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Millie’s garden PDF Print E-mail
Monday, June 13, 2011 6:02 AM

Millie Ruen lives in a garden. Her cozy little country home near Ottoville, is surrounded by beautiful flowers, trees, shrubs and vegetables. She doesn’t have to worry about mowing a big lawn but she is very passionate about all the plants and trees, which surround her home.

Just take a Sunday drive down Road 24, between Ottoville and Fort Jennings and you will notice this land of color — changing color, depending on which flowers are in bloom. You can’t miss this oasis, because it covers three acres of gardening.

Her array of plants includes perennials and annuals, such as marigolds, peonies, allium, petunias, begonias, zennias, lilies, iris, Siberian iris, salvia, rudbeckia (Indian Summer), lavender, cocks combs, geraniums dahlias, celosia, yarrow, calenda, coleus, wisteria, tanzy, hollyhocks, hostas, mums and more. There is always something blooming in her garden from spring until fall. Millie has some Knock-out Roses but she shies away from floribunda and tea roses because of all the spraying they require. Last year Millie grew a 14 foot sunflower, with over 900 blooms.

Her drive-way is lined with yellow and orange marigolds, which she started from seed under the grow lights in her basement. Millie started 30 flats of flowers under light this year. She is a big believer in composting, which produces notable results in her plants.
Millie also has a large vegetable garden, which includes: tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, beans, peas, celery, cabbage, carrots, radishes, sweet corn and even popcorn.

Millie was born to Aloysius and Loretta (Hilvers) Ruen on their farm near Ottoville.  She has four brothers and four sisters. They are Paul, Fred, Roger and Joe Ruen, Marilyn Calvelage, Catherine Heitz, Irene Bullard and Mary Honigford. Her brothers and sisters have provided her with many nieces and nephews. Each year at Christmas, Millie sends out a letter, but it is not your typical Holiday letter. In her letter, she tells family stories of when they were growing up. They are very interesting. Millie shares her country home with her trusty little watch dog, Jock.

Millie graduated from Ottoville High School in 1959 and is a 1963 graduate of Mary Manse College in Toledo. She taught school two years in Toledo and then moved to Columbus, where she taught 29 years in the inner city schools.

While living in Columbus, she played ASA softball and AAU basketball. Her Columbus softball team, the “Red Birds” won the state championships during her first and second years with the team. The Red Birds earned a spot at the Nationals in Wisconsin and North Carolina. Millie was chosen a National All Star during the tournament in Sheboygan. She played left field and had a really good arm.
Millie played college basketball at Mary Manse, and then went on to play semi-pro basketball in Columbus. Her team earned a spot at the Women’s National Tourney in Gallup, New Mexico. While at Mary Manse, the girls played the old time “half court” game — three on offense and three on defense.

Millie retired from teaching and returned to Ottoville in May of 1997. She lived in her basement while construction of the house was completed on top of her. Her home is located on a portion of the family farm.

Since returning to Ottoville, she has been active in church and county activities. She achieved her Master Gardener (of Putnam County) certificate in 1998 and has been a trustee on the Putnam County Historical Society since 1998. Millie took over the position of archivist at the Immaculate Conception Church Museum, upon the death of Rita Turnwald. She was chairman of the committee that compiled and published the Putnam County History & Families and serves on other committees for the historical society, such as the Historical Church Tour and the booth at the Putnam County Fair.

Millie has two ponds on her property. The one measures 2/3 of an acre and has fish in it. The other is a smaller frog pond with no fish, because the fish would eat the little tadpoles. She has the big pond surrounded by flowers, with sweet potato plants draping the banks. However, this spring the rabbits have been real pests, by eating the sweet potato plants.

In two weeks we will visit Millie’s garden again to learn about her many varieties of trees and shrub, along with the composting she does.


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:23 PM

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