Rock Gardens and Your Serenity


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Rock Gardens and Your Serenity

With winter on the way out and warm weather on the way to Morrow County, Ohio, I wanted to share something about landscaping. I especially loved this article because it describes making a serenity garden and why serenity gardens are so great.

By Joshua M. Smith, Ph.D.

The Rock Garden Plant Primer: Rock Gardens and Your Serenity

Click here to buy this book!

Rock Gardens and Your Serenity

Rock Garden

Rock Gardens are a great way to spice up the average garden of flowers and plants. Rock shapes come in so many various forms from rough and sharp to smooth and round, giving you a wide variety of moods to create. That’s what rocks do; they help establish a mood for your garden scene. Unlike what many garden “experts” will say, rocks are not mere ornaments for the garden that add a piece of strength or are a nice addition to water features.

I believe they have a living essence that needs to be focused on and appreciated. I want people to realize that rocks can be used in the garden design and not merely regarded as a wall to separate walkways etc. Here is a good example of a rock garden working with the plants surrounding it:

Rocks also come a variety of colors that allow you to color coordinate your scene. For example, it is fairly easy to arrange an orange-reddish New Mexico look with sandstone. What is difficult however is naturally blending this type of scene into and area that is far away from the Southwest area of the US. In the following picture you can see how a gardener is a making use of a very unique rock:

A point to keep in mind when designing your rock garden is that rocks have character. A rock garden is not a brick stoned path or mere stepping stones! When choosing your location a slightly elevated area with a slope would be a good choice for natural drainage.

Lava rocks have become somewhat popular lately, however if you have the extra money I would advise finding a rock that is either local to your area or has some interesting features you can use to accentuate your garden.

If you sketch out a rough idea of what type of garden you want and where some of your larger rock placements will be, this will help you choose the appropriate rocks either at your garden center, like Grand Island Serene Gardens or a local rock quarry. Take note, Japanese gardens have taken the rock garden to an art form. Look into Japanese rock gardens to get some insight into creating your own designs. A good nursery will have a variety of stones and people to help you with choosing and delivering. Don’t forget that the delivery aspect of getting those rocks home with you. If you have an artistic hand or your own creative idea you have decided on then this makes the process easier. However, many people only have a vague idea of what they want, so at least bringing in a photo of the area you with to turn into a rock garden will be helpful for the garden designer.

It is a good idea to dig about 3 inches down and have a gravel or sand base to the garden. You can even mix in some broken ceramics to aid in drainage. This will give the larger rocks some stability. Start with laying the largest rocks first and then position the smaller ones after. You can mix topsoil and/or mulch in between the rocks; a darker soil really brings out the colors and definitions of the rocks. A moss or other type of low spreading plant would be a nice balance. This type of garden is a very low maintenance garden. If you wish to get your hands a little dirtier and add various colors each year you can also add in perennials and annuals native to your zone.

Rock gardens are a low maintenance way to add an air of sophistication and subtlety to your garden.

For more ideas for your rock garden check out a site about Japanese gardens at []

Joshua M. Smith, Phd., got his degree at Osaka University studying Japanese Culture and Sociology. A professional shakuhachi bamboo flute teacher and performer, he is also the owner of [].

Article Source:,_Ph.D.

Maple Syrup Time Is Here


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The official start of spring is two weeks away, but get ready to start tapping your maple trees and boiling sap, because according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) it’s maple syrup time in Ohio.

Morrow County and Making Maple Syrup

I grew up in Morrow County and making syrup each spring was something we just did – at least while my grandparents were both still living.

Grandpa and his brothers had worked in a Morrow County sugar camp near the small town of Climax, which is where syrup was made in the early 1900’s – and still is in a few places today – so even though it was a lot of work for a very small amount of syrup, the fresh, homemade syrup was kind of a nod to his personal history, and to our family’s culture.

I hope you’ll enjoy this ODNR video about step one of the time honored tradition of making maple syrup – tapping the trees _ which is one part of the community’s maple syrup-making history – even though not too many people practice this nearly lost art today.

How to Tap a Maple Tree

Landscape Services by Landscaping Contractors and Architects


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Ohio Getting Started Garden Guide: Grow the Best Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Vines & Groundcovers (Garden Guides)

Click here to buy this book!

When doing a landscape project it can be difficult to choose between having a landscape architect doing the design, a landscaping contractor building the project or doing it one’s self. Many of the factors to consider include budget, how much money to spend, time, how long will it take to do everything, effort, how much work has to be done. Trees, flowers, shrubs and other plants have to be selected along with materials such as brick, stone, concrete and wood. Additional considerations might be weather, climate, irrigation and drainage. For routine maintenance, landscape contractors can save time doing lawn care, raking and disposing of leaves in fall.

Landscape Services by Landscaping Contractors and Architects

By Jim H.

There are many factors to consider in landscape design. Landscaping can be a do-it-yourself project or can be done by landscape professionals like landscape architects and contractors. Some of the first things to consider are money, time and effort. A budget should be determined to limit overspending. The amount of time and work put into landscaping should also be taken into account. Some other factors might include climate, soil and regulations. Normally, the first step in landscaping is planning. Computer software can be used to model the property being landscaped. Maps and blueprints might be drawn up to show the layout of features and boundaries. Photographs may be taken along with notes to help fill in details. Once the big picture can be seen, lists are made for the types of materials to be used, the types of plants to be added and the tools and equipment that will be needed to do the work.

At the beginning stage of landscape planning, the elements and theme need to be decided. Water issues have to be addressed such as irrigation and drainage. Installing an irrigation system may require a professional landscaping contractor. Pipes, sprinklers and timer with electrical system should be included in landscaping plans. If the landscaping theme includes swimming pools, waterfalls, fountains or a pond, a landscaping service should also be considered. The amount of light should be taken into account when landscaping.

The types of trees and plants can be a factor in achieving a balance between sun and shade. Different types of lighting at nighttime can add to a landscape’s effects. These include up lighting where lights shine from below, down lighting, silhouetting or the addition of lamps, floodlights, or lanterns. Various types of themes are possible but generally depend on the region and the climate. Desert themes that use cactus and plants that are used to dry environments and tropical themes would be more appropriate for warmer climates. Other types of themes might be Japanese, mountain or a winter theme with evergreens.

Some of the preliminary landscaping tasks that might have to be done before planting include soil testing. The pH level has to be set to the type of plants being used. Plant nutrients might also have to be added.

The types of materials to be used may depend on the structures to be built on the landscape. Walkways, steps, paving and retaining walls might require materials used in masonry like brick, stone, sand and concrete. Decks, gazebos, gates and trellises as well as a fence might require a large amount of wood.

Depending on the task and the materials used, the types of tools and equipment should be selected. Shovels, mattocks and wheelbarrows might be needed when working with dirt. Working with wood might require a saw, hammer and screwdriver as well as a lever, tape measure and drill.

The different plants that should be taken into account include trees, shrubs, grass, flowers and hedges. Some of the popular types of trees include cedar, ash, walnut, popular, oak, fir and pine. Popular flowers include daisies, lilies, aster, iris, tulips, daffodils and rose bushes.

The amount of maintenance with associated tasks also has to be considered when planning a landscape. These tasks include but are not limited to cleaning, fertilizing, lawn care, leaf removal in fall and mowing along with other types of yard work. In winter, snow removal tasks such as salting would have to be considered for its effects on plants that are part of the landscape. If a landscaped property requires too much maintenance for the owners to do it themselves or if a special project or task has to be done, landscape professionals should be brought in to help, especially for very large problems.

There are tree services that can remove dead trees and stumps. Landscape contractors can also perform certain construction tasks like building terraces, driveways, swimming pools and baseball fields. They can also take over routine jobs like grounds keeping, lawn care, pruning, raking and snow removal in winter. Some landscape service companies perform landscape architect design as well as contracting.

Planning, designing, building, raking, pruning and mowing lawns are just some of the landscaping services [] that are performed by landscaping designers and landscape contractors []. When planting grass for a new lawn, they can do soil testing and optimum tree and plant selection. Other landscaping tasks that can be tackled include small construction projects like building a deck, pond or wall either for privacy or retaining earth. Irrigation problems and water drainage can be addressed by installing an irrigation system for watering plants while creating dry wells, berms and ditches for water runoff when it rains.

Landscapers provide services for many different types of property whether residential, commercial or industrial. Home landscaping might include the addition of a swimming pool, lawn or garden while business landscaping might include groundskeeping, planting shrubbery and adding mulch. Office buildings, golf courses, cemetaries, baseball fields and common areas are just some of the facilities that landscapers service. Landscapers can help with problems such as codes, plant and tree diseases, insects, pests, stumps, traffic and weeds.

Some of the additional facitities that landscape companies can service include apartment buildings, college and school campuses, highway medians and roads, hospitals, parks, playgrounds, shopping malls and other recreation areas. While many businesses hire landscape contractors for groundskeeping the home owner may decide to build their own landscaping project. If time and complexity are significant factors, however, landscape architects and landscaping contractors can help with their services.

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Blooming Grove, Ohio


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Take a look at a map of Morrow County Ohio’s north-eastern corner, and you’ll spot a little burg called Blooming Grove.

Blooming Grove, OhioBlooming Grove, Ohio

Locals know Blooming Grove as the home to the best you-pick strawberry farm around, but the community has a rich history that predates the berry farm found there today.

Birthplace of Warren Harding

The baby that grew up to run the Marion Star newspaper before becoming the 29th President of the United States, Warren Gamaliel Harding, was born in Blooming Grove (though, at the time of his birth it was called Corsica.)

Harding’s birth home has since been demolished, but a commemorative sign stands to mark the site of this historic home.

North Bloomfield Township

North Bloomfield is the township name for where Blooming Grove stands. The closest city is Galion, and much of the North Bloomfield, and therefore Blooming Grove, population, is served by Galion postal service and – back when land lines were still popular – telephone service.

Records Search in Morrow County, Ohio



If you’re doing research for anything that involves public records in Morrow County, this should (hopefully) get you pointed in the right direction.

Records Search in Morrow County

The type of records you are looking for will determine where you should begin your search.

  • If you are looking for genealogical records or historical documents, the Morrow County Historical Society should be your first point of contact – it’s located by the LIbrary, but I saw on Facebook that it’s moving up to a building in the square – I’ll update with the address when I get more details.
  • If you are looking for records about land ownership, visit the County Commissioner’s office.
  • For court records, visit the courthouse.

Morrow County,  Ohio Public Records

To gain access to public records, you can visit the county website’s Public Records Request page.

  • The records are available to view between 8A.M. and 4P.M. in the County Commissioner’s office – the website says Monday through Friday – but it seems like I heard they aren’t open Fridays anymore, so call them at (419)947-4085 to confirm the office’s hours before driving up.
  • There is a form available on the website that you can print out to request public records. The county website says the form is not required, but it helps the person retrieving the information for you find what you need a little faster.
  • The only cost is the cost of printing out copies – a quarter for each black and white page and fifty cents per colored page.

Morrow County Courthouse Records

Every case that moves through the court system leaves a paper trail behind in the form of courthouse records.

  • According to the Court Records website, one of the biggest roadblocks to finding desired information is not knowing how the system works. Their website offers more information on that, as well as extra tips on how to search through court records to find the information you need.

Bloomfield, Ohio


I have found numerous references to the unincorporated community of Bloomfield in Morrow County, Ohio. I have as yet been unable to find any information about its location or size.

There are two Bloomfield townships, North Bloomfield and South Bloomfield, each on opposite ends of Morrow County.

This page will be updated as information comes to light, and if you have any information about this unincorporated community, please leave a comment to share where it is, or drop me an email at so I can add the data here to properly replace this marker page.

Sparta, Ohio

The village of Sparta is nestled in the southeastern corner of Morrow County, Ohio.

This small village is situated on a 0.09 square mile parcel of land, and (according to the 2010 US Census) is home to 161 residents with a median age of 40.6 years of age.

Sparta is served, educationally, by the Highland school system.


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