Ohio's largest living history destination offering guests experiences
rich in history, hospitality, creativity and fun!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ask the Expert – A New Blog Series in 2014!

As part of our new blog series for this year, we plan to introduce you to many of the experts we have working at Sauder Village and also give you the opportunity to ask them a question or two! From gardening, crafts and preserving your artifacts to education and historic cooking – we hope you enjoy meeting some of our talented staff and take time to ask them a question. What a great way to learn something new!

Since there’s snow on the ground and we’re all dreaming of spring we’ve decided to start with a segment about gardening. We hope you enjoy meeting our Grounds Supervisor, Susan Burkhart.

If you have questions about anything garden-related please post a comment below, on our Facebook page or even send an e-mail to our Marketing Department at kmkrieger@saudervillage.org. Susan will answer as many questions as she can in an upcoming article. Thanks for helping us to share information that you are most interested in!

Meet Susan Burkhart

Title: Grounds Supervisor. Susan has worked at Sauder Village for 18 years

Main Responsibilities: Susan is responsible for taking care of all the landscaping at Sauder Village – including all historic gardens.

Favorite Part of Job: “I love my job!” Susan shared. “There are always a variety of things to do. My responsibilities change with the seasons – from planning gardens in the winter to planting flower beds, harvesting vegetables and decorating for Christmas! This time of the year it is fun to dream about the gardens. I love thinking of new ways to share our story and new garden-themed activities that guests can get involved with.”

Favorite Flower or Vegetable: “I love the variety of squash and pumpkins. It is so much fun to plant the seeds, watch them grow and as the leaves die back see the bountiful harvest,” Susan shared. “My favorite flowers are the “Proven Winners” variety of flowers – they are a step up from the standard variety and make such a statement in the barrels and gardens we have here at Sauder Village.”

Favorite Garden: “I love the Homestead Garden. It is large enough to have a variety of flowers and vegetables,” Susan shared. “The 1900s time frame allows for a very interesting garden – trains were starting to come through and that brought new varieties of seeds for families to plant (before that they just brought seeds with them). During this time period the ladies in the house also had more ‘leisurely time’ and could enjoy more flowers. They even dried them to use for decorating for Christmas!”

Anything New Planned this Season? “We want to do more with the gardens at Little Pioneers Homestead this year,” Susan noted. “We are looking at some changes to that garden area that will allow kids to get more involved – kind of a face-lift for Little Pioneers Homestead Garden.”

Some Gardening Tips from Susan:
- Try starting seeds inside during the winter, but start out simple.
- Take time now to plan your garden, do some research and order seeds. Start dreaming about what you want to have this summer!
- If you want to learn about heirloom varieties do research. Some great websites include:
     Seed Savers Exchange
     Sand Hill Preservation Center
     Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Other Notes of Interest: We usually have some plants available for sale in the spring – heirloom tomato varieties, Malabar Spinach, Ground Cherries and more! We also have produce for sale in the Fall – when there is extra. First goal is to use the produce in our foodways program and next we’ll have for sale in the Herb Shop.

Greatest Accomplishment: Susan has enjoyed having some of the Sauder Village gardens recognized in the media – both newspaper and magazine articles throughout the region.

Hobbies: In her spare time Susan enjoys kayaking, traveling, relaxing at the lake with her family and spending time with her kids at their sporting events.


  1. Why would you recommend trying some heirloom varieties of vegetables? What are the benefits?

  2. I'm never sure about when to prune the bushes in my yard (Lilac, Forsythia and Burning Bush). Any suggestions?

  3. How do you recommend keeping grass/weeds out of my asparagus patch? I've heard using salt - but is that OK?