Travelogue: Lily Fest 2015
By Debra Knapke and Teresa Woodard
Undaunted, Teresa negotiated Little Cola Road, a narrow road that was purported to be a two lane road on the last leg of our trip to Lily Fest 2015 near Logan in Ohio’s scenic Appalachia country. Fortunately, most cars were going to Lily Fest, so we had few passing encounters. When we left, we had many more passing encounters. I’m not fond of tiny cars, but I would have greatly appreciated being in a Smart car!
After parking, we walked down the path with our guide Sheri Quick. Sheri not only led us to Lily Fest, but she introduced us to Bobbi Bishop. She and her late husband Bruce started Lily Fest in 1992 as a small event to show off their gardens. Bruce’s spirit still guides the festival, and his gardens are an inspiration to Midwest gardeners.
So, what did I find exciting?
Daylilies of every kind! My current favorite type is the spider form. Below is a spider-form daylily peeking through the leaves of a variegated giant reed grass (Arundo donax ‘Variegata’)
The gardens are a tapestry of green punctuated by blooms and varied-colored leaves. The bursts of color are balanced by the calming textural contrasts as evidenced below.
The art! Artful pieces are scattered throughout the garden. Below is a simple composition of shovels upended in the garden and painted. It is a subtle installation.
Many of the artists represented in the gardens were present in the booths that lined several pathways. I recognized some crafts people from other shows, but was happy to discover new adornments and ideas for the garden.
At the end of our visit, we passed one of the ponds. Visitors were sitting on benches and listening to the soulful flute music of Mark Thunderwalker Camden while viewing this rhapsody in pink: lotus, flamingos and a dusky Japanese maple.
Oh, I did find some chocolate, which is a must at any festival.
At Lily Fest, there’s a wonderful sense of community from the volunteers that helped us park cars to the greeters at the front gate to all the gardeners that volunteered for weeks prior to make the grounds so lovely.
Like Deb, I also appreciated the selection of juried artists including many with lily-inspired pieces — lily glass sculptures, lily stone statues and lily ironwork.
Lily Fest is also filled with plenty of garden whimsy from these kitschy garden pants to this charming cottage.
And, of course, we came to see the lilies!
Visit Lily Fest this weekend or check out these other upcoming Midwestern flower festivals:
- Chicago Botanic Garden — The Wisconsin-Illinois Lily Society Show this weekend (July 11-12), and the group’s bulb sale (Oct. 17-18)
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI — Chrysanthemums and More! (Sept. 18-Nov. 2)
- Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden — An exhibit featuring the “weird and wonderful world of Plants” (Now through Oct. 5)