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The Cuyahoga Valley National Park in our Backyard

On Wednesday, November 16, Karen Patterson talked to our garden club about National Parks in general, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in particular.  Karen is a retired history teacher, former seasonal park ranger and currently a volunterr with the CVNP.  The park has so much to offer and is just a short drive from anywhere in the greater Cleveland area.  The CVNP encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, OH.  Managed by the National Park Service, it combines cultural, historical, recreational and natural  activities in one setting.  The Ohio and Erie Canal is located within the park along which the Towpath trail is located.  The Towpath is used for hiking, running and biking.  Also located within the park is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Visitors can ride the excursion railroad from Rockside Road to Akron with many stops in between.  The railroad offers a Bike Aboard option where bikers can board the train at any station with their bike and ride as far as they want for $3.  There are many hiking and bridle trails in the park as well as historic buildings and the historic canal locks.  The Countryside Conservancy has reestablished working family farms in CVNP through the Countryside Initiative program.  If you have not visited the national park in our backyard, please put it on your bucket list.  We have a real gem just a short drive away that offers something for everyone to learn from and enjoy.

2016 Fete des Fleurs a Real Celebration

On Wednesday, September 28, over 200 people gathered at Westwood Country Club to attend the Westlake Garden Club’s annual Fête des Fleurs fundraiser luncheon. The rain held off and there was even some sunshine peeking through the clouds. The room was stunning with all white linens, centerpieces of white hydrangeas with greenery and green beads forming an emerald necklace. The theme was celebrating the Cleveland’s Emerald Necklace with Brian Zimmerman, CEO of the Cleveland Metroparks as speaker. Attendees feasted on Chicken Francaise, long grain and wild rice, grilled vegetables and an apple fritter sundae for dessert. There was a plethora of beautiful raffle baskets and silent auction items as well as a bake shoppe with tempting homemade goodies. Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough was in attendance and after saying a few words, presented four of the five nonagenarian club members in attendance with a corsage. After lunch, Brian Zimmerman talked about what the Metroparks have done this year and plans for the future. The winning raffle tickets were drawn, silent auction winners announced, and someone at each table went home with the centerpiece. Proceeds from this luncheon help support various civic and educational organizations in the community. As another successful luncheon comes to a close, we need to recognize and thank Marsha McEntee and Shirley Lutts who co-chaired this year’s event. A big thank you also goes to the committee who worked tirelessly and kept everything together, running smoothly. See you next year!

Evening Garden Tour a Feast for the Senses

Mother Nature provide perfect weather for the second "mini" garden tour on the evening of July 20.  The first garden visited was a riot of color with a variety of plantings and shrubs, many surrounding the gorgeous pond and waterfall with water lillies and fish.  This garden has a lot of interesting garden art including a kaleidoscope over a container of brightly colored flowers that when turned, create a wonderful array of shapes and colors.  Next was a meticulously maintained vegetable garden with beautiful rows of vegetables, including broccoli, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and more.  This garden was created by a young family and their love of the earth-to-table philosophy is evident.  Next came a garden with colorful plants, shrubs, ponds, waterfalls, rocks, a playhouse and a bridge over Dover Creek.  This is another garden created and maintained by a young family whose love of nature is all around them.  We topped off the evening at a garden that is familiar to many garden club members since we had a garden tour there about six years ago.  This deep and open yard includes many magnificent trees, shrubs, colorful borders and a "room" in the back with hostas, hydrangeas and other shade plants.  There is a little house that overhangs the pond and waterfall and if you sit on the porch awhile, the koi in the pond come over to you with open mouths.  This is truly a garden that you just want to sit in, relax and enjoy all that nature has to offer.  This was the perfect garden to enjoy a closing reception with wine, beer, sandwiches, vegetables and dip, cheese, crackers and other snacks and cake for dessert.  We sincerely appreciate all of the homeowners opening their gardens to the garden club for these two "mini" garden tours.  Maybe we will do this again next year. See Photo Gallery for more photos.

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