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Japanese-style garden refuge among tour stops

First of three Clintonville garden tours slated Sunday

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The garden belonging to East Schreyer Place residents Warren and Kathleen Bertner will be one of five on display during this season's first Clintonville garden tour, set Sunday, May 19.
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A funny thing happened on the way to Warren Bertner having a Japanese-style garden: He got there.

"The garden itself has evolved over about 15 years," the longtime Clintonville resident said last week. "I'm not a good planner from the get-go. I usually start something and move things around. What it looks like now is not what it started as."

The yard of Warren and Kathleen Bertner at 680 E. Schreyer Place will be among five stops on the first of what will be three Clintonville garden tours, set from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19.

This won't be the first time to be on a garden tour for the Bertners, who have lived in their current home for 17 years and resided elsewhere in Clintonville for the decade before that. The couple had a garden in the style of the Japanese when they lived on East Third Avenue, and it once was a stop on the Columbus Garden Tour.

"It's always interesting to meet people and introduce them to something they may not be familiar with," said Mr. Bertner, a psychologist. "You meet a range of people who are interested in gardening."

Those who might find his interesting, Mr. Bertner said, will find one that combines different styles of Japanese gardens -- "at least it's an attempt." It's not a large yard, he said, but that fits with the type of gardening common in Japan, where space often is at a premium. It features a long, artificial creek with a pond and what looks like an area of white sand -- actually crushed granite.

A traditional Japanese garden, which is intended to be a place for relaxation, usually includes elements of stone, moss and water, and sometimes pine trees, Mr. Bertner said.

"If you can get those things together, it usually starts calming you down," he said. "There are rocks here and there that I've found and carted home."

The garden also features a variety of mosses that he's found here and there, and brought home.

The other locations for the May 19 event are:

* A public garden, maintained by Darryl Leedy and Brian Bellamy, at the southeast corner of Clinton Heights Avenue and Walhalla Road, behind 3229 Indianola Ave.

"Our garden is an example of guerrilla gardening," they said. "We cleared a vacant lot, now city-owned, in 1997 and started planting castoff perennials and shrubs and over the years have added bulbs and leftover annuals, which mostly self-sow. The result is sort of a psychedelic interpretation of an English garden that has color continuously from March through November. Our garden is open to the public."

* 109 Westwood Road, the home of Ardine Nelson and Fredrick Marsh.

They said it has "many types of plants flowers and vegetables, 24 varieties of echinacea, 15 varieties of roses, 15 varieties of peony, many hostas, many hydrangeas and about 75 houseplants (that) move outdoors for the summer." The garden also features an above-ground koi pond, walkways and multiple other flowering plants.

"We are eclectic," Nelson and March said.

* 72 Brevoort Road, the home of tour co-organizer Michael Shifrin.

"The front yard is completely grown in shade with shade-loving plants and an extensive hosta collection," he said. "The back yard is a large lot fully established with sun-loving plants with a pond and paths throughout the space. No turf here to mow."

* 68 E. Beaumont Road, the home of fellow tour organizer Karen Torvik and her husband, Ross.

It features "lightly shaded meandering gardens with diverse plant material, including shrubs and small trees with a large emphasis on perennials," the Torviks said. "Some natives are incorporated into the landscape along with some unusual plants."

Future tours are set for June 15, with a deadline to participate of Friday, May 17, and July 14, with June 15 as a cutoff date to be considered.

For more information, call 614-267-6662, 614-262-5451 or 614-262-3010 or send an email to clintonvillegarden@att.net to have a registration form mailed.

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