With the 35th anniversary of the Robbins Hunter Museum and the dedication of the garden folly as part of the Jill Griesse Historic Garden jointly celebrated on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 26 and 27, history has been made and so noted.
More than 100 people gathered in the garden of the museum on Friday evening, August 26, for a reception honoring Tina and Dale Knobel, lead donors of a $50,000 gift that made the folly a reality and in whose name it now bears. Dale Knobel is the former president of Denison University and his wife, Tina, was an active member of the Granville Garden Club during their 15-year tenure at the liberal arts college. The couple has relocated to Texas and summer in Lakeside, Ohio.
Both were enthusiastically welcomed back to town when they greeted friends and acquaintances at the reception on the lawn. Later, 95 of those friends and supporters of the Knobels and the museum strolled over to the Granville Inn for a five-course dinner.
The next day, Saturday, Aug. 27, many more people gathered again on the lawn for the formal ribbon cutting to officially recognize it as the architectural feature in the garden that became the Jill Griesse Historic Garden when Mrs. Griesse passed away and her husband, Paul Griesse, established the lasting memory of her love for gardens and the Daffodil. Hundreds of Daffodil bulbs from her garden now bloom and flourish in the museum’s gardens.
In remarks following dinner, Tina noted the lasting importance of three phone calls, two from RHM director and friend, Ann Lowder, and one to close friend, the late Jill Griesse.
The first call from Ann was in January 2008 to ask if she might be interested in helping out with the Daffodil Stroll. Tina got Denison students involved and it was a “wonderful effort,” she said.
The second was in June of 2013. Tina remembers this call to Jill as her last phone call from the President’s House as she and Dale were about to depart. “She asked about our future and we said our goodbyes.”
The third call was in August 2015 when Ann called to tell Tina about the garden folly project and the progress being made in the garden itself. It got Tina thinking and she now recognizes how happy she, along with her husband, is to be able to make something like this happen. “Those three phone calls brought us here tonight,” she said.
Dale also said a few words that night, referencing his history with Granville and Denison. “As we have spent the last few hours here, it feels like we have never left,” he said. “Being able to do this speaks to the importance of town and gown connections. There are so many ways Denison can be engaged with the community,” he added. “These connections will stay strong and last forever.”
Standing on the stage of the new folly the next day, Tina and Dale reiterated their joy and happiness at being involved in this important historical event before they cut the ribbon dedicating the new architectural feature in the beautiful new garden.
Tina won’t be away from Granville forever, she promises. “I will be back to see both the garden in bloom and this wonderful folly.”