Guest Blogger: Cheryl Harner, Lakesider and Weedpicker’s Journal Blogger

It’s no secret that Lakeside has one of the most beautiful lakefronts in Ohio, if not the entire U.S. It has officially declared the one-mile stretch of its walking path as  “Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile.

Against the backdrop of idyllic lake scenes and sailboats, lie the parks and the shoreline of landscape plantings. It’s easy to understand why we love Lakeside and why artists and photographers are compelled to capture its beauty.

It’s no wonder people came from all across Ohio to the gardening lecture, “Painting Ohio in Broad Brush Strokes.”  Lakeside was the ideal location to study landscape design and the new movement toward a new Naturalism, as seen in Europe.

The program kicked off with three people who have made real strides in adding native plants into the landscape at the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden.

Former Ohio First Lady Hope Taft came up with a marvelous idea to showcase the best of Ohio’s floristic bounty into sectional gardens at the Governor’s residence. She enlisted landscape designer Dewey Hollister and native plant expert Guy Denny to create a Heritage Garden. It is open for touring – just tap on this link for details. Taft is an amazing force for nature and still remains active in the development of the landscape gardens at the historic Ohio Governor’s Residence.

Lakeside, in conjunction with the Ohio Governor’s Residence, hosted a tour, which allowed Amanda Patton to travel with this special event. Patton gave 4 educational programs in all, entitled “Towards a New Naturalism: All Gardening is Landscape Painting.”

She described the parallels between art and landscape design. One should develop a landscape using the principles of good art design and the elements which guide those principles. Art based landscapes have balance and are pleasing to the eye. The Fibonacci Sequence, the Golden Ratio and focal points matter. Artist Luca Pacioli said, “Without mathematics there is no art.”

The second day of lectures focused on creating natural gardens and illustrated many examples of contemporary works in Europe. It was interesting to see our prairie landscape being utilized in landscape design an ocean away. I highly recommend browsing Patton’s website  for more examples of this exciting trend at

There are many benefits to this new naturalism and native plants in landscape. Nature make us feel good.  Native plants are more sustainable, and they sustain the fauna, which we enjoy. They are environmentally beneficial and require less labor to maintain.

Part of the event included field trips to natural areas like the Lakeside Daisy preserve, Castalia’s Prairie and Sheldon’s Marsh. These places are all wonderful examples of Ohio’s best natural areas and preserves.

During the course of our many walks, we admired the landscapes and plants found within Lakeside. At one point,  Dewey Hollister had a realization about the lovely hydrangea species growing within the gated community, and perhaps unknowingly, how the good people of Lakeside have preserved them for prosperity. We’ll discuss these hydrangeas in a future blog. For now, let’s just admire one of the many pollinators that was gathering sustenance at its fertile blooms.

Cheryl Harner is a Lakesider who shares her thoughts and words about the beauty of Lakeside on her blog, Weedpicker’s Journal. Her childhood interest in wildflowers and butterflies developed into a life-long love of gardening and a fascination with the connections between plants, insects and birds. Read more stories from Cheryl Harner’s blog, by visiting