Published at PO Box 96 124 W. St. Clair Romeo, MI 48065. Phone: (586)752-3524 Fax: (586)752-0548
Updated Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 07/11/12
Above, the patio and other flowerbeds in the Scribner garden. Susan Scribner said she has worked on the garden ever since she and her husband moved to their home five years ago. A mixture of bushes, perennials, annuals and new trees decorate the landscape. Below top, the Vanophem garden features a wide variety of flowers, including tropical plants like the Dutchman's pipe and angel's trumpets that are rarely grown in Michigan. The garden also has a pool, brook and Japanese koi pond. Below bottom, the spacious atmosphere of the VanOphem garden is made by splitting the backyard into a number of "outdoor rooms" using plantings of arborvitaes and shrubs. The garden is the result of 30 years of work.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
16th Garden Walk
features nine locations
Garden columnist to speak during event
by CHRIS GRAYWhen stepping into the garden at the Vanophem residence, one might mistakenly believe they were teleported to a tropical jungle.
Observer Staff Writer
Plants rarely grown in Michigan, such as angel's trumpets or Dutchman's pipe, are found amongst a garden full of perennials, annuals, hibiscus trees and a babbling stream that leads to a koi pond.
The hidden paradise's caretaker, Nancy VanOphem said she uses local nurseries for her flowers, but the secret to growing tropical plants is erecting a greenhouse in the backyard with the help of her four children.
"I think we are all getting a little tired of doing it, but we all know our jobs and the reward is we have a nice party place all summer long for everybody," she said.
Experience this and eight other local gardens during the 16th Annual Garden Walk, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 14. The event is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Romeo District Library.
Rosemary Kern, the event chairperson, said the wide variety of gardens on this year's walk are sure to inspire those that are strolling through them.
"The people that have them are so into the gardening and are fun to be with," she said.
The event works by giving ticketholders a map to drive to each location at their own pace instead of being lumped together in groups.
"If you have 40 people in a garden, no matter what the size is, you're not strolling through it," Kern said.
One such location is VanOphem's garden, which is on roughly .25 acres. She said the garden has been a labor of love for 30 years, and was inspired from helping her grandmother with her garden while growing up.
"It's much more pleasurable to grow flowers and to buy the vegetables from our truck farmers from around the area," she said. "I think I have a token tomato plant."
Other growers like a blend of vegetables and flowers, such as Susan and Paul Scribner. They are showcasing their own haven for the first time, which is the result of five years of work inspired by Susan's grandmother having a garden.
The garden includes the recent addition of three sections of flowers and trees as well as a raised bed vegetable garden.
"It's something that's doable," Susan said. "If I can do it, anybody can do it."
She said she enjoys planting varieties like cat mint, bee balm and joe-pye weed to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, while her "bog garden" includes grasses, hostas and daylilies.
"Every day I'm out here," Susan said. "I love it, I call it my Shangri-La, my peaceful place."
Other gardens on this year's walk include:
• The Bara garden, with perennials, annuals and herbs surrounded by blue spruces, firs and maple trees.
• The Hambleton garden, a National Wildlife Federation certified space with various trees and plants that attract numerous species of birds.
• The Hupfel garden, a walk-through garden featuring roses, shrubs, trees, a barn and a spring-fed pond.
• The Leonard garden, which includes more than 150 varieties of hostas and a sitting area with a fountain.
• The Rea garden, a 34-foot by 34-foot vegetable garden that can even grow lettuce in March.
• The Tapper garden, a 3-acre lot with Japanese and European influences, including multiple ponds and statues.
• The Douglas House, a historic building and garden area in downtown Romeo that is home to the Chamber of Commerce.
Nancy Szerlag, a garden columnist for the Detroit News Home Style section and author of gardening books, will speak on gardening from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Graubner Library the day of the event.
Master gardeners will be on hand at the gardens to provide tips to novice and veteran green thumbs, while plein air artists will be working on location.
Those seeking additional knowledge can peruse the used book sale held at the Tapper garden.
Proceeds from the ticket sales directly support library programs and services through the Friends of the Romeo District Library. The non-profit group promotes and supports the local libraries that provide services to the Village of Romeo and Bruce and Washington townships.
Tickets are on sale for $10 at the Graubner Library, the Kezar Library and at Kane's Town Hall Antiques. Tickets are $12 the day of the event.
Call (586) 752-0603 or visit www.romeodistrictlibrary.org/friends for more information.