OTTAWA COUNTY, Ohio — There's a lot of noise in the world right now, but if we turn our eyes and ears away from the babble of politics, the fear, and the rancor, there are quiet places to find refuge.
And sometimes those places are as close as your own back yard.
In rural Ottawa County, one of those quiet places is found at the Jensen house.
It's where Ed and Terri Jensen have taken their time this year to find comfort in the simple and silent labor of coaxing colors from the loam.
Every year, they create constellations of gardens and stones. Gardens where the water flows, and winds whisper among the flowers and green leaves, while insects and birds talk among themselves. This year though, they've had more time at home than usual and have been able to sculpt and tend their gardens with even greater focus and toil.
The reward for this labor is an artful and quiet refuge of more than a dozen gardens around their century-old farmstead home that could grace any magazine cover. These gems of plant life are a treasure of planning and purpose. A wealth of color: Lillies, petunias, coneflowers, wisteria, impatiens and iris, hydrangeas, succulents, and hostas and many others that offer a bouquet of fragrance and fascination. Some of the garden plots are also enriched with carefully placed antiques of bed frames, old farm implements, statuary, pump handles and bird feeders.
Each garden has a name. The Jensens say one is called the “piano” because of its shape, another is the “figure eight”, the “fountain” and even the “forgotten” garden on the other side of the house.
The Jensens freely admit that it's not easy work to tend to these demanding and often delicate life forms. Like children, they require steady attention, nurturing and care. In the spring and summer, it means planting the annuals, pulling weeds, clipping dead stems and leaves, and in the summer, watering, more weeding, and pruning. By late fall, it's time to get the beds ready for another season. Dedication to such an endeavor is key, imagination is motivating, but the perspiration to make this summer magic is as essential as the gentle rains to grow them.
It often means hours of being down on your hands and knees in the hot sun, weeding, pruning, and shaping, down close to the ground, where the hope of any garden grows.
But at the end of the day, when the sun is setting over the surrounding fields, the Jensens and those who come by to this paradise, can sit, ponder and enjoy the peace of it all.
Thanks to all the gardeners, like the Jensens, who even in a world that talks too much, create these quiet places, away from the noise.