Garden tour set for Saturday


Master Gardeners’ annual event includes six properties

By Melody Vallieu - [email protected]



Mike Ullery | Daily Call Mark and Mary Lou Fierce discusses the upcoming Miami County Master Gardeners Tour scheduled for Saturday.


Mike Ullery | Daily Call Master Gardener George Sweetman of Piqua sits in his back yard on Summit Avenue earlier this week.


Gardens on the tour

1. Mary and Perry Groves, 1920 Swailes Road, Troy

2. Cindy and Howard Wingert, 515 Water St., Troy

3. Kim and Eric Carey, 4185 Sodom Road, Casstown

4. Marcia and Gary Niswonger, 5570 Union-Shelby Road, Piqua

5. Kate and George Sweetman, 706 Summit St., Piqua

6. Mary Lou and Mark Fierce, 19 Marymont Drive, Piqua

MIAMI COUNTY — From container gardens, to Koi fish and other landscaping features, six county residents will share their green thumbs with the community this weekend.

The gardens — in Troy, Piqua and Casstown — will be part of the 2016 Master Gardeners Tour on Saturday, June 18.

• The Sweetmans

George and Kate Sweetman of 706 Summit St., Piqua, have spent a lot of the last 30 years at their home upgrading the property, including the backyard.

Both Master Gardeners, George Sweetman said he and his wife have added a deck, fish pond and more to their home that backs up to Mote Park. George Sweetman said while he’s the landscaper, Kate is the gardener, and they come together with ideas.

With a hill in the backyard that wasn’t optimal for mowing, George Sweetman said they eventually decided to change it over to a garden, adding a boardwalk that steps downhill to a bench at the bottom. He said perennials are then planted on both sides.

A crab apple tree that butts up to the park also is surrounded by a garden with hostas and flowering plants that bring color in the spring, summer and fall, he said.

“Everybody’s pretty shocked when they walk back to see what we got,” George Sweetman said.

• The Fierces

A setting of nature in the city is what Mary Lou and Mark Fierce, 19 Marymont Drive, Piqua, love about their property on Frantz Pond.

Mary Lou Fierce, a Master Gardener since 2010, said flower gardens end at a little woods that then lead to the pond on their property. She said while they are still in town, the yard has a natural setting, with an unbelievable amount of deer traffic. So, she said she has had to plant flowers in the yard that are deer-resistant.

With a pool and the pond, the property, which they purchased in 1999, also has evergreens and lots of perennials to round out the landscaping, she said.

“It feels like we are not in town, but of course, we are,” Mary Lou Fierce said. “There is just so much nature, and we try to embellish that.”

With a love of natural elements, Mary Lou Fierce said they used rocks to edge the beds, and the couple composts, making their own mulch and soil for pots.

• The Wingerts

Cindy and Howard Wingert’s property in Troy has the Great Miami River as its backdrop. She said following raising her children, she decided that she now has time to spend on one of her other loves — her backyard — and took Master Gardener classes for the first time recently. Wingert said her gardens, located at 515 Water St., Troy, have had four growing seasons and are broken into five separate areas.

“Our backyard goes back to the river, that is why we have stayed in the house as long as we have,” Wingert said. “We have remodeled the house and the backyard, including adding a wall for privacy and to add to the gardens.”

Wingert said she and her husband have toured many historical gardens throughout the country and found that walls provide backdrops in many of the well-known gardens.

Wingert said as you enter the gate at her home, you will first be welcomed by a garden filled with tea roses and hydrangeas with a pergola and back patio along the river.

The second area featured is a full sun perennial garden with lots of pinks and lavenders, knockout roses and flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, she said.

A third stop will include a water garden by the house.

“This provides a very peaceful sound for outside dining. There are Koi fish in the pond, and a pagoda, which provides kind of an Asian look,” said Wingert, who said everything will be labeled for tour-goers.

Under a tree in the yard is a shade garden with hostas and flowers in such colors as pinks and purples and orange, Wingert said.

Finally, near the house, outside of the kitchen area, there is a container garden.

“This provides culinary herbs and tomatoes and peppers,” said Wingert, who said there also are containers and more water features located on the property for viewing.

• Other tour stops include Marcia and Gary Niswonger, 5570 Union-Shelby Road, Piqua; Kim and Eric Carey, 4185 Sodom Road, Casstown; and Mary and Perry Groves, 1920 Swailes Road, Troy.

During the tour, visitors are invited to ask the garden owners questions, take photos and visit the arts and vendor booths that will be located at several of the gardens.

Tickets are $10 pre-sale and $15 the day of the tour, available at any of the six locations. Tickets are on sale at The Ohio State University Extension Office in the Miami County Courthouse, Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City, Patterson’s Flowers in West Milton, Lisa’s Perennial Flowers in Covington, and Genell’s Flowers in Piqua. Tickets also are available from any Miami County Master Gardener. The booklet ticket holders receive will include a description of each place and a map. The event will be held rain or shine, as there will be no refunds.

A.M. Leonard in Piqua also is marked on the map for visitors to stop by their showroom between 8 a.m. and noon to view and purchase gardening tools, as well as register for a gift basket.

For more information, call (937) 440-3945 or visit http://go.osu.edu/MiamiGardenTour.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Mark and Mary Lou Fierce discusses the upcoming Miami County Master Gardeners Tour scheduled for Saturday.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_061416mju_mastergardener_fierce.jpgMike Ullery | Daily Call Mark and Mary Lou Fierce discusses the upcoming Miami County Master Gardeners Tour scheduled for Saturday.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Master Gardener George Sweetman of Piqua sits in his back yard on Summit Avenue earlier this week.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_061416mju_mastergardener_sweetman.jpgMike Ullery | Daily Call Master Gardener George Sweetman of Piqua sits in his back yard on Summit Avenue earlier this week.
Master Gardeners’ annual event includes six properties

By Melody Vallieu

[email protected]

Gardens on the tour

1. Mary and Perry Groves, 1920 Swailes Road, Troy

2. Cindy and Howard Wingert, 515 Water St., Troy

3. Kim and Eric Carey, 4185 Sodom Road, Casstown

4. Marcia and Gary Niswonger, 5570 Union-Shelby Road, Piqua

5. Kate and George Sweetman, 706 Summit St., Piqua

6. Mary Lou and Mark Fierce, 19 Marymont Drive, Piqua

Reach Melody Vallieu at [email protected] or (937) 552-2131

Reach Melody Vallieu at [email protected] or (937) 552-2131

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