Each location on Sunday's Tiffin Historic Trust Garden Tour has unique points of interest other gardeners may want to incorporate into their own outdoor spaces. Three tour participants allowed The Advertiser-Tribune to visit their sites and give a preview of this year's stops.
Flowering perennials thrive behind a white picket fence in the back yard of Phyllis and Mike DeBusman on Ohio Avenue. River rocks and pieces of an old sidewalk have become walkways through the plantings, which include sage, daisies, phlox, loosestrife, hydrangia trees, feverfew, asters, cone flowers, iris and lamb's ear. Visitors will be able to see daylilies in every imaginable color.
"The daylilies are the backbone of the garden," Phyllis said.
Two whimsical scarecrows stand guard among the greenery, including a "shovel man" and a lady whose head is a plastic bucket with a cheerful painted face. A pot of ornamental grass forms her hair. Pieces of driftwood, mini wooden church and a few animal sculptures also inhabit the flower beds. Bright yellow black-eyed Susans re-seeded themselves in numerous spots, and Phyllis has allowed them to bloom in their preferred places.
Along the outside of the fence, which Mike crafted, are tomato and rhubarb plants and a crowd of giant zinnias. Near the house is a shade garden with hostas and other low-light plants. Guests also should take a peek into the charming potting shed.
Lynne and Kent Cartwright live in town on Elm Avenue, but they have created an outdoor refuge that seems far-removed from the city. When the couple moved into the house, the existing garden features were a concrete patio and a huge maple tree that shades much of the back yard and makes a lawn difficult to grow.
Lynne said she contacted Brian Bilger to create a design to include a fire pit and water feature. They added a split-rail fence extending from the garage to the back of the lot. Sentinel students constructed a storage shed and the Cartwrights purchased a small Amish-built structure to store firewood. The buildings serve to separate the yard from the rear alley. Opposite from the garage is a wood plank fence adorned with decorative bird houses and colored lights. A bicycle, pink screen door frame, wooden chairs and vintage farm implements have been turned into garden art.
An arbor over the patio serves as a good place for hanging planters. Lynne also has a collection of potted plants that spend the winter under lights in the basement and come outdoors for the summer. Some have been nurtured for several years. Her "pride and joy" is a bamboo rice plant, which is hardy enough to survive the winter outside. Also adding interest to the landscape are two shrimp plant trees and a moonbeam plant, which only blooms in the dark.
When Jean Anspach moved into her Tomb Street home, she planted an evergreen seedling near the back of her lot. That tiny shoot now towers above the garage. Just west of it is a vegetable plot that gets plenty of afternoon and evening sun. Several years ago, Anspach decided to add more flower beds and landscaping to her expansive open lawn. Anspach said she has received many garden-related Mother's Day gifts.
Two mature trees have been removed in recent years, letting in abundant sunshine. A long, narrow raised flower bed extends back from the rear of the house with two bird baths, bird houses and a variety of perennials and annuals. Animal sculptures of metal, ceramic and stone are nestled here and there among the plantings. A raised border lines the garage, and flower boxes have been added to its windows.
Potted hibiscus plants in many colors sit on the brick patio behind the house. If the weather is rainy, Anspach can take in the view from her large sunroom. The gardener also has a collection of solar gazing balls that are shiny by day and glowing by night.
The annual, self-guided Tiffin Garden Tour is 1-5 p.m. Sunday, featuring gardens at six private residences and two public buildings.