Mt. Lebanon Library
Garden Tour 2013
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Dave and Lois Bodnar
After purchasing their 1920ís bungalow ten years ago, Dave and Lois began extensive work renovating the landscape surrounding their new home. They saw enormous potential in the small hillside backyard. Some of the initial work included removing eight overgrown or dying trees and restoring the garden pond that had been filled in for decades. Dave, an active woodworker, removed an old wooden hot tub and salvaged its Jarrah wood for later use with the garden railroad, a G-scale model that winds its way through the new backyard.
A perennial garden established along the left of the driveway includes daylilies, coneflowers, daisies, mums, asters, stonecrop, amsonia, bee balm, and phlox. The area to the right of the driveway has a variety of shrubs including peonies, clethra, lavender, anemone. A thoughtful addition among the shrubs is a dawn redwood, a deciduous conifer tree that sheds its reddish orange needles in the fall. Once climbing up the stairs to the backyard, the visitor is greeted with lush green plants that thrive in lower light conditions, such as ferns, hostas, ivy and hydrangeas. Rose bushes, daphne and lilac trees lend fragrance through the summer months.
The centerpiece of the backyard is the 650 gallon pond that provides an environment for fish, frogs, floating plants and potted aquatic plants. Numerous large birds, such as herons and hawks, have paid visit to the pond and its inhabitants. One-third of the pondís area is made up of a filtering bog full of plants and over 1000 pounds of lava rock that make up a well balanced biological filter. This system works so well it has not needed to be cleaned or disturbed in its nine year lifetime.
The garden railroad is seamlessly integrated into the complex hillside topography. With virtually no flat ground for the tracks, the route is made up of many trestles and two bridges built from the reclaimed hot tubís wood. As the garden trains navigate over 200 feet of track, they pass by the pond, go through two tunnels and visit two small towns. The business of the railroad is to transport coffee beans throughout the route. A second, smaller and more whimsical train starts inside of the coffee mine and carries prehistoric coffee beans to the coffee refinery. You can also see an espresso well that pumps Cretaceous Caffeine!
The plant in the pond (seen in the photos taken in early July) sprouted about 12" yesterday and flowered this morning. It is now at least 6 feet tall! Excellent!
This photo shows the same plant in early July.
The guy in the out house peeked out from time-to-time.
The live video from the camera on the train (above) was on the iPad (below)
A small mishap!