JOHNSBURG - Whenever I ask for advice from other gardeners on whose garden I should cover next, the Dunlaps always come up. When I pulled into their driveway at the end of W. Hitchcock Road in Bakers Mills, it became obvious why their talents were so renowned.
Harris and Ginger are people with energy and creativity, and these traits shine through in their garden, which is organized into a m lange of various plots winding throughout their expansive yard.
"We play with the color, shape and composition of things in our garden," said Ginger, perhaps not a surprising approach considering her 33 year career as an art teacher at Johnsburg Central School. "When you look over the garden horizon, you want to see something that brings you joy. It's the garden as a whole and the feng shui of it."
At one time, the whole area that is now their impressive garden was all used to house sled dogs. While Harris also has a background in art, having studied art in Europe and holding a masters degree in fine art, he and Ginger bred and trained sled dogs for 21 years.
Today, the kennels are gone and the center piece of the garden is undoubtedly the stream that runs through it, pooling into a pond that is traversable via a footbridge. I crouched with Harris at the mouth of the stream as he ladled up a cup full of the delicious artesian spring water for me to sample.
He hiked half-way up Eleventh Mountain to the spring that tapped and piped several hundred feet down to his property to feed his little stream.
Peppermint and Spearmint covered the ground near the stream-mouth, and several little paths wound away from the water to plots of double bloom lily varieties and coneflowers, blood red dahlias and flamingo-pink gladiolas. Trellises placed here and there harbored morning glory and clematis.