Goshen News, Goshen, IN

June 14, 2013

The Dirt On Gardening: Annual DeFries Garden art show was an image of beauty


— The Annual Juried Art Show last Saturday at the DeFries Gardens River Preserve County Park on C.R. 46 was indeed an adventure in wonderland.

This was the fourth annual art show that is always well attended by art enthusiasts, as well as gardeners and lovers of the nature and beauty that this development and endowment has produced.

Landscape designer Jon Cutrell designed and continues to maintain the “Calendar Garden” that is a 365-foot brick path around a formal garden. Each brick of the path is stamped with the corresponding date to represent each day of the year. Flowers, shrubs and trees representing a particular blooming period for that time of year will enthrall you as you progress around the circle.

The central part of the formal design is a pond. Its surface is covered with water lilies — many in full bloom — and even a Lotus or two.

I remember Mrs. (Elisabeth) DeFries as she was a regular at the Everett’s Garden Center and always on the lookout for a particular flower or plant or, for that matter, anything new. She was a pleasant and somewhat quiet individual, but very knowledgeable. She knew her plants. I respected her for her interest in plants, as well as her demeanor.

My interest in art, as well as flowers and every aspect of gardening, always takes me to this event. But if not for a friend’s phone call, I nearly missed it this year — thanks, Donna. I think maybe I have too many irons in the fire with my five jobs and publishing a book too. I like to be busy, but aren’t you supposed to be retired at my age (nearing 81).

I took many beautiful pictures while at the DeFries Garden and I wish I could post them all, but space limits me unfortunately.

Hibiscus is currently in bloom and there were several that were in pristine condition. So, I got a number of shots of various colors — yellow, peach and red of the Asiatic variety.

Urns throughout the gardens were in full bloom with annuals of many kinds with good choices for inclusions, striking contrasts of color.

I didn’t have a chance to speak with Jon  because everyone was bending his ear. I would like to have known what some of the more unusual plants and shrubs were. Some I don’t recall ever seeing before. I just enjoyed being there taking picture after picture.

The artwork on display was also a delight. I can never get enough of it. It has been more than 40 years since I touched a brush, but seeing great art at various shows throughout the area makes me want to pick up a brush again. My old case of brushes and oils are probably all dried out and require all fresh and new oils again. I’ll have to give it some thought.