Cory Skurdal brings his creativity to bear through gardening and writing plays.
One of those skills will be on display Sunday, July 16, when the home Skurdal shares with his partner, Robert Eblin, at 230 Northmoor Place will be a stop on the next Clintonville Open Garden Tour.
The latter calling may take a little while to come forth. Skurdal has the idea for a play – potentially his fourth full-length one – rattling around in his head, but he said he must impose some discipline on himself to get it out of there and onto paper.
This will mark the third year Skurdal's gardening efforts of more than two decades, which have seen the elimination of all grass from his yard in favor of mostly native plants that attract pollinators, have been on the tour – and it might be the last.
One reason for that, he said, is he and the other gardeners who volunteer to be on the tour put in an exhausting amount of work to make their yards shine. He also said he thinks most people who might be interested in his approach already have taken it in.
"It was nice to be asked," Skurdal said of being approached by Open Garden Tour organizer Pat Rugola.
For her part, Rugola said she's pleased Skurdal has consented the past several years.
"He uses a lot of native plants, and that's a really important thing to be doing," she said. "Native plants feed birds and native pollinators and all kinds of wildlife. That's one really lovely thing about his garden."
"What we've got now is not the garden we had planned, but it never, never turns out to be the way you wanted," Skurdal said.
Skurdal, 54, who said he's mostly a househusband these days while he concentrates on his writing, was born and reared in North Dakota. He moved to Columbus in 1989 after attending graduate school at the University of Washington and spent four years as a reference librarian at the Ohio State University School of Law. He left to take a similar position at Boston College, but Eblin remained in Columbus, where he's an attorney, and Skurdal returned after two years.
He spent 13 years volunteering with the Master Gardener programs at Ohio State and Chadwick Arboretum.
Skurdal was executive director of the Ohio Nursery and Landscaping Association for three years before opting to concentrate on writing plays.
His second full-length effort, "The Present Moment," was produced by Evolution Theatre Co. of Columbus in 2013. The third, "Sticks and Stones," about an older transsexual woman who "outs" a closeted lesbian art critic, was the CATCO-Greater Columbus Arts Council 2014 Playwriting Fellowship and was staged by CATCO in June 2015.
Skurdal is on the board of directors for Evolution Theatre Co. and also is active with the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Ohio and Stonewall Columbus.
Skurdal's garden is one of seven stops on the Clintonville Open Garden Tour, which runs from noon to 4 p.m. July 16. The others are:
* 75 E. Tulane Road, which has no lawn, with a mix of perennials, biennials and naturalized annuals.
* The community garden sponsored by the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center at the east end of Midgard Road, abutting the railroad tracks.
* A public garden at Clinton Heights Avenue and Walhalla Road, an example of "guerrilla gardening," Rugola said, with perennials, bulbs and shrubs on a former vacant lot, maintained by neighbors.
* 109 W. Kenworth Road, with perennials, tropicals, native plants, cut flowers, 31 new trees and shrubs, vegetables and herbs.
* 30 E. Torrence Road, a half-acre lot with deep, cottage-style sunny and shady borders, Eastern U.S. natives and Japanese plants.
* Adjoining gardens at 4297 Lawnview Drive and 4302 Fairoaks Drive, with a collection of pink-flamingo garden ornaments, a patio shaped like an artist's palette, raspberries, strawberries, peaches and cherries.
The tour is free and self-guided. Maps are available at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and at individual gardens on the day of the tour.
For more information, visit the Clintonville Open Garden Tour Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.