Drooling over Dahlias at Fellows Riverside Gardens

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

What’s blooming down at Fellows Riverside Gardens? Dahlias!

image002Located near the Family Garden is FRG’s Dahlia Garden, which is home to 20 different kinds of dahlias. Native to Mexico, this tuberous perennial is just beginning to blossom! To learn more about these colorful and spiky flowers, I had the opportunity to speak with Stan Vuletich – a volunteer at FRG. This is Stan’s third year working on the Dahlia garden and he has some great knowledge regarding these late summer bloomers!

ER: When is dahlia season?

SV: Actually, dahlias just started blooming and are not even in full bloom yet. Dahlias begin blooming in July and continue to bloom through the fall until the first frost. They will be in their prime during September, October, and November as dahlias are a late summer and fall flower.







ER: How do you care for dahlias?

SV: Dahlias require full sun and do not do well in soggy soil. They do best in raised, framed beds where their roots are protected because they run extremely shallow. It is best to use straw and mulch to surround the base of the flower. These plants grow between four to five feet tall, so they must be staked. While the stock looks rather sturdy, it is easily broken. I suggest using a vegetable stake or in the Dahlia Garden, I use broken pieces of steel rebar.

image013ER: Are dahlias particularly hard to care for?

SV: No, dahlias do not require a lot of care. One thing that I cannot stress enough is do not use fertilizer! Due to all of the rain, the nitrogen in the soil has been washed away, so this year’s flowers will be a shorter than usual. However, do not resort to fertilizer to grow your flowers taller!

ER: Can you start dahlias early and harvest them?

SV: Yes. Some gardeners buy tubers and start them indoors to get a jump-start on the season. Dahlias do not handle frost well, so some gardeners dig up the dahlias at the end of the season and store them over the winter. If this seems like too much, skip the storing and start over again in the spring and early summer.
ER: What kinds and colors of dahlias are there?

SV: Some dahlias look like water lilies, orchids, and cactuses. They come in all sorts of colors, except for blue. There are dark red, blush, yellow, white, and all different blends of colors to make these flowers colorful and unique.

ER: What is your favorite type of dahlia?

SV: My favorite dahlia is one called ‘Jessica.’ Jessica is a medium semi-cactus dahlia. It has a yellow base and petals with tips that are red.

Recipes of Youngstown cookbook now on sale at Mill Creek MetroParks

The Recipes of Youngstown cookbook is now available for sale at the following facilities in Mill Creek MetroParks:

  • Lanterman’s Mill, 980 Canfield Rd., Youngstown, OH
    • Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., 330.740.7115
  • Mill Creek MetroParks Administrative Office, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Rd., Canfield, OH
    • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., 330.702.3000
  • Lanterman’s Mill, 980 Canfield Rd., Youngstown, OH
    • Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., 330.740.7115
  • Ford Nature Center, 840 Old Furnace Road, Youngstown, OH
    • Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday Noon to 5 p.m., 330.740.7107
  • Fellows Riverside Gardens Front Desk, 123 McKinley Ave., Youngstown, OH
    • Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., 330.740.7116

Cookbooks are $18 each plus tax. Customers who would like their books shipped can call Lanterman’s Mill at 330.740.7115 during regular business hours. To learn more about Mill Creek MetroParks, visit our website at

About Recipes of Youngstown

The Recipes of Youngstown cookbook was the brainchild of a group of west side Youngstowners who set up a Facebook page where members could share recipes, ideas, laughter and tears, as well as stories of their days in Youngstown. Many have moved away, but found the taste of Youngstown’s food keeps drawing them home. Offered in the cookbook are 550 of the most loved recipes from people who consider Lanterman’s Mill a part of their history. Each recipe brings a memory to light, and they are shared in the cookbook.

About Mill Creek MetroParks

Mill Creek Park was established in 1891 by Volney Rogers as the first park district in Ohio. In 1989, the diverse lands now known as Mill Creek MetroParks officially became a metropolitan park district, providing visitors of all ages the opportunity to relish “the gem” of Mahoning County. From the casual visitor to the local explorer, Mill Creek MetroParks offers a natural escape and recreational activities for the enjoyment of all ages.

The mission of Mill Creek MetroParks is to provide park, recreational and open space facilities of regional significance. In fulfilling this mission our objectives are to be responsive to community needs; to be environmentally sound; to be adaptable; and to be economically feasible.

To explore, experience and enjoy Mill Creek MetroParks, please visit or call 330.702.3000. Like us on Facebook at (Mill Creek MetroParks) and follow us on Twitter (@MillCreekMetro) and Instagram (millcreekmetroparks).

Live! at the Morley with Don Burns Orchestra

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

This Wednesday, August 6 at the Judge Morley Pavilion at 7 p.m., Don Burns Orchestra will take the stage! This group will serenade you with their big band sound making for a delightful summer evening at the Wick Recreation Area!

Before their performance, I had the opportunity to speak with Don Burns to get a little background on Don Burns Orchestra!

ER: What is the history of Don Burns Orchestra?

DB: On March 1, 1967, over 30 years ago, the Don Burns Orchestra was formed to perform, promote, and sustain the “great music of the Big Band” era. Originally starting with only 11 pieces, it wasn’t long before the band had grown to its present size. Within the first year the band was performing at dances throughout the tri-county area. Musically, the band was quite good but something seemed to be missing; so more choreography, more originals music and a female voacalist were added. The band got better and better as time went on and we even started doing several “live” radio broadcasts. In the early nineties, we added a new male and female vocalist, a vocal team, and with their talents, we could really increase our versatility. During 1996, we expanded even more by adding our vocal quartet, the Sunrise Serenaders, enabling us to bring the “complete” musical package to the public. Without the dedication and talent of each member of the band, none of this would have been possilbe. So settle back or put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the “great music and showmanship” that only a “truly” Big Band can provide.

image007ER: What is the makeup of Don Burns Orchestra?

DB: The Don Burns Orchestra is comprised of nineteen of some of the best, talented, musical people around with a dedication you wouldn’t believe. My people have been with me from three years to forty-six years. Between you and me, I’ve been very blessed with such great people. We have five saxes, four trombones, four trumpets, guitar, bass, piano, drums and a male / female singers. We also have a vocal group, the Sunrise Serenaders that sang with Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey.

ER: What type of music does Don Burns Orchestra perform?

DB: We play original music from the famous big band era. We also perform a lot of Glenn Miller and music through the nineties, Swing, Latin, and Ballads.

ER: Where can we expect to see Don Burns Orchestra after Live! at the Morley?

DB: You can see us Thursday, August 14 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at a free concert in Ramsey Park on Ohio Ave in McDonald, OH. Also we are performing at Cascade Ballroom on Washington Street in New Castle, PA. This is on Friday, September 5 at the three hour Big Band Dance from 8 – 11 p.m. It is $10.00 per person.

ER: What are your feelings about playing in Mill Creek MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley?

DB: You can’t find a nicer place; beautiful performance stage and great park people to work with. We have had the pleasure of performing there almost every year for 46 years and I am very thankful for the opportunity to do so. The Judge Morley Pavilion is the premier place in Youngstown.

Thank you Don! We are so grateful for the Don Burns Orchestra’s dedication to the MetroParks and cannot wait to hear the group’s big band sound this week!

For a complete list of concerts during the MetroParks’ summer concert series, Live! at the Morley, visit