By Jane Zachman –
Ripley’s first ever garden tour was held during this year’s Rural Heritage Festival. Organizer Dr. Sara Goldsberry said,” All the attendees enjoyed visiting the 15 lovely gardens featured on the tour.”
It began at Dr. Sara’s home on 3rd Street with a house tour leading to her private backyard hillside cottage garden. Visitors could climb the stone steps to a blue slate walkway surrounded by ornamental trees and a variety of annuals and perennials.
Perhaps the highlight of the tour was the next stop, the garden of Mick and Jeanne Grant. Jeanne, a very talented artist, had her series of summer and garden series paintings on display in the garden. Such an outdoor gallery of beautiful work is rarely seen.
Continuing on 3rd Street, walkers enjoyed Danny and Martha Fithen’s colorful front yard and structural backyard that featured a fish pond and stone sculpture. Across the street was Larry and Patty Fithen;s lovely craftsman home with a delux playhouse in the backyard as well as colorful flowers and a fish pond.
Moving on to 2nd Street, the garden tour walkers enjoyed the antique delights displayed in the yard of Judith Gray and enjoyed a glass of tea. This was followed by a tour of the Ripley Museum and its beautifully decorated back yard. The displays at the museum were created by Don and Cindy Thompson who are part of the Ripley Heritage organization.
When participants reached Front Street along the river they viewed John P. Parker Park and were able to walk in his footsteps as a freed American slave who aided hundreds of escapees to freedom.
Next was the garden at the 1837 Carey Alexander Campbell home currently owned by Don and June Zipperian. In addition to the planting beds participants had a close look at the beautiful Victorian wrap-around porch lovingly restored by Mr. Zipperian.
Continuing with historical homes, the next was the 1820 home built by Nathaniel Collins, the first mayor of Ripley and owned by Thomas Collins, a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
The home and beautiful annual garden is owned by Jerry and Hylda Strange. Dulcimer music from Jerry’s music group added an extra touch. A house tour was featured next in the home of Tom and Jane Zachman. This home was built by Tom’s great-great grandparents.
Traveling a few houses down the street, the walkers viewed the new enclosed entertainment area of Marsha and Leonard Fitzwater which was beautifully decorated by Larry and JoAnn May who live next door. Their corner garden was also on display on the way to the Front Street memory garden created by JoAnn May and Roberta Gaudio in memory of their mother. The garden is maintained by Marlene Frodge.
Topping off the tour was the hidden garden of Ben and Kim Pedigo which featured designer-like touches of wrought iron wall planters, wall art and an array of plants.
Their daughter Grace entertained with the cello. Last but not at all least was the giant pumpkin of Al and Beth Ligget named Mabel. It weighs over 500 pounds and is headed to be on display at the Brown County Fair. It is located in the Ripley Community Garden.
All the gardeners would like to thank Walt Orlowsly who was Dr. Goldsberry’s co-coordinator and also took photos of all the gardens during the tour.