Guest Blogger: Susanne Kondracke, Executive Director of The Friends of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden


IMG_4339Day two of The Friends’ visit to Lakeside was glorious from start to finish. We greeted the day with an inspiring morning in Hoover Auditorium. The Ecumenical service was moving. Seeing the children joyfully parade off to Sunday School brought joy. The music, the messages, the sense of community, faith and hope set the tone for the day.

Upon exiting magnificent Hoover, the sun was shining in all its glory. Many of us walked the streets of Lakeside and got a sneak peek at the award-winning gardens on Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile.

I fell in love with a fuchsia calla lily in one special garden and marveled at the beauty throughout the entire community. (They say that there are ten miles of walking paths in one-mile Lakeside. Is that even mathematically possible? I think so.)

How would I describe Lakeside in one word: oasis? retreat? utopian? I know that it is good for the soul.

Aside from the obvious scenic beauty, we are surrounded by extraordinarily talented people:

  • A doctor of theology who had the vision to bring us to this place at this time.
  • Musicians who share their gifts and evoke feelings of nostalgia.
  • Artists who capture the beauty of the Earth with a brush, canvas and oil paints.
  • Gardeners who create masterpieces of their own just outside their front doors.
  • Visionaries and risk-takers who have created places where nature can be celebrated and appreciated by thousands each year.
  • Friends who have come from near and far to share their passion for plants and flowers, trees and bees.

There have been many serendipitous moments which have brought The Friends together for these four days. Aren’t we lucky?

For the next two days, we will hear from treasured English garden designer Amanda Patton; we eagerly await her words of wisdom. Heck, we just like hearing her say words like “schedule.” She is a gem and we are fortunate to be enjoying time with her amidst this Norman Rockwell setting.