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Backyard Tour fundraiser brings in profit for IIB


The recent Ironton in Bloom Backyard Tour has proved the biggest fundraiser for the organization of the four tours it has hosted in as many years.

“It was the most successful that we have ever had,” Carol Allen, IIB president, said.

The volunteer beautification organization netted more than $1,500 from the one-day tour on June 24.

“The most interesting thing about the garden tour is how it is bringing people from Portsmouth, Ashland and Huntington to our area and looking at Ironton and seeing it as a really beautiful community,” Allen said. “The gardens are gorgeous.”

The tour was the second fundraiser for the year for IIB with the group netting $1,000 from a spring overnight trip to The Biltmore gardens in Asheville, N.C., this past April.

Now, that money will be funneled into the ongoing seminars IIB sponsors every other month at Ohio University Southern. The next will be in August on rainwater gardens with Eric Boyda of the Iron Furnace Cooperative Weed Management Area.

“It’s about gardens planted along curbs and parking lots where rain water can be absorbed and not running off into storm sewer,” Allen said.

The next project for IIB is to turn the walkways at the new St. Mary’s Medical Complex into native plant gardens. Purchasing the plants will be funded from a grant with the Ohio EPA and the Franklin Furnace Cooperative Weed Management Association.

“It will be on the other side of the pond so people can see how you can grow those plants native to the county and not have all of the high maintenance,” she said. “Native plants don’t need watering and fertilizing in order to survive. They survive naturally and you are seeing this occurring more and more in botanical gardens. They are filling in more and more areas with plants that are native.”

The walkways at St. Mary’s will feature markers identifying the plants so gardeners can replicate the arrangement in their gardens.

Recent donations to IIB of iris bulbs will also go to beautification plans at St. Mary’s where they will be planted as part of the landscaping.

“They are a natural plant and they don’t take any upkeep,” Allen said. “Once you get them in the ground, they do nothing but spread.”

Bulbs of another variety will be the focus of the last fundraiser for the year when IIB starts daffodil bulb sales in August.

“We are making giant strides,” she said about IIB. “And we are going to get better.”