How Geneva volunteers turned a small patch of land into a fairy garden

  • Longtime gardening volunteers Beth Morgan and Dee Solon have transformed a small patch of land at Third and Hamilton streets in Geneva into a fairy garden.

    Longtime gardening volunteers Beth Morgan and Dee Solon have transformed a small patch of land at Third and Hamilton streets in Geneva into a fairy garden. Courtesy of Dave Heun

  • Running coach Jeff Horowitz, in red, and ploggers pick up trash near the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington. Plogging, where runners stop to pick up trash along their route, has been dubbed one of the fitness trends of the year.

    Running coach Jeff Horowitz, in red, and ploggers pick up trash near the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington. Plogging, where runners stop to pick up trash along their route, has been dubbed one of the fitness trends of the year. Photo by Kelyn Soong

 
 
Updated 7/6/2018 11:40 AM
This story was updated to reflect the correct location of the fairy garden.

One garden's loss in downtown Geneva has turned out to be another garden's gain.

Longtime gardening volunteers Beth Morgan and Dee Solon initially had a small garden spot assigned to them along State Street as part of the Geneva Beautification Committee's planting program.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Then we got an email that said the committee had to cut that section in half, so Dee and I were wondering what we could do with such a small area," Morgan said.

They knew that the concept of a "fairy garden" was becoming popular as part of people's gardens. To my untrained eye, I would call these fairy gardens similar to a kid's dollhouse or a small diorama.

Regardless, when the committee moved the area the two ladies were responsible for to the corner of Third and Hamilton streets, the opportunity and space were there to create a fairy garden.

And it has turned out to be an interesting eye-catcher.

"We set it up as kind of a social experiment when we first did it on State Street," Morgan said. "If things were going to be taken from it, we wouldn't do it again. If they weren't, we'd do it again."

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As it turns out, only a few small items had been removed over time at State Street, and some people have actually left items to add to the setting, Morgan said.

"So far, so good," she added about the new location. "Overall, no one has taken anything."

They didn't spend a lot of money on the project, "just in case it ended up disappearing," Morgan said.

The idea does come with some experience behind it, as Morgan is in charge of the Kids on a Mission program at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva. And those kids made small fairy garden pots as Mother's Day gifts.

But the showcase piece for fairy garden fans sits at Third and Hamilton streets.

"Many people have come by and said how much they enjoy it," Morgan said. "One man came by and said he had one at his home, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It also could be that maybe people are just being nice because they see us out there weeding in the hot weather," Morgan said with a laugh.

Dashing for doughnuts: The Geneva Community Chest figures it has a pretty solid combination in place -- the opportunity to participate in a fundraising 5K event and have a doughnut to top it off.

Thus, the second Donut Dash 5K walk/run will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 14, at the Gunnar Forest Preserve behind the Kane County Government Center in Geneva.

A one-mile event for children ages 7 to 12 is also offered, as well as "Munchkin" run for those 6 and younger.

The Geneva Community Chest and sponsor State Bank of Geneva know what makes this thing click. In its press release about the event, they say "most importantly … donuts at the finish line for all participants!"

Thanks to Hahn's Bakery and Dimple Donuts, that indeed is the treat waiting at the end of the race. Limestone Café supplies the coffee, and gluten-free baked goods, water and energy drinks will also be available.

Those interested in participating can register at geneva5k.com. It costs $35 for the Donut Dash 5K, $15 for the youth run and $10 for the Munchkin Fun Run ($15 if your "munchkin" wants a T-shirt).

You have to 'plocka upp': It's a nice thing for the neighborhood, but somewhat annoying that my wife often stops on our walks to pick up trash along the way.

And there's never any shortage of things that could be picked up -- from empty, or partially empty, fast-food bags and cups to empty beer bottles and cigarette packs.

Thanks to a recent Daily Herald article, at least we now know what this is called -- plogging. It's the art of picking up trash during your routine runs or walks. It's popular in Sweden, where the term for picking up, or "plocka upp," has been combined with jogging.

Some folks pick up full bags of trash during their runs. We're not in that category, but I now find myself picking up trash as well on occasion.

We have the luxury of tossing this stuff in a few garbage cans in nearby parks, but it wouldn't surprise me if sometime in the future we become full-fledged ploggers.

We're generally in a hurry on our walks -- to get home and get ready for work or some other task at hand. And we always have our dog with us. So, when we're retired, look out. There might be some busy ploggers in our neighborhood.

Water everywhere: The closing of Island Park in Geneva last week because it was partly under water from all of our rain, serves as Exhibit A as to why the park district decided to move its Wednesday night summer concert series to River Park instead.

Each heavy rain these days turns Island Park into a water park -- and that's just not a good fit.

But something could become an even more pressing matter. Are we going to go to any outdoor stuff this summer if the heavy rain totals in June equate to a bumper crop of mosquitoes?

It makes one start to think that winter gets a bad rap around here.

Not lord of flies: As if the hot weather hasn't made it tricky enough to take a pleasant walk each morning, we get another nemesis making things tough.

What is it with the flies buzzing around and biting in the morning? Maybe they aren't horse flies, but they are some type of annoying bug buzzing and biting around my head.

Has anyone else encountered this when walking your dog or exercising?

Are these darn things attracted to me because I smell so sweet? Or is that I emit the other far less pleasant fragrance that flies are attracted to?

Either way, they don't give up their pestering too easily.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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