Located on the sloping hills of rural Logan County, Susan’s home
is set amidst the Hoblit Seed Company and a selection of buildings
that represent the company as well as the family heritage. Susan
greeted folks at the edge of the driveway and encouraged them to
walk all around her back lawn. Before they moved on, she also told
them about the beautiful view she enjoys each day looking southward.
She noted that on a good day she can not only see Lincoln, but she
can also see the gentle slope of the Elkhart Hill.
Walking around the edge of the home the exterior wall of the garage
features a couple of different lawn ornaments that pay tribute to
the family business. Moving on, there are two large patio areas,
both with excellent views of the backyard. Close to the home is a
garden spot featuring a lovely fountain surrounded by tidy shrubs.
The balance of Susan’s garden is a shade garden growing underneath
the collection of trees that outline the edges of the lawn.
Utilizing hostas and other shade loving ground cover and flowering
plants, each section is lusher than the one before.
On the far back side an area is accented with a bright blue bench
sitting on a bed of stone. Gazing balls and a large blue planter
help give the area a homey feel along with the sunflower pillow and
hat that have found their resting place on the bench.
Close by, a gated trellis leads the way down a short winding path
that features a rather unique and special “ornament.” There, propped
against a tree is the grave headstone for "Melecent" Hoblit, who
died in 1855. The problem with the stone is that the name was
misspelled when engraved.
Above the headstone for the tour was a paragraph about the stone and
what happened with it.
“Melicent Hoblit way my great, great, great, grandmother.
Unfortunately, her name was engraved on this tombstone as Melecent –
not Melicent. The tombstone was discarded and a new one made with
the correct spelling. The discarded tombstone was turned engraved
side down and was used as part of a sidewalk until 2002 when it was
discovered and offered to me. The discarded headstone now has a home
in my garden.”
The Wertheim Gardens
Amy Wertheim is a certified herb gardener with a special plan for a
large garden on her property. This week she noted that stage one of
the plan is completed and contains a wide variety of herbs. Amy’s
garden is located next door to the RGW Candy Company owned and
managed by her and her father.
The garden consists of all herbs with the exception of one small
patch of beets. She has other gardens on the property that include
vegetables, and there is a large flower garden surrounding the back
of the Wertheim home.
Amy explained how she prepared the beds for her herbs. By digging up
the soil, filling in the space with gravel, then returning the soil.
She adds landscape timbers to allow for building up the beds; then
she plants her garden.
She does quite well in her efforts, noting that two years running
she has won the very top honors at the Illinois State Fair for her
Scattered among the growing beds are many ornamental items including
a wood pergola in the center of the garden.
Amy said her herbs
fall in one or more of three categories, decorative, edible, or
medicinal. She said one common error is that folks believe that the
medicinal benefits of a herb can be obtained by simply eating them.
She said many medicinal herbs require some type of preparation
including cooking so that the medical powers will be released from
The garden around the back patio has the look of a field of
wildflowers, with several rustic lawn ornaments for accents. The
area also features a fountain facing the house that her big black
dog enjoys getting in on sweltering summer days like Saturday.
[to top of second column]
The last stop of the day was PrairiErth Farm in rural Atlanta.
Owned by the Bishop family, the farm is all organic from field
crops to livestock to vegetable crops. The family sells organic
meat and vegetables and are among the vendors now offering
products at the ALMH Vendors Market each Saturday in Lincoln.
The farm was tagged as a “self-guided tour” in the program, but
Dave Bishop and teenage son Graham were outside and more than
happy to point out a couple of things.
Dave led the way to a new project for son Graham, gourds. Graham
explained that he is growing birdhouse gourds this year, and he
is also growing Loofa gourds. These are the gourds that end up
being Loofa Sponges, but it was also explained that the loofa
can be crushed and added to skin cleansers as an exfoliate.
Graham also raises organic pork. He pointed out his pig pens
were he has several animals right now. He said he starts with
feeder pigs, then grows them organically using grains that have
also been raised organically at PrairiErth. Graham then sells
the pork as “half-hogs.”
Graham also talked a little about the chickens on the farm,
saying, like everything else, they get only organic products
with no chemicals or drugs. He said their ration includes ground
corn and beans along with oats and a special organic mineral mix
that they purchase.
PrairiErth Farm has multiple locations where they grow their
crops and food products. At the home place they have several
greenhouses that they utilize so as to provide a much longer
growing season for crops such as tomatoes.
At the greenhouse, Dave Bishop was happy to talk about growing
tomatoes and spotted a couple nearing the ready mark while he
was there. Bishop said that organic fruits and vegetables are
not perfect, and consumers really don’t expect them to be. He
noted that more and more buyers are getting the message that a
“perfect” product was probably grown with the help of many
Dave also noted that across the country, the interest in organic
farming is growing. He said that there are farmers who are
interested in transitioning their farmland to organic, but they
don’t understand the process involved. He noted that
universities such as Illinois State are trying to address this
with information and education, and he is doing what he can to
To learn more about PrairiErth Farm, visit them on Saturdays at
the Logan County Fairground or browse their website at