The 58th Haus und Garten Tour is now history. We had a fine day, a festive crowd and best of all, a feast for the senses. I am a veteran of several tours and love the homes but really swoon for our gardens. These bejeweled small places are a feast for the senses -- colors, textures and, of course, the scents of our residents' personal worlds -- opened up for us lucky few. I have been wondering what these gardens and our parks will look like in the future.
No doubt some 175-plus years ago there were flowers as well. And certainly our narrow deep lots contained a world of homegrown produce. The early Village residents did not have Giant Eagle, let alone an Amazon drone to bring in the groceries. There were also great local grocers as our GVS archives attest. But homegrown was not a label. And often it was a necessity.
My own home's backyard is packed with stuff you can eat, but it has a beauty of its own, too. Those delicate yellow flowers that become cucumbers that become yummy pickles by my wife, Jonna. The green bean plants intertwined with the purple clematis and green grapes decorated by brilliant red cardinals eating those grapes -- a virtual garten of eating!
We have chosen to focus our front yard on perennial and annual flowers and shrubs. One patch just did not seem to be working so we gave up and just seeded it with heritage wildflowers. Guess what has been the most successful and admired? Right, that spray of old Mother Nature! Never needs watering, and even the dandelions look good there.
In German Village, our tiny speck of the globe has supported many generations of families -- our need for both nutrition and for beauty. And at the community scale our parks -- Schiller and Frank Fetch -- show a devotion to both nurturing and sharing.
I am sure our success has inspired others to truly see and cultivate the beauties of nature. We have a great partner in the city of Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks. Like other city's park departments, it is considering how changes in climate will affect our cities.
For change is happening. The plant climate zone has moved central Ohio to where Nashville used to be. Plants that thrive in a more temperate climate will become more stressed by heat, dry spells, and those torrential rains we are now experiencing. Insects that were killed off during past winters now hang around to nibble away with abandon. These changes will challenge those of us who love to nurture growing things. They can also be an opportunity for our Village to build on those earlier generations who also coped with change.
For as caretakers of a legacy, we have a lot to build on. And perhaps this is the perfect time to transform climate challenges into the next chapter in our legacy. So for starters, check out the GVS new green spot committee on our website to learn what members are up to and how you can participate at germanvillage.com/ event/greenspot.
Working with GVS, the city and agencies like Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, we can make German Village a showcase of resilience; improving soil health, selecting plants for tolerance to stress without excessive water or chemicals. Perhaps in the future the Haus und Garten Tour will become the Haus, Garten and Changing Planet Tour!
Dennis Brandon is a German Village Society board member.