Topiary Garden, Old Deaf School Park, Columbus, Ohio

The Topiary Garden Park is located in downtown Columbus in the Discovery District and is built on the site where the Old Deaf School Park used to reside. Though it has become known by its new name the park dates back to the early 1800’s, when it was part of the campus of the adjacent Deaf School.

Today the Topiary Garden of Old Deaf School Park is one of kind—not only in the state or country, but in the world.  The garden is a living model of Georges Seurat’s post-Impressionist painting called “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte”.

It would be many years after the painting in 1989 when Columbus native and artist James T. Mason and artist Elaine Mason, James’ wife would conceive of and sculpt the 3D, living model of Seurat’s painting. The artificial pond (meant to be the river Seine) and the artificial hills were installed later in the year after the sculpting was complete.

In the years since its inception the garden has been the subject of numerous articles, books and documentaries. It has been covered by Life, The Wall Street Journal the BBC and National Geographic.

The recommended viewing season is April to November as this is when the garden is in full bloom.

 

Back to the Roots: Heirloom Farming in Huron, Ohio

Nestled in Ohio’s fertile lake region, is the nation’s leading grower of artisanal and specialty producer, The Chef’s Garden. Owned and operated by the Jones family for 30 years, the Chef’s Garden is dedicated to sustainable and organic growing practices, adhering to their motto: “growing vegetables slowly and gently in full accord with nature.” ®

30 years ago their story began with a hardworking Bob Jone’s tinkering away at tractors, inventing modifications that would make field production more efficient. The family, including sons Bob junior and Lee Jones, harvested produce to sell at Cleveland farmer’s markets and also sold produce from roadside stand on their property.

In the 1980’s a large hail storm destroyed most of their crops and almost put the farm out of business. However, while rebuilding their business, Lee Jones met a chef who was interested in purchasing squash blossoms. Ever since this faithful meeting, the Jones family has been focusing on growing artisan vegetables for chefs.

Today, the Chef’s Garden employees sustainable farming methods that allow for their products to obtain maximum flavor and nutrient levels without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. These methods include letting fields fallow with cover specific crops that become compost fertilizer. By naturally replenishing the nutrients of their land’s soil, the Jones grow healthy plants that don’t need pesticides and chemicals to resist insects and weeds.

Their philosophy is a complete circle—remove the bad, unnatural fertilizers and chemicals, and add back in the good, proper, natural nutrients. The Jones family believes this philosophy and practice allows them to provide a safe, hand-harvested product that maximizes flavor and nutrients.
Their goal is to redefine sustainable agriculture in the 21st century to build a business model that will attract and retain young farmers interested in growing safe and healthy products and to protect our nation’s farm land in the years to come.

The Chef’s garden isn’t just for chefs from five-star restaurants though, they offer both one-time or subscription based pick-up or home delivery “boxes” of seasonal vegetables appropriate in size for couples and families.

More information is available at their website: http://www.chefs-garden.com/

Jody Victor