2015 Garden Tour Writeup

Country Garden Tour 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015
Napoleon, OH
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Rain or Shine

$10.00 donation
to see all six gardens.
Tickets may be purchased at each garden site.

We would encourage car pooling, if possible, as some of the sites have restricted parking availability

All proceeds support the Henry County Historical Society, a registered 501 (c)3 not-for-profit organization

Henry County Historical Society Gardens
Henry County Fairgrounds – Napoleon

The Henry County Historical Society’s gardens at the historic gazebo and log house can be viewed on the south end of the fairgrounds. Near the house, the Native Garden demonstrates the traditional growing methods of the Indigenous Native people who grew the “three sisters” along the banks of the Maumee River during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The settler’s garden showcases gardening methods developed during the draining of the Great Black Swamp and will provide you with ideas for your own garden. Enjoy the taste of period teas made from the freshest herbs out of our 1860’s herb garden. Historical interpreters will be dressed in period attire to make history come alive for you as you explore. Garden tour tickets can be purchased under the gazebo.

Wesche Gardens
Mike & Kaye Wesche
16262 Co. Rd. M1, Napoleon

The lovely Wesche home is impressive on expansive acreage sloping to a serene natural woodland. As you enter the long drive you pass by Purple Mountain Ash trees.
In the front yard, notice the island of grasses and weeping cedar trees with a vegetable garden to tempt deer. A swimming pool and a pond are a natural flow from a beautiful patio area, great for summer leisure. The extensive perennial gardens feature coral bells, trailing sedum and various grasses. The Southwestern theme of the house is accented with wonderful garden art and large urns acquired by the owners in their travels. Large boulders were gathered from area fields and old barn foundations and mix with rock pathways. Imagine the peaceful evenings during all seasons!

Wiemken Gardens
Rose & Henry Wiemken
17447 Co. Rd. R, Napoleon

As you approach the front entranceway of this beautiful home, you will enjoy the all- white plantings including peonies and roses. Notice the two antique lamp posts in the front lawn which came from the BGSU campus years ago. Entering the backyard, it reflects Henry’s woodworking skills with multiple arches, a half gazebo, trellises, and a pergola. The garden features many perennials, grasses, daylilies and a bubbling water feature. A Victorian theme is evident with the many statuaries and a wisteria pergola creating a shaded seating area on a circular brick patio. A garden shed pretending to be a child’s playhouse sits beside a “bird garden” that attracts feathered friends. Don’t miss Rose’s collection of hand-blown glass orbs hanging from a crabapple tree creating an interesting shade garden. The Wiemkens can relax and enjoy the view from their lovely colorful patio.

Moll Gardens
Ruth & Stan Moll
12781 Co. Rd. T, Napoleon

When entering the Moll’s amazing gardens you will be greeted by large silhouettes built by family members showcasing their charming gardens. Shrubs, vines and trees structure the space and create shady canopies trained over many years. Grassy pathways weave among a variety of gardens – including roses, herbs and sun & shade fairy gardens. Ruth’s collection of whimsical garden art is truly enjoyable. A meandering natural living pond created years ago by Stan is home to pond life and bald cypress trees with knees. When you enter thru the doors behind their rustic country home you will be surprised by what is inside. A hidden “pool house” – a highlight of the tour!! Guinea birds are part of this truly special garden that shows Ruth and Stan’s lifelong love for gardening and hard work! Take a break Ruth!!

Kemm Gardens
Mary & Steve Kemm (son)
14-683 Co. Road Z, Napoleon

The Kemm Centennial Farm is off the beaten path. Upon entering, you see a shady woodland garden created over 65 years ago. Large trees including yellow wood, dawn redwood, & tri-color beech are grand specimens. The farm house has outbuildings that are true treasures to explore. A corncrib is adorned with potted flowers & ferns, wicker seating and a huge copper kettle water feature. A 100 year- old granary is now an enchanting “bunk house” full of antiques, comfy seating and a wood stove, making it a cozy hideaway for relaxing and reading. Off its veranda is a raised garden scattered with Mary’s collection of blue & white china. Look for “Phoebe” watching over her flowing perennial garden. Enjoy the displays of Mary’s garden hat creations. An large vegetable/herb garden is enclosed by picket fences and vintage doors created by Mary’s son Steve. As you wander around the huge yard, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Hope the campfire is burning!! Have a seat!!

Gardens at Johnson’s Gift Shoppe & Ice Cream Shoppe
Peggy & Phil Johnson
St. Rt. 108 – 1 mile south of fairgrounds

The Johnsons have established a unique garden space surrounding their business of 33 years – a gift shop and restaurant. The front yard is a mass of color with bright annuals carefully planned by Phil. Notice the antique farm wagon with pink petunias cascading down. As you go thru the gift shop and out the back door, you will find a true “country garden” reflecting Peggy’s artistic flair and use of repurposed garden art. Colorful annuals, perennials, and hostas create a backdrop for the many fairy gardens you will find. The gift shop offers a great selection of fairy garden supplies. Use this stop during the day to enjoy a delicious lunch, ice cream treat, or to use the restroom facilities. Take a food break in the backyard!!


The Henry County Historical Society was formed in 1970 to perpetuate the history of Henry County, Ohio, to learn about and preserve the artifacts of the county, and to generate interest in the past of the county. Our primary focus at this time is the completion of the restoration work on the beautiful Dr. John Bloomfield Victorian home, built circa 1879. This house is located at the corner of West Clinton and Webster streets in downtown Napoleon, across from the Napoleon Public Library. The house has been completely restored and is decorated with authentic period furnishings. Work is in progress on the carriage house and gardens. The home is open for special events, educational programs and private tours. We welcome new and old members alike to lend a hand and help us in our many programs and activities.

Okolona, Ohio

Okolona Band (Aug. 30, 1907). Henry Benien is sitting on the grass far right.

The first name chosen by the set­tlers for this village was Oakland. It was said that the name was chosen because the town was in the heart of the heavily timbered region of mainly oak trees. There was another Oakland in Fairfield County, Ohio, so another name had to be chosen. It was remem­bered by old timers of the area that a similar sounding name of Okolona was chosen.

Ferd Benien, Archbold, remembers that Okolona was a depot for furnish­ing fuel for the railroad in early days when the locomotives burned wood. The oak trees furnished ties for the railroad and oak timbers that were used in building ships.

The road from Ridgeville Corners to Okolona was macadamized in 1920. Directions to a stranger who wanted to go from the Corners to Okolona went something like this, “turn left when you have to, and right when you can;” but many still became lost and ended up in Napoleon. This same road also was called the Florida Road.

In 1918 there were the following business places in Okolona: The Farm­ers Elevator with William Navin as manager; William Helberg, building and supplies; George Karsner Hard­ware; William Heitman and Son Gen­eral Store; Brubaker and Aschemeir Grocery and Meats; H. C. Arpts had a machine, electric and auto repair shop. Edward Heitman was the postmaster.

1890 Description of Okolona

Okolona is a small town on the Wabash Railroad and is a prosperous little town. It is nicely located. The town is surrounded by rich black soil, very level with perfect drainage. The corn crop is fair, but of good quality, hence hogs are first class and com­mand the highest price. There are several saloons, two gro­cery-general stores, a furniture store, a blacksmith shop and a grain elevator. J. H. Benien is the proprietor of a large general store which is an old land­mark, having been established years ago. He enjoys a good custom and is well liked. Heitman and Schliesser are engaged in the same business, carrying a good stock and trade. Charles Kolbe and August Buntz are in the saloon business, being just enough opposition to make matters interesting.

The town is holding its own and has the facilities to grow.

Source: Henry County Paper — Napoleon North West News, December 11, 1890.

The above article is from Henry County, Ohio, Volume Two, A Collection of Historical Sketches and Family Histories Compiled by Members and Friends of The Henry County Historical Society. Dallas, TX, Taylor Publishing Co., pp. 303-304.