Olga Einfalt, a master gardener best known as an expert on herbs, died Thursday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania. She was 86.
She had heart problems in recent years, her husband, Arthur, said.
She had been active at Toledo Botanical Garden since its early years, when it was Crosby Gardens. She was a former officer of the Maumee Valley Herb Society and the Toledo Naturalists Association. Years later, she became a master composter and then a master gardener through the Michigan State University Extension in Monroe County.
“She was well respected in Toledo and Monroe for her gardening knowledge,” said Gina Boraggina, a friend and gardener.
When Mrs. Einfalt signed up for the master gardener class, her aim was to get the official certificate, said Jennie Stanger, who retired as the extension educator in Monroe County for consumer horticulture, "because she already considered herself a master gardener, and she was.
“She was an extremely knowledgeable plantswoman,” Mrs. Stanger said. “It was a lifelong pursuit and avocation.”
In the 1980s, Mrs. Einfalt combined expertise and commerce as she made wreaths and nosegays to order from herbs — some started from seed — that she grew in her garden.
She and her husband often collaborated on garden layouts, including formal designs for Toledo Botanical Garden and oval knots at the extension's demonstration gardens.
In 1996, she planted a garden at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Temperance, where she was a member, that featured herbs mentioned in the Bible planted in a pattern to echo designs from the church’s stained glass windows.
Mrs. Einfalt and Mrs. Stanger later taught a course on Bible-themed gardens for the statewide master-gardener college in East Lansing.
“The Bible garden was an act of worship,” Mrs. Stanger said. “She gloried in the creation of beautiful plants and flowers, and it was very soothing to her.”
Mrs. Einfalt knew the essential horticulture books, and her practical knowledge was diverse.
She was expert in propagating plants and had started varieties of boxwood from cuttings. She grew camellias in a backyard greenhouse.
To classes she taught, she brought along “plants that were just thriving with vitality and pull them out of the pot and show how white and healthy their root systems were,” Mrs. Stanger recalled.
“She was very charming, very old-fashioned in her manners,” Mrs. Stanger said, “and was quite firm in her opinions and authoritative.”
She was born on July 24, 1927, in Portage La Prairie, Man., to Martha and Frederick Durban.
She moved to the United States with her first husband, Harvey Sparks, who preceded her in death.
She formerly was an office accountant for Sharon Manufacturing in Lambertville.
Surviving are her husband, Arthur Einfalt, whom she married in 1973; daughter Deborah Sparks; stepson Eric Einfalt; stepdaughter Janice Pearce; sisters Mary Kushner, Veronica Durban, and Dianne Durban; brother Michael Durban, and four grandsons.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Monday at Urbanski’s Bedford Funeral Chapel, Temperance, where a Scripture service is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Anthony Catholic Church, where the body will be after 9:30 a.m.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.