Marietta in Bloom volunteer opens gardens to visitors

Avid gardener will present her own personal projects as fundraiser

Longtime gardener and Marietta in Bloom volunteer Donis Yoder will open her multiple gardens to the public on Sunday as a fundraiser for Marietta in Bloom, which has eight gardens throughout the city that are maintained by volunteers.

Yoder has 16 different gardens on her property, which is about three miles outside of Devola.

“I didn’t realize I had this many types of gardens until I started planning this,” Yoder said.

Question: This garden tour was planned in place of another local tour that wasn’t happening this year, right?

Answer: The Unitarian church, I think, always has a tour and this year they had a bake sale and a plant sale but had to cancel the actual tour, which I was going to be part of. Marietta in Bloom needed a fundraiser so I thought since they didn’t have their garden tour, we could do this.

Q: What are the gardens on this tour?

A: There are 15 or 16, all of it located at our place. Each one I have is a little different than the others. People only have to go to one spot, it’s ground level and there’s plenty of parking.

Q: Do you have any favorites among your gardens?

A: Probably one of my favorites is what I call the pollinator garden. I love that one. In my vegetable garden, I put a row in there of plants that attract pollinators since we don’t have a lot of honey bees here. It does very, very well.

The clothesline garden is another one I really like. It has a lot of perennials in it and I actually set up the clothesline into the actual garden. I did that because I have a lot of family and children coming by in the evening and I was scared they would get caught in the clothesline. So it’s in the actual bed and we can still use it.

I also have a reading tree garden where I set up a bench and read with my grandchildren.

I also have a lot of yard art, with wagon wheels and a bench made of an old bed.

The blue garden was made because I’ve always loved Flo blue dishes.

Q: How much time do you put into all your gardens?

A: Getting everything in is really the hard work. We also mow about five acres here. If you don’t count the mowing and just the upkeep it’s probably three to four hours a day. It’s very time-consuming.

Q: When did your interest in gardening begin?

A: I’ve always been a farm girl. I would have flowers as a girl but dad would mow them with a tractor.

Q: Do you think people visiting will get some inspiration from your gardens?

A: I think so. There are a lot of different varieties, with some I don’t ever water. I try to stay with perennials with long bloom times and add annuals for color.

Q: How long have you been involved with Marietta in Bloom?

A: Since the beginning. Marietta has such history and beautiful architecture but there were just a few gardens around. Adding more was something I was on board with. I love Marietta.

Q: Do you have a lot of volunteers or is it a small, core group?

A: It’s a small, core group. We absolutely need more help and we need young people to come in and help. Helping could even be a couple of hours a year. If a lot of people did that we could keep up with everything much better. We put on our Facebook page when we’ll be there working so people can just show up. We don’t ask for a firm commitment.

Q: Will all the money from the garden tour go to Marietta in Bloom?

A: It will be used for purchasing perennials, annuals, fertilizer. We’re trying to purchase a vehicle to help with the watering at some locations. We need to raise funds for everything beyond the work. I’ve had several people make donations who can’t come to the tour, so people can do that, too.

Q: Do you get a lot of feedback about the Marietta in Bloom gardens?

A: A lot of our feedback is when we’re out working. People wave or honk their horns in support.

Kate York conducted this interview.

If you go

¯ What: Midsummer Garden Tour; a Marietta in Bloom Fundraiser.

¯ When: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

¯ Where: Bob & Donis Yoder’s home gardens, 9688 State Route 60 Lowell.

¯ Cost: $10 per person or two for $15.

¯ Featured gardens: Vanilla Strawberry Row Gardens, Wagon Wheel Garden, Dinner Bell Garden, Turtle Garden, Grist Stone Garden, Flo Blue Dish Garden, Clothesline Garden, “Live” Oak Garden, Childhood Memories Garden, Reading Tree Garden, Mailbox Garden, Camouflage Garden, The Giant Leaf Garden, A Little Veggie Garden, Pollinator Garden,

Old Time Fruit Tree Orchard

Marietta in Bloom Gardens

¯ Harmar Gardens: Ohio 7/Market and Barber streets.

¯ Sacra Via/River Trail Garden: Sacra Via and Front Street.

¯ Big Lots Garden: Ohio 7 Big Lots/Bridgeport Equipment.

¯ Campus Martius Museum Garden: 601 Second St.

¯ Valley Gem Garden: 601 Front St.

¯ Colegate/Muskingum Garden: Ohio 60 and Colegate Drive.

¯ Corner of Fair and Front streets garden.

¯ Triangle Garden: Front and Muskingum Drive intersection.

Source: Donis Yoder.