The Garden I Have Made

Viburnum and Redbud flowers

Ilona’s Actual Garden

Located in the Central part of the state on what was originally wet tallgrass prairie.

This landscape is so flat I’ve named it “Flat-iron Acres”. The soil is predominately a dark gray Kokomo soil, which is a rich loamy clay. It is perfect for growing grass, not so much for trees, but I grow trees anyway.

Wet in spring, dry with drought in late summer, and always windblown. The winters can be quite cold, usually with little snow cover.

For acres and acres, trees are gone from the landscape to make way for corn and soybean fields. The general taste is for neatly kept farmhouses, but suburbia is creeping out, even here.

the brown landscape

The brown landscape after harvest, in November is the time to look at the essence of a garden.


In the midst of this I have made my garden, and it has molded me in many ways, as well.

This Place

Rural in situation, the winds sweep over long expanses of field where the farmers usually grow corn and soybeans, but sometimes wheat, or alfalfa hay. Vegetables are in private plots, traditionally attached to the front of the property, near the house in this Amish Mennonite settled area. I adhere to the city style I grew up with: my vegetables grow to the back of the house.


It is very dry during the latter part of the summer, and often stays wet in the early spring (despite the diligent farmers putting in miles of drainage tiles, grassed swales, and deep ditches).

The soils are neutral, but something makes the land alkaline enough that acid loving plants don’t do well here.

My Grand Idea

My country garden,by the pond

My country garden

I started out with a grand idea of having an English garden, and for a number of years was successful in producing that lushly gardened look.

Time and Energy

After the ravages of time, climate, and my own waning powers to put in the work, this garden is maturing and changing, just like me. The perennial spaces are limited, the shrubs and trees have grown and filled in, and the groundcovers have, well, …covered quite a bit of ground!

What remains the same is that my choices for fragrance continue to sweeten the air and rejoice my heart. Hummingbirds and butterflies visit, and birds that like mixed planting areas are part of what makes me love this garden; they are greatly encouraged.

The Emphasis Now

I still like to collect plants, and have renewed my interest in the vegetable portion of the garden. If you would like gardening tips, design ideas, and the resulting experience of my Ohio garden, come right into the pages, we can converse on twitter or the facebook page, although if I’m out in the garden I might be a little slow to notice and answer- just poke me again! I decided against comments here, but the garden journal is the place I always check for conversations and try to respond to those kind enough to leave their comments.

Views Of My Garden Through The Years

Gardens continually change. Many of my former views or plants are no longer here, or have changed considerably. Photos bring the best of years and accomplishments to mind.


In the site I try as much as possible to use my own garden and plants as illustration. Sometimes the pictures were taken in parks and botanical gardens, etc. to give my readers a feel for how gardens in Ohio may look and grow. I love that I have these photos, because gardens change over time, and it is wonderful to capture special plants or when the garden looked especially nice.