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Tour cultivates ideas

June 6, 2011

Artist Ruth Ann Sturgill paints at one of the gardens at the Roots and Shoots Garden Tour on Sunday.

A warm day brought out many for the Roots and Shoots Garden Club’s Wapakoneta Garden Tour.
On Sunday, five private gardens and one public garden were available for touring, along with receiving tips and helpful gardening hints from local gardeners. The proceeds from the tour go to the Roots and Shoots Garden Club to help fund their city projects that they do for the Wapakoneta area.
“It’s been busy,” Roots and Shoots Garden Club member Michele Bishop said on Sunday. “People are coming out, and it’s nice for the club.”
Bishop’s garden on County Road 25A was one of the five private gardens that was being toured by area residents.
“I’m glad it’s not as hot as it was yesterday (Saturday),” Bishop said.
Bishop said she was working in the hot summer sun on Saturday getting her garden ready for viewers and voiced her pleasure with the low 80s temperatures on Sunday for the tour.
Ruth Ann Sturgill was an area artist who was selling artwork and painting in Bishop’s garden on Sunday. Sturgill, of Lima, said she loves being outdoors and capturing nature.
“I love being outdoors,” Sturgill said. “I love to paint gardens.”
Before Sturgill started painting nature, she worked in a studio painting portraits so she noted she enjoys this change of pace.
“I enjoy this kind of painting,” Sturgill said. “I love getting out in nature.”
Sturgill said she has never taken any art classes in school, but she started painting after she became a grandmother.
She said she got her start when a painter painted a portrait of a friend’s daughter, and that sparked her interest.
“I thought, it would be heaven to do that,” Sturgill said of painting portraits.
Sturgill, who noted there has been a lot of people who have been touring the gardens on Sunday, said her favorite part was just walking around and taking all the beauty in.
Wapakoneta resident Stephanie Kiefer said she came out to check out the gardens.
“I came to get ideas because I just started new flower beds in my backyard,” Kiefer said.
Kiefer said she is looking to create a border, possibly of shade trees, in her back yard, and thought touring the different gardens would help her to generate new ideas to bring to her own home.
At the triangle garden on Defiance Street, Roots and Shoots Garden Club member Lou Marker was giving a tour of the public area that she maintains.
“Fifty years ago, my father (Harold Hepp) was in the men’s garden club,” Marker said. “They put in petunias for several years.”
As Marker’s father started and maintained the garden years ago, Marker said she wanted to carry on his creation, and she now works three to four hours each day working on whatever needs to be done in the triangle garden.
There are peonies, irises and day lilies, just to name of few of the different types of flowers in the garden. Marker said the garden is constantly changing with the different flowers that are blooming.
“It’s a personal thing,” Marker said, “to tend my father’s garden.”

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