Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Master Gardener Conference 2016

Conference time, is the time to meet up with old friends, meet new, all coming together sharing the passion for gardening, knowledge, and meeting other people volunteering to make an impact on their own communities.

It is a time of experts in their field stimulating us to want to do a better job more intelligently. We had several choices of subject matter and speakers. Prior to the event we signed up for the speaker and subject.

We had the privilege of Dr Michael Dirr talking to us about the use of trees and shrubs and the need of trying new species. He gave us a virtual tour of his personal gardens. Dr Dirr is a very personable speaker . He wrote the bible on trees. Everyone needs his book in your library.

Janice Kirchenbauer and Dr. Dirr Book Signing

Sue Steinen and Dr. Dirr on Noble Trees
Bill Hahn is the Arborist and Horticulturist for the city of Akron. He stressed the use of tough trees for urban areas. Our Park Director, Sue Heppeard, would have loved this segment.

Bill Hahn, City of Akron Arborist and Horticulturist
Dr. Dan Herms, a Professor, State Extension Specialist, and Chair in the Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University , talked about how to avoid disease by design to control insects.

Dan Herms, Ph.D. Department of Entomology, OSU
Dr. Doug Tallamy was full of knowledge and information, plus had a great sense of humor with his presentation . He certainly kept our attention, not only with the subject matter but a lesson on public speaking. He knew his subject and could have fun with it. I loved him.

Dr. Doug Tallamy and me
Pam Bennett, our State Master Gardener Volunteer Program Director, gave out awards and reported on the value of the Master Gardener program. Her excitement transfers to all of us around her. There are over 3,500 Master Gardeners around our state giving hundreds of hours to their communities.

There were vendors offering up unique products for purchase.  Had to have it.

Fun Stuff

The Summit County Master Gardeners did a great job correlating this conference. The speakers, accommodations, and the food  were excellent. It was a completely filled event. Do plan to attend next year, mark your calendar.

Feeling inspired.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Children in the Gardens

Who would have thought that the creation of a small one acre parcel in a park could be turned into a lovely nature learning experience for so many youth. Since the completion of the Smiley Park Children's Garden it has brought outdoor educational opportunities to the youth in our community.

Every summer the Van Wert Master Gardeners develop programs for the kids. The purpose of the programs is to introduce them to the gardens. To teach them various concepts of gardening; how to plant, the benefits of insects, the care plants require and much more. Each session is full of fun, activities and a finished project to take home at the end of each session.

Master Gardener's Volunteering and offering their expertise to educate our youth in the world of gardening.

Connie, Ruth Ann, Cheryl, what great leaders and volunteers

Special guests speakers are called upon at times to help with specific programs. Curtis Young, OSU Extension Educator talked with the kids on the World of Insects and introduced the kids to the types of insects that you find in a garden. 

Kids were shown oversized insects to real live ones.

Many times other organizations offer assistance through donations such as these seed pods. The seed pods were made available from Van Wert Family Health, through Scotts Miracle-Gro. All the kids were given information on the pods and able to take home at the end of the day.

Each program offers learning experiences through hands on doing.

Benefits of Bees in the garden and building their own Bee Hotel.

"Name that Tune", was a program on listening to the birds sing and how birds do good things in the gardens. The kids built their own bird habitat to take home.

"Blooming Boots", was learning about plants such as these succulents that are easy to care for and don't require the time consuming task of watering that most flowering plants do. Each child planted their own type of boot or shoe

The Children's Garden offers the opportunity for outdoor class room to the youth of our community. This is made possible through the volunteer hours of the Van Wert Master Gardeners. If you are interested in the Master Gardener program and would like to volunteer, check this out. They are always looking for a few helping hands in the garden and working with the kids.

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


It seems like its been some time since the last post. Oh wait, it has been a long time! Feels like I should reintroduce myself as well as my partner in crime, but we will skip all the formality because if you are reading this, you know who Two Girls With a Purpose are. All kidding aside, an apology is in order for being on such a long hiatus. However, I must say in our defense we've been pretty busy!

Within the past year I've been the reciepent of two more grand babies. How precious they can be. With the miles between us, my husband and I have had to do a little traveling.

Wyatt Emerson Heppeard, February 15, 2015

Easton Ryan Heppeard, May 26, 2015

Oh how they have grown!


Louise and her husband have been guests at local hospitals, but that is all in the past.

Louise & P.Allen Smith "Van Wert Blooms"

On top of that Louise had a years worth of planning a special program held in our very own back yard called, "Van Wert Blooms with P. Allen Smith and Friends". What a success that was but that is a whole other blog in itself.

Our last blog talked of our travel to Toronto for the Bloggers Fling.  We have done a little traveling too; Louisville, Nashville, Cultivate '16 then of course the numerous trips to various nurseries. All these adventures and more we plan to share.

From Kentucky to Tennesse
Cultivate '16 Columbus, OH
Please, come back soon. We promise to be here sharing our wisdom (if we find it), travels, adventures and happenings in our home town.

Until then!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2015 Toronto Bloggers Fling

Two Girls With A Purpose picked up Our Little Acre and headed north to Canada with passports in hand for the first International Bloggers Fling. For Sue it was her first Fling and first time on foreign soil. The Fling was started by a group of Bloggers in Austin, Texas. Since then they have met in different cities around the country. It has been held in Asheville, Buffalo, Chicago, Portland, San Fransisco, Seattle and now Toronto.

It is a time for gardeners that like to write, convene, and talk about how to use their blogs either to promote their agenda or just explore and share a common interest. It is a time that the host city arranges activities of viewing extraordinary gardens. We get to view macro to massive estate gardens, and usually Botanical Gardens. It is not for the faint of heart. It was said we walked between 8-10 miles each day. I need one of those Fit Bits that tracks your steps.

Sue was our driver and Kylee was the navigator. I was Ms Daisy in the back seat. We made a few pit stops and arrived at the Fairmont York Hotel in downtown Toronto. This is where the Queen stays when she visits Toronto. It was a lovely hotel. Three women can quickly trash a hotel room with all their stuff. At least two of them did.

Fueling Up

Our Last Pit Stop Before Crossing the Border

Royal York Hotel

Beautiful Royal York Hotel Lobby

Place of Residence When Visiting Canada

Our hostess, Helen Battersby met us with her beautiful huge red hat. Soon we began to see some familiar faces. It is always fun to reconnect with friends that we have met at other flings.

Helen Battersby and Victoria Kirk, Lee Valley Tools Consultant

An evening event had been planned at the home of Lee Valley Tools. It was just a few blocks from our hotel, so we walked to the store. Just a small training session for what was about to be the norm. Lee Valley was a beautiful store of all top quality products. They greeted us with beautiful horsdoeuvres and drinks. Oh so good and tasty. It was a relaxed shopping experience. Lee Valley prepared us swag bags filled with wonderful products. We were given a three piece set of garden tools that are almost too nice to get dirty. They also gave us a heavy duty hoodie and a $50 gift certificate. The weather was lovely for a great walk back to our hotel.

Bloggers visit Lee Valley Tools

It was a long day and we were ready to call it a day.The next day starts early. We are all ready for some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs.

Sue or I will post about activities on day two.

Pictures posted by Sue. We would like to thank Kylee Baumle and Helen Battersby for a couple pictures that we are sharing with you!

Love Canada, Louise

Monday, June 1, 2015

Coming this Weekend, Peony Festival, June 5-7, 2015

A look back at.......Peony Festival 2014

The Festival first began in 1932, the first week end of June. During World War II they were discontinued, then  after the war they were resumed.

The Wassenbergs', a notable family in the community, had a 50 acre farm that they grew iris, poppies and mostly peonies. The Beckmans' had 20 acres of peonies that they sold commercially and privately. We now have to purchase them from our local nurseries and the internet. The Vera Wassenberg and Bu Te  have Van Wert roots. People probably have them and may not know it. Peonies are scattered over the city. I would love to be able to get starts of each of these. Every home in Van Wert needs at least one peony on their property, being we are "The Peony Capitol Of The World".

The Men's Garden Club have established a display garden of peonies in Smiley Park next to the Children's Garden. They are all labeled as to each variety. This is a good way to see what you might like for your own garden. I have  about 20 different ones in my gardens. I can always find room for one more.

Peony Committee

There is a Festival Committee that brings this altogether the first weekend in June. Many of our peonies are through their bloom by then, but this year there was a nice representation of them at the Jubilee Flower Show. The flower show was held at the new Wassenberg Art Center. The Wassenbergs' would be so proud that this is still on going.

Artistic Design Judge and Horticulture Judges

Best of Show

"Pink Pots"

Queen Jubilee XXXIX and Court
In the early spring, young women from the area are interviewed, and then compete in talent, evening gown, and questions and answer. Queen Jubilee XXXIX was chosen. Scholarships are given to the top three finalist. They are required to make appearances at certain functions. The day of the parade they have a luncheon at The Willow Bend Country Club and make appearances at many other special events held around the area. It is much like the Miss America Pageant, on a smaller scale, At 5 o'clock is the big parade. They get to ride the beautiful Queens float.

Queen's Float

On Friday evening the public was entertained with a free concert in the lovely Fountain Park. This year it was Papa Doo Run Run. Good lively music. There was a huge crowd. One of the largest.

Papa Doo Run Run

Vendors are set up in the park selling their arts and crafts. "ArtRageous" is now combined with the Festival. Good quality merchandise.


There are a lot of food venders. It is a time to load up on junk food. Great sausage sandwiches, barbeque, brauts, cotton candy, and of course icy slush.

Junk Food

On the grounds I ran into my co-blogger and Park Director, Sue. This is an extremely busy time for her. I am amazed how she seems to manage it all, and brings it all together.

Park Director Sue

The weather was picture perfect.. It was well attended.  Thanks to all of you that made this another well planned event. Now next year begins. Back to the drawing board.

It was A great festival.