Gardener's Grapevine 2012.02.29

Written by David Green.

Art and I went to Toledo Sunday afternoon for lunch and a trip to the art museum. The museum had a show going on titled “Small Worlds.” It was not what either of us expected. We expected miniature little scenes made by one artist. It looked really interesting on television and we decided to give it a try. The idea the artist was going for, is that we don’t need a large world or living space to occupy, we can exist in very little space. We shouldn’t be using huge spaces as individuals and we don’t need lots of things.

The artist built a small travel trailer that had the necessities we actually need to exist all in a space measuring about 8x10 feet. I agree that we don’t need mansions, but please…I don’t want my commode in the shower either!

There is definitely a valid point in noting that we need less stuff, and less stuff leads to less space needed. This all got me thinking about small gardens.

You can have a garden in almost no space at all. Many people have container gardens that sit on tables or patios due to lack of ground to till and use. Many plants come in miniatures. One of my favorites are miniature hostas. They have some really cute names, too, like cat and mouse; mouse ears—which look like tiny mouse ears; and a yellow saw leaf miniature called dragon tales.

Not all nurseries carry the miniature hostas. In order to find a good variety I would recommend searching on-line mail order nurseries. Mail order nurseries not only show a nice picture of a mature plant, but usually ship just before planting time and send directions on where and how to plant. I like a lot of different sites, but for hard to find plants I like waysidegardens.com.

There are also some beautiful miniature roses, and I have found them to be a lot more hardy than my large ever bloomers or heritage roses. I am by no means an expert or master gardener, all my knowledge comes from trial and error, reading, or seminars. I do know that Japanese beetles leave miniature roses alone, but will strip a large traditional rose of everything but stems. I know this because I’ve experienced it. The miniatures must taste awful because they won’t touch them. Not much messes with the miniature hostas either, unless you put them in the sun. So, like the artist at the museum, you can have a little garden if you so desire.

I love a tomato plant on the back porch, where I can just grab a few tomatoes for a salad. I’m not sure I could function in an 8x10 living space, but I do know there wouldn’t be a chance of it working if a little outdoor space wasn’t included. To be honest, our recycling bins take up more space than the entire trailer.

If you get the chance to go see “Small Worlds” its free and worth the drive. There are four artists featured and all are good in their own ways. One actually makes little miniature artist studios of actual artists; another makes miniatures and photographs them to look life-size; and another drew pictures of small homes in the Toledo area, starting with homes in poverty stricken areas and progressing to working middle class homes. It was all well done. The museum always comes through with interesting programs that make us think outside the box as well as all around and through the box. It’s that way in the garden, too.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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