Peace, Harmony & Serenity: a Rainy June Afternoon at Schnormeier Gardens

With my oversized sunglasses on, none of the other visitors could tell I was in the middle of my morning meditation, unless they moved in close enough to hear the quiet meditation music, punctuated by the sounds of “Om” and an occasional gong strike. (

Seated on a moss-covered stone bench, I was listening to the trickling sound of the creek, down below me, on the lower hiking path through the woods. There were bits of sunlight spilling into the open meadow, to my right, between patches of overcast sky that threatened to pour rain onto visitors.  

Far to my left, almost out of earshot, a family of 6 took a moment to pause and gaze out at the forest, and it was good to see they carried no screens and were engaged with each other, and the environment. 

From this cool forest floor, covered with last year’s fallen leaves and pine needles, I climbed up and out of the trees, onto open, rolling grassy hills. The scene before me was bright and colorful, with emerald blending into sage, olive-colored foliage holding hands with fresh buds of lime green, and the blue green of cone-bearing conifers giving way to the aquamarine of the rocks that circled small ponds. 

There were rumored to be koi in the ponds of this Japanese-inspired garden, but I was still searching for their flashes of iridescent white, orange and black. 

I knew it was going to rain; I’d packed umbrella and raincoat, wore flipflops, and carried my camera bag, just in case the rain was coming in sideways, and I needed to disassemble my DSLR, and run for cover. 

But in that moment the humidity was still hanging thick in the air. I didn’t mind. This was my first visit to Schnormeier Gardens, in Gambier, Ohio. When I wasn’t gawking at the next beautiful scene, opening up before me, I was questioning why it had taken me so long to make a trip to this expansive, beautifully manicured, free garden. 

Perhaps my failure to plan a day in these gardens was because they are only open to the public Thursday – Sunday in June of each year. Perhaps my absence was the result of my own ignorance of the beauty the gardens contain. 

I can do just two things, to try and compel you to visit. First, I’ll let the images I took on this day tell a story of elegant beauty, orchestrated landscapes, and the intricate way manmade structures (a Japanese teahouse, arched bridge and Chinese pavilion) coexist with nature. 

Then I’ll finish with the words of Ted and Ann Schnormeier, who made these beautiful gardens possible. They are no longer residents of the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home, but their family continues to invite the public every year. You will pay nothing, but gain so much. Enjoy!  

Peace, harmony, serenity. These are gifts that gardens give.

As you explore our grand vistas and intimate niches, we hope you’ll find tranquility here…and inspiration. 

Schnormeier Gardens are located in the gentle rolling hills of central Ohio. We began building the gardens in 1996. Over the years they have grown to include fifty acres of manicured lawns, ten lakes, a variety of discrete garden areas and several waterfalls. 

The focal point of the property is a spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home. This private residence was completed in 1994. Other structures on the property include a Japanese teahouse, garden house, Chinese pavilion and arched bridge. An ever-growing collection of unique sculptures are also located on the grounds. 

Our gardens have a distinct Asian flavor and feature a variety of plantings rich in color and texture. Rare conifers are plentiful here. Large boulders and stone walls add dimension and contrast to the landscape. Designed with a bold vision and attention to detail, the gardens offer delightful viewing in any season.

It has been said that a garden can have a soul…but only if it is shared with others. We are delighted to share ours with you. 

~ Ted & Ann Schnormeier 

Join me on my next adventure, 

~ Kat 

Related Links:  

Schnormeier Gardens: 

Calm App: 

What is the Meaning of ‘Om’?: 

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