The snow is melting, the temperature is rising, and the earth is getting ready.
Gardening season is sprouting and while there are a few more weeks of waiting on the calendar, it's not too soon to start thinking about things like sprucing up a dull entrance way or hiding that homely air conditioning unit uglying up the side of the house.
Gordon Hayward, a nationally known landscape architect and author, will be in Perrysburg on Monday with advice on everything from high-minded aesthetic concepts to the down-and-dirty details that can turn a garden from pleasant to something special.
His public appearance sponsored by the Country Garden Club of Perrysburg promises to have a little bit of something for everyone.
"By the end of it, people are just going to be swimming in new ideas and that's when I get in trouble with the [person's] spouse," he said in a phone interview from his home in southern Vermont.
Hayward has written nine books on gardening and he contributes to a number of magazines. He tours the country regularly to promote his concepts. In Perrysburg he'll give a morning talk on how to use art to influence landscape design. In the afternoon he'll discuss more practical problems that center around his core concept that a house should be part of the garden rather than a separate entity.
All of his work revolves around a distinct view of how a garden should be incorporated into a living space. It's not about strolling around and looking at a well-designed landscape from a distance.
"I think the new American garden is us among our plants within a garden, rather than walking on a lawn past a garden," he said "It's about itinerary, it's about immersing, and how with very simple gestures we invite people into, rather than past our gardens."
For example, consider the area leading up to a front door. Hayward advises using landscaping to draw the front door and porch area into the yard so that it's welcoming and reflective of the identity of the homeowners. If the homeowners have modern art decorations inside, perhaps a similarly themed ornament is used outside. Or if they're dog lovers, maybe a whimsical canine touch is added to the outdoor design, along with a bench and perennials.
"The new American garden can read as an extension of the house in the landscape," Hayward said. "What we have been doing in America for years is perimeter gardening. We garden around the perimeter of the house and the perimeter of the lawn and in between is an amorphous lawn."
For his morning presentation, he will show slides of works of art and then landscapes or plant ideas that incorporate the colors, shapes, and plants in the painting. Painters are "seers" who are keenly aware of color, light, texture, and perspective, he said. From them, we can learn what we like and how to combine those elements effectively.
"Gardening is visual, so where better to learn how to see than by looking at the expression in the paintings of people who spend their lives communicating what they see? That can include color, balance, the use of lines ... texture, contrast, all the elements of visual language that are shared by the painter and the garden designer."
The afternoon presentation will feature practical advice on how to hide fixed objects like the air conditioning unit, how to make a side walkway work in the landscape scheme, and what to do with spaces like those behind a garage that seem hopeless.
"Another way to look at the lecture is that we oftentimes limit ourselves to the back terrace or patio and I'm exploring in this lecture how to draw people into many areas -- the front, the side, the back."
Mary Harman, president of the garden club, said the organization has been working for about a year to bring Hayward to the area and she's "thrilled" he will be here, for the group and herself.
"I'm always trying to learn and to just be able to pick up even one tip from someone this experienced and this well known is going to be a real treat," she said.
Hayward's morning talk will be at 10 a.m. and will be titled "Fine Paintings as Inspiration for Garden Design." His afternoon workshop will be at 1:30 p.m. and will be titled "Your House, Your Garden … A Foolproof Approach to Good Garden Design." Both will be at the Carranor Hunt and Polo Club, 502 East Second St., Perrysburg.
The cost is $30 for the morning presentation, including book signing and lunch; $10 for the afternoon workshop only; and $40 for everything. Checks should be made payable to Country Garden Club and mailed to CGC Event, Post Office Box 652, Perrysburg, OH 43552. Your check is your reservation.
Contact Rod Lockwood at email@example.com or 419-724-6159.