Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The covered bridges of Union County, Ohio

Here are a few photos of the covered bridges of Union County, Ohio. We had a day to ourselves and decided to tour the countryside after finding a brochure at our motel on these covered bridges in a nearby county.

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It took us a while to get our bearings and we quickly learned that a GPS is not very helpful for locating bridges. We stopped at a service station to ask for directions and I could not help but notice that they had a fantastic deli with great looking sandwiches and pizza. We got directions from a very helpful lady, got some sandwiches and headed toward the first bridge, which was just a few miles away. We had a picnic in the back of the car.


The bridges were all built in the late 1800s with the exception of a few. All were marked with plaques that explained the history and cost of the bridge and information about the men who built them.


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I wondered why bridges were covered in the first place? I thought maybe it was to keep horses from being frightened about stepping across a platform over open water. Michael thought that maybe they served as protection for travelers in the case of storms or rain. Well, it turns out we were both wrong. According to an Internet search, the answer is obvious and simple - covering the bridges protected them from rotting. An uncovered bridge might last about ten years whereas a covered one can last for centuries.

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The "Big Darby Creek" bridge (below) was built in 2006 and was the largest of all of them. I don't know why a new covered bridge was built - it would be interesting the know the story behind it.

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Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Sunday, September 21, 2014

More from Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens



The Franklin Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio was well worth the drive from Marysville (about 30 minutes). It was an overcast day with mild temperatures - perfect for a garden visit. Although the conservatories were awesome (see my previous post), the outdoor gardens were lovely as well. I saw workers everywhere tending to stunning displays. The above photo shows a raised bed near the front entrance which contained a striking agave ("Whale's Tongue"??), ornamental grasses and coneflower.

Ornamental grasses and lantana -



There was a lot of coleus used throughout the gardens. In the front entrance garden, a spectacular ribbon of coleus is used as an edging.



More coleus surrounding a palm in a container -




A dramatic display near the front entrance. I cannot think of the dark burgundy plant - can someone identify it please?



A red ribbon memorial to AIDS victims made of begonias along the driveway entry -

 

Japanese anemone and rudbeckia in borders below the conservatories -

 
The borders also held Goldenrod (Solidago), ornamental grasses and that mystery burgundy plant. It was growing several places throughout the gardens.



 
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) and Sedum can also be seen in this border -

 
More goldenrod -



I grow Lespedeza (bush clover) in our garden but it not as stunning as this one because of our shade.

 
Hot colors dominated the outdoor displays.



The centerpiece in the perennial gardens was a dramatic sculpture.


 

Sedum was another popular plant in Ohio - I saw throughout this garden as well as in a lot of private gardens.



One of the prettiest displays of Beautyberry (Callicarpa) that I have ever seen. This was actually on an outdoor terrace outside of one of the conservatories.




Another terrace outside the conservatory -




The Bride's Garden - a beautiful spot for a small wedding.



Seven Sons Tree (Heptacodium miconioides) -

 

As we were leaving the gardens, I noticed a small test garden off to the side. I could not find a label for this paniculata hydrangea - it may be "Pinky Winky" or "Vanilla Strawberry".

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Friday, September 19, 2014

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens - Chihuly Exhibit


We visited Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio on an overcast and cool day, absolutely perfect weather for visiting a botanical garden. The conservatories were outstanding and really more spectacular than the gardens themselves. A Chihuly exhibit was taking place and the pieces were breathtaking. 

Some of the pieces pictured here may not be Chihuly and if that is the case, I apologize. I have more photos of the gardens that I will share in my next post.



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Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A trip to Ohio - Schiller Park, Columbus


We just got back from a 4-day trip to Ohio. The purpose of the trip was to take a friend of ours back to her hometown, Marysville, to reconnect with siblings that she had not seen in over 15 years. We offered to drive her there and it was a nice, relaxing mini-vacation. The weather was fantastic. A cold front had just passed through and the temperatures hovered in the lower 70s. 

The drive through Cincinatti was hair-raising (we hit it at noon rush-hour) but the remainder of the route took us through quaint towns with beautiful architecture and serene countryside. I have never seen so many corn fields in my life! 

We stayed in Marysville but drove to Columbus, about 20 miles away, on our first full day. We visited the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (photos to come!) and walked through the German Village. We enjoyed some spectacular ice cream at Jeni's Spendid Ice Cream

The German Village consists of restaurants, shops, parks and gardens. We didn't really know where we were going but I was happy to locate one of the best known gardens - Schiller Park. It is named after the German poet Friederich von Schiller and an impressive statue of him faces a long promenade that surrounds a perennial border.
famous German poet, Friedrich von Schiller. An impressive statue of Schiller decorates the center of the park. - See more at: http://www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/Schiller-Park/#sthash.OxUXyrhC.dpuf
famous German poet, Friedrich von Schiller. An impressive statue of Schiller decorates the center of the park. - See more at: http://www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/Schiller-Park/#sthash.OxUXyrhC.dpuf
famous German poet, Friedrich von Schiller. An impressive statue of Schiller decorates the center of the park. - See more at: http://www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/Schiller-Park/#sthash.OxUXyrhC.dpuf


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Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy