspended in the Pacific Island Biome. Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

     These breathtaking pieces can be found in the Conservatory’s botanical gardens and courtyards. Most of his pieces are inspired and named for objects in nature. In the Pacific Island Water Garden, you can find that awesome Sunset Chandelier.

     Chihuly has been interested in glass since childhood walks on the beaches of Puget Sound where he found little pieces of broken bottles and Japanese floats. However, it wasn’t until he was a student at The University of Washington that he decided to weave some small pieces of glass into his tapestries.

Chihuly Lavender Reeds

“Neodymium Reeds & Green Grass” contain a rare lavender hue. Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

     A few years later, he melted some glass in an oven and blew his first glass bubble. At that moment, this artist decided to be a glassblower. Over the years he has experimented with many old and new techniques to create artistic creations beyond the normal bounds of function and beauty.

Chihuly Ceiling

“Persian Ceiling” contains hundreds of layered blown glass forms. Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

     This creator of unusual glass artwork still makes his home in Seattle where he and his wife, Leslie, take art to places that might not normally see it. They have formed the Leslie and Dale Chihuly Foundation which works with veterans, teenagers, and seniors. The foundation also gives grants each year to two Washington state innovative artists.

Chihuly Macchia

“Macchia” series is aglow with an unbelievable combination of colors. Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

     Glass is the most magical of all materials and is one of the few materials that light can pass through easily. Chihuly was attracted by the way even a small glass opening creates a beautiful object. Color doesn’t seem to matter as he said, “I’ve never met a color I didn’t like.”

     Since an auto accident in 1976 where he lost his left eye, Chihuly has not blown glass himself but oversees a team of skilled glassblowers. He likens himself to the director of a movie or an architect overseeing the project these days. But his mark is still left behind on the productions. Traditional glass factories create perfectly formed vessels while Chihuly lets the glass take its own shape, and irregularity is prevalent.

Chihuly Paintbrushes (2)

“Paintbrushes” is named for the Indian Paintbrush flower.  Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

     Because of interest in glasshouses, his exhibitions have found their way into many botanical garden settings around the world. This outstanding blown glass has been seen from Venice to Jerusalem and Montreal.

     From 1994 to 1996, the artist worked with glassblowers in Finland, Ireland, Mexico, and Italy to create “Chihuly Over Venice” – a series of fifteen Chandeliers which he hung over canals and in piazzas of Venice, one of his favorite cities.

Chihuly Venetian

“Venetian Vase” is overwhelmed by sprouting flowers. Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

     Four years later, his largest public exhibition, “Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem, 2000” was viewed by over a million visitors at the Tower of David Museum. His creations can be found in over two hundred museums around the world.

     Like many artists, when asked about plans for the future, his response is, “If I knew what was to be created next, I would already have done it.”

Chihuly Blue Garden Fiori

“Blue Garden Fiori” was inspired by his mother’s flower garden. Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

     He does encourage young artists to surround themselves with artists and see as much art as possible. “Create something that nobody has ever seen before.” That’s something that Chihuly has become an expert at doing.

     The full Chihuly: Celebrating Nature will be at Franklin Park Conservatory until March 29. Don’t miss this chance to see beautiful and unique glass creations that are sure to please and surprise you.

     “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in some way that they’ve never experienced.” ~Chihuly

Franklin Park Conservatory is in Columbus, Ohio at 1777 E. Broad Street. They have exciting things happening all year long. Pictures in this post were taken by Gypsy Bev and were then approved for publication by Dale Chihuly.

Billy Jacobs Art Gallery – Home to Country Folk Art

Billy relaxes in his gallery

Billy relaxed in his gallery as he talked about his journey.

A country boy at heart describes Billy Jacobs, a man with a great variety of creative skills. Today he is best known for his rural scene paintings, which can be found around the world and at his studio, Billy Jacobs Gallery, in Navarre, Ohio. (more…)

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