Bud ‘n Bloom Garden Club visits Japanese gardens

The Bud’n Bloom Garden Club visited two Japanese gardens during their September meeting. The well-established Japanese garden of Adrian and Gail Welka was the original inspiration for the creation of Joe and Sallie Muscato’s two-year-old garden.

The Welka home, situated on the shores of Lake Erie, is surrounded by trees and all types of greenery. Tall distressed pine, Norfolk plum, weeping cherry and Japanese maple trees are among the many trees shading the property.

Adrian Welka explained that the shale and clay soil found along the lake make gardening very difficult. At times a hatchet was needed to crack the thin stone surface. Drainage is also very difficult – but necessary because too much water sitting around the yard can rot the vegetation.

A small block patio with wicker furniture held pots of herbs for cooking and some Hens and Chicken succulents. A circle of “Turtle Rocks,” found in the lake area and dating back to about 350-390 million years ago formed a border around one of the many mulched beds of plants.

Proceeding to the rear of the home, a garden sign read, “Leave room in the garden for the angels to dance.” The home sits 12 feet above the beach with waves lapping onto the shore directly below the back yard.

Directly behind the home, in a corner of the yard a restful Japanese garden contained small gray gravel paths at different levels, large stacks of river rock, driftwood, metal pagoda lanterns, lava rocks, a tall colorful Oriental vase and plant accents. Grasses and Hydranga plants enhanced the rest of the property. More rocks and trees and a small lean-to shed graced the lawn.

Seventeen years ago a concrete retaining wall was built to prevent further erosion of the property and to save a large maple tree growing near the edge. After calling in a tree expert, measures were taken and the tree still stands there today even though weather conditions can be very destructive on the water’s edge.

Gail Welka gave a tour of her home. She designed hand-made quilts and showed some that she had stitched along with some designed by her grandmother, Mary Jakubowski. Her home contains a large collection of antiques and family heirlooms. Counted cross-stitch artwork and a floral-gazebo mural, designed by Peggy Kurtz, was shared and admired.

Next the group visited the Muscato home located on Linwood Drive. A wooden fence framed the property lined with a variety of plants such as hydranga, lilies, hostas, roses and geraniums.

Many artistic floral creations could be seen near the patio. Hanging baskets of begonias and added color to the space. Purple zinnias and assorted greens graced the table in a blue vase. A flower box with peach wax begonias, vinca vine, white mums and hair-like green grasses accented the patio window. A grape crate was filled with more mums and petunias. Red canna lilies bloomed on pots by the garage. Wind chimes and a butterfly lantern added a bit of whimsey. Sweet potato vines and mums filled a tall clay planter by the front door. A pineapple plaque welcomed the group into the home.

Chilled lemonade, ice water and several wines quenched the thirst of the ladies. Corn chips, nuts and dips were also furnished for snacking on the screened in porch at the back of the home. Huge clematis plants on trellises and a variegated green, white and pink Japanese willow afforded a bit of privacy on the covered porch.

Sallie led the group out the screen door to the back of the home to view her Japanese garden in the corner of the fenced in area.

In the center of the gray, pea-gravel covered garden rested a bulky, 3-foot tall, gray-stoned waterfall with water trickling down and circulating in whispers. A white reclining Buddha statue, huge boulders, a wooden bench for resting and a 3-foot tall stone pagoda anchored the garden. Japanese-style influence came from the Weeping Pine tied into place to encourage”weeping,” a tiger-eye sumac, an obedience plant and assorted grasses and ferns. Three potted Bonsai examples were placed upon three short wooden posts pounded into the ground with flat slices of varnished tree slices on top .

Returning to the screened in porch, the 17 members were served a Mexican-style dinner. One table held three colored vases in graduating heights with purple zinnias and feathery greens. On the other table hydranga branches were draped across the base of three crystal candlesticks.

President Sue Drag conducted a brief meeting. A future bus trip to a famous garden was discussed. A plant exchange was conducted. The next meeting will be held on Oct. 9 at 6:30 at the Brocton home of Judy Kawski. Master Gardener Janet Centner will be the speaker.