Area gardens featured in annual event
July 12, 2017
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Lana Odenthal of Cranberry Township ejoys being outside with her two Labradors, Max and Cody, who are quite content to romp and lounge in the shade while she works in her garden.

CRANBERRY TWP — The Southern Butler County Garden Club on July 15 will host its Ninth Annual Garden Tour, featuring five gardens and a vendor village located throughout Cranberry Township and eastern Beaver County.

Lana Odenthal of Cranberry Township has one of the featured gardens on the tour. Odenthal hails from Dnestovsk, Moldova, where she lived until the age of 8 or 9, when her family moved to western Siberia.

She met her husband, Robert, who was in the oil and gas industry, and has lived in Anchorage, Alaska, and Houston before settling in Cranberry Township, where the growing seasons have been delightfully different.

“I think the unique and special features of our garden are the stone walls,” said Odenthal.

“We had two walls rebuilt when we moved in. We worked with the landscaper to find plants, bushes and trees that would thrive in our climate and then slowly added things that just stood out to me,” she explained. The couple has been working on the project for just over a year.

They became interested in gardening together shortly after their move from Houston.

“Houston's climate does not really lend itself to spending a lot of time outdoors. We could never have put something like this together there due to the extreme heat and humidity,” she said.

“I enjoy the outdoors, and my dogs like running around outside, so it was the perfect hobby to spend time outdoors and enjoy the weather here in southwestern Pennsylvania,” she added.

Their two Labradors, Max and Cody, are quite content to romp and lounge in the shade while the Odenthals do the dirty work.

Because she is new to gardening, Odenthal tends to go with her gut in selecting plants.

“I really do not know each plant and bush that is in here, but if like it and I feel it would go — I run with it,” she said

There is no plan or color scheme in mind, but it all comes together in colorful perfection. The garden is mostly comprised of perennials with a few annuals sprinkled in. “My favorite thing to see bloom are the lilacs,” she said.

“I am truly a novice at this and am learning more and more each day. While it is a lot of work, one might find it a very rewarding hobby. It lets me to relax and enjoy the outdoors.”

Proceeds from this year's garden tour will benefit the projects of the Southern Butler County Garden Club.

One of the new projects this year is “Planet Pink … Plant it Pink.”

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Lana Odenthal of Cranberry Township has one of the featured gardens on the Southern Butler County Garden Club’s Ninth Annual Garden Tour July 15.

“Last October members gathered to plant 500 pink tulips, hyacinth and narcissus bulbs at the main entrance of Passavant Hospital in Cranberry. Our bulbs provided a beautiful show in April for patients and visitors while promoting Breast Cancer Awareness,” said Karen Faust, garden club president.

The Blue Star Memorial Marker is a joint venture with Butler Garden Club.

“Together our clubs have selected a site on the new Duffy Road campus of VA Butler Healthcare. The marker will be dedicated in September shortly after the facility opens for patients,” said Faust.

National garden clubs have placed markers since 1944 to honor those veterans who have served, or currently serve, in the armed forces. It will be the second marker in Butler County.

Another recipient of Garden Tour funds is the Zelienople Historical Society.

“We recently learned they used last year's donation to purchase a bench for their new gazebo at Passavant House and will also do a rose bed,” Faust said.

This year the tour will feature a vendor village located at one of the homes on the tour.

“Gardeners are able to shop for garden-themed items such as gifts, plants, garden-inspired jewelry, birdhouses and baked goods,” Faust said.

She also noted that a food truck will be on hand along the route.

There also will be raffle tickets for baskets featuring a variety of high-end options including a dinner-and-opera basket.

Other baskets feature items from Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Pittsburgh Symphony and a variety of local business.