Sunday Drive … Shaker Village







It’s Sunday, August 2nd 2015…. a nice day for a drive in the county, and Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill is DSC07827csqxone pleasant destination: 3000 acres of getaway possibilities. The huge vegetable garden is a verdant green and ripe, there’s a craft show going on along the main village byway until 4:30,  the sisters are singing in the meeting house and cicadas are rattling in the fields.


Details are at Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill’s website. Click!

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Arts Council Garden Walkabout May 31… Mercer County Countryside

The Arts Council of Mercer County will launch its first garden art and landscape walkabout class at two exceptional Mercer County gardens on Sunday afternoon, May 31, at the farms of Allen and Rose Bush on Knox Lane and Mac Reed and Tay Breen’s Millwood Farm on Garriott Lane.
Both properties are on the Salt River just off VanArsdall Road in Mercer county and feature beautiful stone landscape materials as well as unusual perennials as well as annual plants and flowers. The class will begin at 1:30 on Knox Lane and move to nearby Millwood at 3 p.m.
Allen Bush, a representative of Jelitto, a German perennial seed company, is a world famous horticulturist who was the subject of a page and half story in The New York Times last July.
He and his wife, Rose Cooper Bush, were led to their land on Knox Lane a few years ago by their friends Reed and Breen, who are well-known central Kentucky landscape designers and owners of historic Millwood for more than twenty years. Locals will recall that Millwood was first restored by Eugenia Brewer, who was a driving force in the restoration of Shakertown at Pleasant Hill in the 1960s.
Cost of the class is $50 per person which includes garden walks and discussion at both properties. Reservations can be made at the Arts Council at email: or by calling (859) 613-0790.  For more information, see the Arts Council of Mercer County website… click here.

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Hickorylands Tour: Lake Cumberland MGA


Hickorylands LCMGATour 2015 Gary Photo 1The Lake Cumberland Master Gardener Association has scheduled its 11th  annual garden tour for Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 10 am to 4 pm. This year the tour will be a single property, The Gardens at Hickorylands estate in northern Pulaski County covering twenty acres of formal and informal gardens influenced by those found in Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, Hickorylands LCMGATour 2015 SueAnnSouth Carolina. Nine landscaped garden rooms feature antique statues, fountains, urns and a reconstructed cabin from Virginia and Garrard County dating backto the late 1700s.

Tickets are  at the Pulaski County Extension Office, 28 Parkway Drive and at Pine Cone Primitives, 409 Monticello Street in Somerset. Cost: $10 in advance and $12 the day of the tour. Call 606-679-6361 for more information.

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Down To Earth Plants

Down2EarthGCSaleEvery May, the Down to Earth Garden Club, a non-profit group, holds its annual plant sale community fundraiser. The plants are from the members’ own gardens, so they are knowledgeable about their characteristics and landscape potential. This event will be rain or shine, offering plants for shade or sun, Natives, Herbs, Fruits, Vegetables, Perennials, Wildflowers, Grasses, Hostas, Shrubs, Trees and Irises. Money raised will be donated to local projects that promote gardening, education, preservation, conservation and environmental stewardship, The 2015 sale will be May 9, 9 a.m. until noon at Woodland Christian Church, 530 E. High St. in Lexington, KY.

Click here for the Down To Earth Plant Sale web-site.

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Dutchman’s Breeches … Ants in Pants!

DSC06685xDutchman’s Breeches, aka Dicentra cucullaria, are ephemeral spring wildflowers that are blooming right now along embankments in the Bluegrass. They look like a racks of teensy, upside-down white pants, bloomers in rich woodlands. An interesting fact: seeds are spread by ants, a phenomenon known as myrmechory, which is Greek for ‘circular dance’.

For people, getting to know the wonders of wildflowers seems to go hand-in-hand with a desire to be good environmental stewards, provides exercise and fresh air experiences, and awakens artistic impulses. It’s our own ‘circular dance’. But the places where these flowers grow are becoming more and more rare every year.  How often have you seen Dutchman’s Breeches blooming, much less a hillside full of them?DSC06702x

One way to stay in touch with what’s happening with Kentucky wildflowers is to check out the Kentucky Native Plant Society. Click here for their website: KNPS. You’ll find activities, links to other groups and even a Facebook page where members post sightings and discoveries daily. An open house at Dropseed Native Plant Nursery in Goshen is also listed; scheduled 9-5 April 25, there will be speakers on building a bush honeysuckle trellis, butterfly garden design and considerations, and edible native plants. See DNPN.

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Taste of Edible Wild: a Three Hour Workshop

Biologist Dick Shore, who not only leads field study classes in plant identification but also presents a program in which he portrays John Muir (see feature article Muir/Shore) is offering a free three-hour Taste of Edible Wild workshop on April 26.
Shore sent the following details:
ShoreEdibleWildWHAT  “Taste of Edible Wild” a 3-hour workshop based on Peterson’s Field Guide to the Wild Edible.

WHERE  McConnell Springs park, off Manchester Road, Lexington KY. Meet  in the roofed-over pavilion immediately beside the parking area

WHEN Sunday April 26, 1:30 – 4:35 pm
WHY    To introduce adults and families with children 6 and older to wild edibles, briefly and safely.
ABOUT  Adults and families will learn “Poison Proofing”, to protect themselves from poisonous plants, even before learning to identify them.  They will learn some guidelines for being in wild areas, in order to protect us from the plants and protect the plants from us.  This includes getting a “green card” with icons to recall these guidelines. They will begin to use Peterson’s Field Guide to find and identify plants.
SPONSORSHIP  Jointly by Sierra Club Bluegrass Group and  Second Presbyterian Church
Free and Open to the Public.  Reservation strongly encouraged so as to have materials.  Reservation by email : subject line “PEP 1-day”.
Books may be ordered at Morris Books by 17 April for pickup April 25th.


BGT Antiques and Garden Show … a Snowmelter



Feel like your winter hibernation must end NOW? A couple opportunities for lovers of beautiful home decor and garden goodies are happening in Lexington.  Never fear… roads are plowed and sidewalks shoveled to these indoor venues that will boost your trust that spring is just around the corner:

The Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation’s Antiques and Garden Show  is going on at the Kentucky Horse Park today, Sunday March 9 DSC06508x2015, from noon until 5 p.m., in the Alltech Arena.  This is the 30th year the show has been presented. The daily admission is $15 per person. That fee covers not only 80 of the highest quality exhibitors of garden goods and landscape designers, as well as furniture, art prints, jewelry, silver, carpets and more. Two lectures are also included:

* 1:00 pm: Dr. James Birchfield,  former curator of rare books at the University of Kentucky: “Porter Clay: A Very Excellent Cabinetmaker.”

*3:00 pm:  L. R. “Larry” Isenhour, architect: “Building a Modern Lexington: The Houses of Richard L.B. Isenhour.”  He’ll also sign books.

Photo notes: Left: A sundial ornamented by a bird-shaped gnomon, is offered by Tony Piehowicz of Garden Stone Art in  Granville, Ohio, bears provenance from England, in the late 1800s. Right: Richard Weber of Springhouse Gardens, wears a halo of hot magenta magnolia blossoms. The newly offered ‘Felix Jury’ tree grows only to about 15 feet tall, and bears enormous foot-wide blossoms before leaves emerge in the spring.


Another venue is the amazing Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2015 sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, which is happening downtown at the Civic Center convention hall from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 per person; ages 15 and under free. The Market is one of the only state-sponsored shows of its kind to showcase traditional and contemporary fine art and craft along with Kentucky-related books, musical recordings, films and specialty food products. There are over 200 exhibitors of quite gorgeous and affordable art and craft items, along with ongoing live music and hands-on activities.


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Evolution of a Plantsman’s Garden: Garden Lecture 2.11.15

Brought to you by: Friends of the Arboretum

Speaker: ANDREW BUNTING, Curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College


Wednesday, February 11, 2015 7 P.M.
Andrew Bunting is the curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College where he has worked for the last 25 years. He also owns a design/build garden company, Fine Garden Creations, which is in its 21st year. Andrew was also the curator at the Chanticleer Foundation in Wayne, PA.

His home garden, Belvidere, has been featured in This Old House magazine and the Wall Street Journal. He has written over 100 articles for the American Gardener, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Public Garden and Arnoldia. He is a passionate gardener and avid birder and traveler.
Location: Gluck Equine Research Center
University of Kentucky Campus
1400 Nicholasville Road (corner of Farm Road)
Lexington, KY

Admission: General Public $5.00
FREE for Arboretum Friends & Students with ID
Pay at the door — Pre-registration not required

Inquiries: The Arboretum 859-257-6955

Porch Hopping in Harrodsburg: James Harrod Trust Style, Saturday June 14

JamesHarrodTrustPorchTour2014aHarrodsburg’s  James Harrod Trust has organized A Walk in Time, an innovative  tour through the porches of historic homes along North College Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 14.  Tours will begin at a home recently purchased by the Trust — Pawling House, 223 W. Factory St.

The guided group tours will include visits to 14 porches where the guide will share the history of the homes, many of which are antebellum. Home owners also will be available for questions.

“Harrodsburg is so rich in history and the homes we will visit are some examples of the wonderful treasures we have in our community,” said Helen Dedman, chairman of the James Harrod Trust. “This is a great opportunity to learn more of the history and hear some stories about the homes and their previous owners during a casual stroll along one of Harrodsburg’s most beautiful streets. It is also almost a throwback to a past era when people visited one another on the front porch.”

The tour will be held rain or shine. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased at the Pawling House. All proceeds from the tour will go toward restoration of the house.

The Trust took ownership of the house at the corner of College and Factory Street last September. Since then the Trust has focused its efforts on stabilizing the Pawling House and preserving it for future restoration. The brick house has been a fixture in Harrodsburg for nearly 200 years. It was constructed in the original town plat sometime before 1828 for the William Pawling family. The Pawlings were a pioneer family in Kentucky.

For additional information about the tour, call Dedman at 859-734-3381.

Click here for the James Harrod Trust Web-site.

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Book Look: Paradise in Plain Sight by Karen Maezen Miller

ParadisePlainSightParadise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden by Karen Maezen Miller. New World Library, 192 pp, $15.95 

Karen Maezen Miller, a Zen Buddhist priest at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles, bought a house surrounded by a neglected, century-old Zen garden when she and her husband moved to California in 1997.  Working through lessons in gardening and Zen thought, she ties together threads of meaning and awareness in this memoir of the years spent restoring and tending her paradise.  Have a look at this video to find a glimpse of life in the garden: Paradise in Plain Sight

Miller eloquently describes a realization with which many gardeners can identify, writing:

I began to garden.  I got scratched, tired, and dirty. I broke my fingernails and ruined my shoes.  I yanked out what I could have kept and put in more of what I didn’t need.  I pouted and wept, cursing the enormity of the task.  I was resentful and unappreciative.  But when I ventured afield, sidelined by things that seemed much more entertaining or important, I always came back to this patch of patient earth.  Time after time, I realized that everything I want or need – the living truth of life, love, beauty,  purpose, and peace – is taught to me right here, no farther away than the ground beneath my feet.


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