In The Garden

Jim and Amy Duxbury of Lavender Trails

Lavender has been treasured for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, it was used in mummification; in medieval France, to perfume the air and ward off infection; and in 16th-century England, it was cherished by monarchs and mentioned by Shakespeare.

Lavender Trails

The idea for a lavender farm had been rattling around in the minds of Jim and Amy Duxbury — both Orrville high school teachers, of science and English, respectively — for years. In 2018, they leased a 4-acre “brownfield” (a former industrial site) that had been a concrete dumping ground, surrounded by facilities that produced pet food, packaging, and metal fabrication. 

Birds at birdfeeder

One of the favorite pleasures of summertime for many backyard and garden enthusiasts is watching the songbirds that arrive for the season.

Feed birds quality food

When looking for birdseed, avoid any containing debris such as empty shells, sticks, or stones. Seed should be as dust-free as possible.

Pass on any birdseed mixes that contain milo, wheat, sorghum, or red millet. White proso millet is the exception — birds that feed on the ground enjoy it — but don’t choose a blend with white millet as the main ingredient. 


If you were to imagine a garden in A.D. 800, you might picture unusual and long-extinct plants, but in fact, gardens of the medieval period (or Middle Ages) were filled with plants that have thrived for centuries and still grow in our gardens today.

Absinthe, or wormwood, is from the Artemesia family and is a lovely accent to a modern garden. Absinthe was called Mary’s tree and was used as a spice herb as well as for medicinal purposes, such as stomach disorders or nausea, and to repel insects from the vegetable garden, but is known mainly for the alcoholic beverage that is made from it. Absinthe can be grown from seeds sown directly in the ground or planted from potted plants in light, well-drained soil in full sun.

Ladybug life cycle

In 1975, the Ohio General Assembly chose the ladybug as the official state insect, citing attributes shared with the great people of the Buckeye State.

This orange-and-black or red-and-black speck of an insect (which is technically a beetle rather than a bug) is the size of a pencil eraser, and it brings a welcomed utility to orchardists and farmers alike. Ladybugs, as cute and dainty as they may be, are voracious predators of other bugs, including some destructive ones that are too small for the human eye to see.

A picture of assorted flowers

Looking for a quick and easy way to rejuvenate your garden and generate more plants? Then it’s time to dig in and divide your old or overcrowded perennials. It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to gain more plants. Division not only helps to control the size of aggressive perennials but will also revitalize new divisions so they bloom more freely and increase the overall performance for years to come.

Lavender grows in a pot.

The late spring and summer season are great times to fill your outdoor living space with the lively colors, textures, and fragrances of herbs grown in containers. Potted herbs bring instant visual attraction to your outdoors, and their portability allows you to position plants where they grow and look their best.

Just about any herb can be grown in a container, as long as the pot is sized right for the plant. Most culinary herbs are prime picks, especially familiar favorites like chives, parsley, mint, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil.

A monarch butterfly sits on a flower.

Many gardeners fill their space with flowers to attract butterflies, but how would you like to have a garden where the complete life cycle takes place? You can grow and raise your own butterflies, from eggs to interesting caterpillars to the beautiful winged creatures. With the right habitat, you can enjoy lepidoptera all season long and even host the same species in your garden year after year.

A picture of broccoli.

Many of us gardeners have our vegetable favorites, but truth be told, I’m a bit biased when it comes to broccoli. Not only do its flowers attract beneficial insects, but its culinary versatility and ease of growing make this cool-season favorite one of the most desirable vegetables to grow in the kitchen garden. When grown in the cool weather of spring or fall, the result is a sweeter-tasting head with gourmet flavor. Growing broccoli with sweet, tender, tasty heads is all about getting plants off to a good start, keeping them content, and heeding the signs.

A collection of eggplants in various stages of growth.

Years ago, I discovered that there is a lot to like about eggplant.

Aesthetically captivating, the plant’s gorgeous lavender flowers, followed by a glistening display of purple to purplish-black fruit, are a striking addition to the garden. Additional fruit color options include pearly white, soft orchid, and bright orange. Some varieties also produce fruits in various interesting shapes, from the classic oval to an elongated teardrop to long and slender or curved like a banana and even round balls that are the perfect size for shish kebabs.