Bud ‘n Bloom visits Laurie Ensign’s Dunkirk garden

The Bud ‘n Bloom Garden Club visited a two-year-old Dunkirk garden owned by Laurie Ensign. From the street, large barrels of assorted annuals welcomed the 17 club members to the garden.

Ensign created a large, curving, asymmetrical garden of flowering perennials and annuals which extends from Central Avenue to the parking area located behind the brick home.

Ensign first cleared the heavy underbrush beneath the tall Mountain Ash and pine trees that were left to afford partial shade for the garden.

A wide variety of garden decor, hanging baskets of annuals, colorful gazing balls and huge boulders add interest, contrast and whimsey to the enchanting gardens.

White cone flowers, red monarda, purple bee balm and foot white oriental lilies were perennial stand-outs.

Purple and pink fushias, yellow and pink trailing petunias and red mandevilla plants spilled over hanging pots supported by gardening hooks of different heights.

Clematis plants crawled up trees and metal supports to add to vertical interest in the garden.

All the landscaping surrounding the residence had been replaced when the home was purchased three years prior. Ensign shared her plans to clear and plant the sloped land behind the parking area, extending her gardens to the creek below. About 20 yards of dark mulch had been wheelbarrowed in each year to provide a thick base for the flower beds to discourage weeds from growing and to retain moisture for the plants to grow quickly.

As the guests circled the home, many interesting areas were noted. One area by the patio had a tree with wide, sprawling branches hanging close to the ground. Tucked in among the hostas was a log covered with hens and chicken succulents and a beautiful ceramic young girl positioned on a bench in the shade.

Near the garden shed a fountain flowed and flower boxes held trailing lime green and purple sweet potato vines.

Ensign generously gave the club members two huge containers of Canna Lily bulbs to share. This particular canna lily variety will boast large green, veined leaves and huge, bright red, tropical-looking blooms this fall.

The tour ended just as a powerful rain storm showered the area. Instead of a picnic at Point Gratiot, the group traveled to the home of Karen and John Ryder in Fredonia.

Lime green ladies mantle, white shasta daisies, golden rudbeckia, old-fashioned roses and pink coneflowers highlighted the Ryder flower gardens. A 7-foot fence enclosed the bountiful vegetable garden at the rear of the property below steps covered with succulents and covered with a rose arbor.

Ryder’s gardening creations included: a colorful, succulent wreath decorating the patio table, a hypertufa flower pot and a leaf-shaped bird bath to create interest, a fountain spraying water in a bed of Florida sea shells near the steps leading into the Victorian home. and a petite arrangement of daisies and lady’s mantle created in an old-fashioned meat grinder attached to the side board.

Ryder served a dinner of assorted pocket sandwiches, cheeses, fruits and homemade peach and red raspberry pie, with fresh-squeezed lemonade and tea and coffee.

The dining tables were covered with linen table cloths and decorated with a line of clear bud vases filled with sprigs of babies’ breath.

President Susan Drag conducted a brief meeting. Drag and Kathy Litz assisted the Ryders.

The next meeting will be a visit to Nass’s Daylily Nursery in Westfield on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Penny Deakin will be the hostess.