Gardening Tools

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“In the beginning, our plant exchange was really small,” says Elkhart County Park Department Chief Naturalist, Jerry Good. “But, it’s been growing. This will be our fifth year.”

Yesterday, DH and I traded plants with more than 60 friends and neighbors. The sun was out. We met new people. We took home a Rose of Sharon, a tea plant and yellow irises. I petted a baby raccoon.

It was a perfect day.

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One man’s excess might be another man’s garden centerpiece.

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Queen patiently waits while her family trades plants and tours the gardens.

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Steve Ganglo, DeFries Garden Park Caretaker, with orphan, Coonie.

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Who could resist that face? Coonie is being raised on half ‘n half and baby formula.

THE CALENDAR GARDEN

Designed by Jon Curtell, DeFries Calendar Garden has a section for each season. It is further divided by months. Every month features  grasses, bushes, plants and flowers at their peak. Native Indiana plants are on the outside of the garden. Horicultural displays are toward the inside.

 
Pathways representing four lunar equinoxes, form a compass leading to a pond in the middle of the Calendar Garden.

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The pond with it’s water lilies is the garden focal point. There are goldfish and bluegill, too. The bluegill were added because the park department wanted native Indiana fish. Nobody considered size. As a result, the number of goldfish is dropping.

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A patch of green amidst pink lily pads.

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Every month has a lunar marker featuring a distinct moon phase.

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One of the seasonal sections.

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May is in full bloom.

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The back entrance to the house Beth DeFries built and donated to the Elkhart County Park Department. Steve Ganglo, park caretaker and his wife Linda live here now.

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Benefactor Beth DeFries, an amateur botanist interested in preserving Northern Indiana’s native plants, donated her land and house to Elkhart County’s Park Department.

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dsc00125.jpg   When DH’s grandfather came to the United States from Holland in 1915, he brought his favorite gardening tools including his Dutch hoe.

Descended from a long line of gardeners and landscapers, DH’s grandfather went to work for the Lozier estate in Rochester, NY in 1925 as a chauffer, gardener, landscaper and handyman. He lived in an old 1860’s firehouse with the bottom half converted into a garage/garden storage area and the upper level into living quarters.

One of his responsibilities was keeping the Lozier house’s vases full of flowers from the garden. DH’s grandfather’s floral arrangements usually featured gladiolas. They were his favorite flowers.

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DH’s grandfather and grandmother at the Lozier estate

dsc00124.jpg   DH’s Dutch Hoe

A Dutch hoe is also known as a scuffle hoe. It works by pushing rather than pulling. The head is angled to rest on the ground while cutting on the push stroke. It is rugged enough to chop out small roots and dig out stones while allowing the gardener to slide the head into tight spaces without damaging plant roots.