Crestwood Civic Club Garden Tour

2012 tour features natural habitat garden

Bellings turn their farm
into a natural oasis of beauty

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (June 2012) – Since purchasing her Crestwood property in 1998, Lori Belling has altered the landscape dramatically for multiple purposes.
Countless hours were spent in transforming a five-acre barren cocoon into what can now be considered a beautiful butterfly.
“We bought the property and completely changed it,” said Belling. Half of the 5.124 acres are in woods and half in full sunlight and tall grasses. Four areas of meadows contain native plants.
It is these meadows that are Bellings’ favor it spot. “When they’re in full bloom, they’re beautiful,” she said.

Civic Club's
Garden Tour Sites

• Bob and Kathy Dunn, 1504 Harrod Dr.
• Paul and Stephanie Virg, 3009 Kentucky Oaks Ct.
• Craig and Lori Belling, Meadowview Farm and Natural Habitat Gardens, 2005 Meadowview Dr.
• Tickets: $17 & $12
• Information: (502) 265-0376

The Bellings’ Meadowview Farm and Natural Habitat Gardens will be one of three gardens featured in the 2012 Crestwood Civic Club Garden Tour and Luncheon on June 15. Tour hours are from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. beginning at the Crestwood Civic Clubhouse, 7215 Kavanaugh Rd. Luncheon seating times are 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Also included in the tour is a plant sale at the clubhouse. This annual tour is a fundraiser for the club. Club members have furnished many of the plants for sale, as well as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Feed & Seed Depot and Minish & Potts.
“We support a lot of charities in Oldham County,” said Civic Club member Carla Jones. “Our main focus is our scholarship program.”
Belling grew up outside Detroit and moved to Kentucky in 1984. Her family is originally from Murray, Ky., and she and husband, Craig, have lived in Oldham County since 1998. At one time, her husband operated a 400-acre farm in western Minnesota.
In addition to raising many native plants, the Bellings have established a food production garden on their property, selling the excess produce to restaurants and the local farmer’s market. They specialize in heirloom plants, getting many of their seeds or plants from Seed Savers Exchange.
Belling, who is a Master Gardener, said she raises heirloom vegetable varieties “for their history. I research them before making a purchase. The flavor of heirloom varieties is a distinctly different flavor. Also, the genetics are different on these plants.”

Lori Belling

Photo provided

Lori Belling of Crestwood, Ky.,
is among three property owners
who will showcase their gardens in
June during the Crestwood Civic Club’s
annual Garden Tour and Lunch event.

Among couple’s offerings from their production gardens are rare black popcorn, three varieties of Native American corn ground on site, six varieties of hand crafted garlic and seven varieties of heirloom dried beans. She raises many other vegetables from which she makes jellies and “a lot of baked goods,” said Belling. “I’ve done a lot of reading on how to grow Native American plants and how to get our yield up.”
The Bellings are strong advocates of sustainable production methods. Anything taken off of the land is put back in the form of composting. Grass clippings are used as mulch and greatly reduce the need for weeding while also providing soil stability through temperature and moisture moderation.
They began wildlife habitat restoration of the property in the spring of 2003, allowing native plants found on the property to grow and expand. They also grew native plants for predator habitat to eliminate the need for chemicals. These native plantings are nestled among their cultivated production gardens.
The couple continually improves the soil with the addition of organic materials and a minimum use of tillage equipment. The Bellings like to educate others about the use of native plants for home scale gardening and habitat restoration.
After undergoing treatment for aggressive breast cancer in 2005-2006 which included chemo, radiation and surgery, Belling decided it was her good eating habits that helped her beat cancer.
“Prior to having cancer, I ate a clean, organic diet,” she said. Afterwards, Belling determined it was a combination of things that has kept her healthy: exercise, staying on a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
A second property on the tour is that of Paul and Stephanie Virg. The couple has lived on their private wooded property for fourteen years, purchasing and combining lots formerly owned by their aunts.
Their log home is surrounded by cedars, columbine, coral bells, daylilies, ferns, hosta, peonies, spiderwort and iris. English ivy and vinca have been used to slow erosion and keep areas green where grass would not grow.
The third property on the tour is that of Bob and Kathy Dunn. They own more than 200 varieties of perennials along with many unusual trees and shrubs.
Among the graceful landscape is a 125-foot long duel waterfall with more than 10,000 cubic feet of water. The rear of the home has three gardens that stretch the entire width of the home and contain grass paths.

• Tickets for the tour and lunch are $17 and $12 for the tour only. Luncheon seatings are 11 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. They can be purchased the day of the tour or ahead of time by calling Laurie Venable at (502) 265-0376.

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