'Secret' tour features seven gardens PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN, Sentinel Garden Editor   
Thursday, 19 June 2014 08:53
A garden tended by Sheila Kratzer of Bowling Green is seen beyond wooden gates. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
We're disclosing a secret today - but it's fine with the organizers. The Bowling Green State University Women is holding its "Secret Garden" tour June 29, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Seven different city homes will be featured. The secret is that much of the beauty of these gardens is tucked away, often out of view from the street.
Tickets, priced at $5 are on sale at Grounds for Thought and Calico, Sage & Thyme. They will also be available at each of the seven homes on the day of the tour.
The organization will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to its scholarship fund.
Jo Ascunce, a tour committee member, said the seven gardens were selected to provide a variety of features and garden aspects.
Years ago when the organization held previous tours, there were 15 gardens on the tour and the "tourists" felt rushed to make it to all of them. So this year, there are only seven, but  the committee is excited about each of them.
"We (the committee) hope that with a smaller group of gardens, people would perhaps linger a little more at each garden," Ascunce said.
The Sentinel-Tribune was given a preview of one of the gardens.
Sheila Kratzer showed off her garden which the master gardener tends with her husband, Doug. The primary feature of the home is a mammoth White Willow tree which nearly fills one side of the backyard.
Kratzer said it was formerly listed on the Ohio Big Tree list as the largest of its kind in the state. However, a few of its limbs have been lost due to storms and it has been replaced on the list due to the loss of some of its canopy which, at its peak, was 110 feet across.
Flowers grow around an arbor leading to a garden tended by Sheila Kratzer of Bowling Green.
List or not, the tree is massive with its trunk measuring more than 27 feet in circumference and standing more than 100-feet tall. By itself the tree would be worth the visit to the garden; however, there are a lot more things to see at the Kratzer home.
They moved into the home in 1996, and Kratzer said she started working on the garden in 1997. One of the first things was a three-year project of personally installing pavers with 22 pallets of pavers adorning their driveway when the project began.
She has a preference for spring flowers, so the tour will be held too late in the season to see all her spring bulbs, ephemeral and woodland flowers.
Guest will enter through the gates and arbor into what is named "Willow Way Garden." The arbor was constructed from former railings from the Wood County Historical Museum.
Kratzer's love of hostas showcases what she calls a "serene and relaxing setting." The koi pond, which is Doug Kratzer's pride, is prominently visible from the deck. Other areas of the yard have water and statue features.
The other "secret gardens" are as follows (descriptions supplied by the committee, including Ascunce, Phyllis Hartwell and Karen Johnson):
• Jeffrey and Rebecca Cullen, 1242 Conneaut Ave. This garden includes a water garden with a beach for the birds, as well as many feeders for a variety of birds. Another feature expected to be ready for the tour is a livestock watering tank planted with an Oak Openings specialty garden.
A past winner in the Beautiful BG contest, the yard has been named as a certified wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation and in 2013 was certified as a Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch.
• Boyd Crawford, 1052 Lindewood Lane. The deck at his home provides an excellent view of Simpson Garden Park and there is a pond right behind his property. While there, it is just a close walk to the Healing Garden in Simpson Garden which abuts this property and was donated by the Wood County Hospital and the Crawford family and friends.  
• Milton and Lee Hakel, 1435 Cedar Lane. This garden features numerous pots and planters and is accented with quite a bit of art and sculpture items, including a distinctive glass sculpture.
• Phil and Joan Hollenbaugh, 1107 Napoleon Road. On this property there is also a lot of garden art, copper flowers and a small backyard with lots to look at, including a hand-crafted koi pond. The garden features mostly perennials, including more than 80 hostas and more than 30 daylillies.
• Clark and Jo Anne Searle, 842 Pine Valley Dr. An interesting feature in this garden is the combination of usual and unusual flowers and how they complement each other. The garden art adds just the right touch.  A tiny shade garden introduces the front entrance to the home.
• Matthew and Heidi Reger, 540 W. Wooster St. The homeowners say the most distinctive feature is the 50 by 80-foot pond and waterfall accented by the garden which surrounds the waterfall. There is also a wrought iron fence with brick pillars which was originally located at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 09:41

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