Archive for Gardens

How Green is My Valley: A My Town Monday Post

Mandala Garden of Debra Bureso fElements Gallery, Peninsula, OH. The weather has been good to the gardens in my valley, and Garden Henge has also enjoyed the blessings of Spring.  The intense rains earlier this week and the warm temperatures have encouraged the plants and seeds to flourish. Each day is an adventure. I love going out there and seeing what has changed.  I have brought a chair out to the garden, and I enjoy my morning cup of tea or coffee in the solitude of  the space. Butterflies and insects abound and the majesty of Mother Nature is evident every way I look.  Seedlings are emerging from the rich soil, reaching for the light.

We are already enjoying lettuce, peas and onions from the gardens. Here’s a look at what else is growing.

Celery and broccoli

Bures' mandala garden

Mandala garden of Debra and Stephen Bures

Pansies and chard in Debra and Stephen Bures' mandala garden.

Travis Erwin, My Town Mondays intrepid host, will be glad to know that the rains have also brought out lots of slugs. I think that they would qualify as meat.  Wander on over to Travis’ place, and you will find links to other folks’ towns all over this fine planet.

Comments (7)

My Town Monday: Garden Henge

Debra and Stephen Bures' mandala garden, using permaculture methodsWe’ve gardened for some time here in our valley, but this year we decided to expand our garden, and our minds.  I’ve spent the last few years exploring permaculture. defines it :


[pur-muh-kuhl-cher] –noun

a system of cultivation intended to maintain permanent agriculture or horticulture by relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem.

We decided on a mandala shaped garden for the new bed for several reasons: there is certainly more square footage with this method but mainly it is  beautiful. Nature does not grow things in straight rows. It is also a no-till method so the soil structure is maintained.  We started by mowing the area and then put down a thick layer of newspapers to kill the sod.  We layered different kinds or organic matter: leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, and manure. Then we planted.   The soil is amazingly friable! We never walk on it so it isn’t compacted. Weeds can be pulled out with ease.   We planted a variety of vegetables an flowers to create a diverse environment.  Our goal is to grow as much of out own food as possible, as well as food for my in-laws, and for a food pantry.

Here are some photos of the work in progress.  I’ll keep you posted so you can see how it grows.Garden Henge and the barn.

Garden Henge is planted.

diversity in the garden

Cloudy and Winston were happy to join us in this beautiful place.

Cloudy in the grass

Happy Winston.


Travis Erwin is the main MTM Marauder. Take a walk on over to his place and you will find links to blogs all over this blue planet.

Comments (14)

Stroll into Spring: A My Town Monday Post.

The fairy garden behind Debra & Stephen Bures' Elements Gallery in Peninsula, OH.

It was a busy weekend in the Village of Peninsula, nestled in the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley. It was a time for discovery and adventure as the yearly Spring Stroll welcomed the new season to the Valley.

The population soared as families came to the Village to share in the magical adventures of the season. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway brought Thomas the Tank Engine to the Valley again this year.

Fairy houses and gardens were all over the Village.  Ronda from the Downtown Emporium created a map, and fairy lovers of all ages looked to see if they could answer all the questions: how many fairies live here?  can you find the octopus?  what is the name of the fairy house?

Imagine yourself discovering some of these magical dwellings. Look carefully; you might just see a sprite.

Fairy House at Diane Seske's Log Cabin Gallery.

Fairy Garden at the Bronson Chapel.

Fairies of the sea at the Downtown Emporiium.

Fairies read books ouisude the Peninsula Library.

Fairies rest on the steps of the Cuyahoga Valley Museum.

Fairy Garden at the Bronson Chapel.

Fairy Garden outside the Bronson Chapel.

Fairy Garden at Diane Seskes' Log Cabin Gallery.

Fairy House at the Peninsula Art Academy

Seagoing fairies at the Downtown Emporium.

Peggy Jo's fairy house at the Downtown Emporium.

Peggy Jo's fairy house at the Downtown Emporium.

Fairy house at Cuyahoga Valley Nat'l Park Association's Park Place store.

Come back on Wednesday and you’ll see more photos of the fairy dwellings behind our studio and gallery.


Take a moment to realize that in the United States, Memorial Day is more than a 3 day weekend.  To read more, hop on over to Travis Erwin’s.  He  is the guy who is the MTM chief cook and bottle washer. He always has something interesting to say, and also posts links to other bloggers who write about their towns.

Comments (12)

The Fairies Are Coming!

Comments (10)

My Town Monday: Fall in Peninsula, Ohio

Fall in Northeast Ohio is a sensory experience; the crisp quality of the air, the colors when the leaves start to change, and then when they explode with color. The smell of the leaves as they fall on the ground, the sound of them as one walks through them. Apples and cider, their beautiful colors and wonderful aromas.

The Village of Peninsula, population 602, is a beautiful place to experience Fall. The Cuyahoga Valley abounds with life, from the trees and flowers, to the animals and insects, to the people who come to drink it all in.

On Saturday mornings, from the end of May to the beginning of October, the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy sponsors a Farmers’ Market at Heritage Farms. Local vendors bring vegetables and fruit, eggs, flowers, coffee, cheeses and meats, breads and pastries, and a bit of craft. There is always something to taste, and music to enjoy.

The Market is one of the projects of the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy. The Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy (CVCC) is a private, non-profit corporation, chartered in Ohio, and headquartered in the Cuyahoga Valley between Cleveland and Akron. CVCC is a small think-and-do tank working to re-envision and rebuild local-regional farming and food systems in Northeast Ohio , systems purposefully designed to reconnect food in the public’s mind to farming and land, to community and nature.

Take a look at last Saturday’s Market. We’ll be enjoying potatoes and onions, beans and beets, scones, foccacia, and roasted vegetable and cheese loaf over the next week or so. And if you’re in our neck of the woods, come on over. We’ll have a cup of coffee, stroll through the Village and relax. The Village of Peninsula, gently resisting change since 1832.

On the way to the Market. I didn’t see the tree until I posted the photo.

The red barn houses additional items for sale.

Mums and pumpkins are another sign of Fall in my town.

The Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy provides information about it’s many projects.

The beautiful farmhouse at Heritage Farms is over 100 years old.

The skilled hands of the chef make wonderful things to eat, including foccacia and scones.

Fresh picked corn and apples at the Market.

When I left the Farmers’ Market, I returned to our studio, just in time to see the steam engine roll into the Village. Perfect.

As always, My Town Monday is the product of the imagination of one of Amarillo, Texas’ own, Travis Erwin. Wander on over there and see what Travis and the other MTM clan have to say.

Comments (13)

Of Animals, Gardens and Art

Besides her family, Cuyahoga Valley artist Pat Raeder’s main interests are animals and gardening. She considers herself lucky because she gets to play with dirt all year long. Each has its season: from the middle of August through Thanksgiving, and into the new year, Pat works with clay. In April, she begins the design process for her incredibly beautiful gardens.

The Jungle Series has developed over time; Pat worked on sketches for the series for many months. This group of pieces gave Raeder the opportunity to “stretch” as an artist: the pieces are more complex than those she has done in the past, and she has used more color. When I look at the work, I see a range of forms, each with it’s own character. Some are whimsical, some more serious; all have personalities and a story to tell.

Jungle Fruit
Stoneware clay, decorated with underglazes; on wood base
12″ x 12″ x 22″

Synchronicity is an interesting thing. Although Pat had taken a sculpture class in art school, she didn’t focus on clay. About 35 years ago, Pat Raeder’s husband was given a potter’s wheel and a kiln. He gave it to Pat for Christmas, and they put it in their basement. Teaching herself to throw on the potter’s wheel, Pat’s work slowly improved. But throwing wasn’t her main interest. She began to notice other potters’ work, and the variety of styles and techniques. Finding her niche in hand building, Pat has made jewelry, garden art, animals and this series. The repetition involved in producing the work over many years is a process of study and refinement, so that the artist’s hands and heart know what to do. Pat said that once she started thinking about the Jungle Series, new ideas “kept popping.” I am glad they did.

Comments (3)

All content is copyrighted. Use only with permission.