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Garden Ramble in its 22nd year
By JENNIFER BROWN, For the JG/T-C| Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 3:00 am |(0) Comments
CHARLESTON — The Garden Ramble on Dr.Wesley’s Whiteside’s farm is in its 22nd consecutiveyear, sponsored by the Coles County HistoricalSociety and garnering $1-per-person donations asguests arrived on Memorial Day weekend.Whiteside, a retired botany professor of EasternIllinois University, has been gardening since 1962.He bought the expansive acreage and has groomedit to include thousands of plants and flowers over theyears.“I started planting inthe spring of 1962 and I losteverything to a brush fire,” Whiteside said. “In theprocess of planting, I emphasized native plants.”Thehistoryof the Garden Rambledates back to
1987 when Whiteside wasgetting ready to retire
from the university. He was appointed to the ColesCounty HistoricalSociety by Bob Hennings, and a
field trip to see wildflowers was suggested.“It was Millie Havacker’s idea to call it a Garden Ramble,” Whiteside said. At the first ramble, the group only expected 15 visitors. With each year, the number of guests hasincreased and donations to the historical society have been sufficient.In the beginning, Whiteside would give tours to his guests. In recent years, he has let the guests come tothe ramble and take self-guided tours of his property.The water gardens are a special part of Whiteside’s garden.“I’ve had the water lilies for years and years,” Whiteside said. “Water lilies rarely die in the water.”The water gardens on Whiteside’s property are made from the same material used to manufactureswimming pools. The gardens are made of plastic and lined with rubber on the inside.“Lilies should be divided in the spring or they get little and dinky,” Whiteside said.This summer, Whiteside has taken in an intern from EIU, Bradley Daugherty, a senior environmental major.Daugherty has worked alongside Whiteside the past few weeks preparing for the Garden Ramble.“I help to weed and maintenance the plants,” Daugherty said. “I plan to get more involved as time goes on.”Generally, Whiteside goes without any help on his property.“I think there are thousands of plants, and that’s just an estimate,” Daugherty said. He heard aboutWhiteside’s garden from his professors at EIU and decided to document it this summer.“Things that were in bloom last year are now gone,” Whiteside said. “Things are unusually early this year.”Whiteside said the trees and shrubbery stand more stable than the flowers in the garden.When a water district moved east of Charleston, Whiteside requested the contractors install hydrants ontohis land.“I asked if I could have a line sent under the creek,” Whiteside said. “My plants are large and they bloom alot.”The deer on Whiteside’s property are the largest predator against his blooming flowers. To conquer thisproblem, he has put together a soapy formula to keep the deer away.“If I see evidence of damage, I use Irish Spring soap in three to four gallons of water,” Whiteside said.
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1 adult, 3 kids die in crash Accused in domestic incident, former Coleschief deputy arrestedMan lying in road hit, killed Saturday nightWoman files second order of protection requestagainst former chief deputyMore closings: Area schools call off ThursdayclassesPolice investigating suspicious vehicle fireWinter's worst storm to bring ice, then snow toColes County regionEIU classes canceled, area schools closedTuesday due to storm
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