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April 1, 2013

High-flying fun: Hidden Hill Nursery opens season with kites and whimsy

UTICA — Saturday got off to a foggy start, but it didn’t take long to turn into a perfect spring day packed with whimsy for visitors at Hidden Hill Nursery and Sculpture Garden’s Kite Flying Extravaganza. 

From the moment Gary and Janice Dodson arrived at the Utica nursery for its opening day of the season, greeted by a larger-than-life mailman box sculpture, they knew they would not be disappointed with their visit.

“We love it here. We try to come every year,” said Gary Dodson.

And that’s what Bob Hill and his wife Janet love to hear from their guests. The couple have operated their nursery in Utica for 13 years, and have since attracted a following from throughout Southern Indiana and Louisville.  The Hills grew up around farms, and it wasn’t too long before their Utica property became a thriving nursery with more than 400 types of plants.

“We are unique to Southern Indiana because there really isn’t anything like this in terms of plants and trees for sale, and the art and sculptures and whimsy,” said Bob Hill.

Some of the people who visit the nursery are in search of a rare plant for their garden, but others visit just to enjoy the scenery. On Saturday, well over 100 families visited to enjoy kite flying, blacksmith demonstrations, art and live music.

“We came out to enjoy family stuff,” said Mike Logsdon of Louisville.

Amy Bailey brought three of her daughters, along with their Girl Scout Troop, to the Kite Flying Extravaganza as well.

“We have had a blast. They are all flying kites, and some have not flown a kite before,” said Bailey.

The event was educational for garden enthusiasts as well.  Robert Rollins of Green Haven Tree Care provided an informative pruning seminar. Rollins informed the audience that pruning is important when the plant is diseased, for shape and to get rid of dead branches. He also cautioned against pruning during the dormant season.  He also reminded everyone that it takes many years of experience to become talented with pruning.  

The motto of Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden is “we have the plants and you don’t.” 

“It’s wonderful because of the things you cannot find in other places,” said Mary Bush.

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