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Wednesday, June 13, 2007 03:21 pm

Take a walk in the garden

Tour 30-acre lush private estate on Saturday, June 23

Untitled Document Gardeners love getting new ideas for sprucing up their gardens, and Springfield-area green thumbs will have the opportunity to get those ideas and talk with master gardeners in a garden walk scheduled for Saturday, June 23. The walk, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., will take place on a private 30-acre property at 917 West Lake Shore Dr., in Springfield. This estate offers something for most every gardener, including a formal rose garden, sun and shade perennials, shrubs and trees, annuals for summer color, and a prairie-restoration project. Coyn and Susan Richardson bought the original eight acres, including a pond, about 16 years ago. In 1999 they expanded the acreage by 22 acres, six of it a cornfield. The property now contains more than 200 different plant species, including an Illinois-record “Big Tree” white ash, 90 feet tall and boasting a 22-foot trunk circumference and crown spread of 95 feet. A luxurious expanse of turfgrass surrounds the garden beds. Chuck Hagerman, head gardener for the property, will be available to answer questions about how he turned a soybean field into a lawn to be envied by home gardeners. Master gardeners from the University of Illinois Extension Sangamon-Menard Unit will present programs on the hour, starting at 10 a.m. with “Roses: To Prune or not to Prune.” Jerry Blackburn of Springfield will demonstrate how to prune various types of roses: hybrid, hybrid teas, floribunda, old English, and knockouts. In “The Great Divide,” at 11 a.m., Darrell McMurray of Springfield will show how to divide perennial plants.
Another master gardener, Kathy Jump of Rochester, will conduct two demonstration programs. Her first one, at noon, is “Prairie Plant Flower Arrangements,” featuring unusual prairie materials, flowers, grasses, and seedpods. Jump’s second demonstration, “Leaf Casting: Create Your Own Stepping Stones,” will start at 2 p.m. The fifth program, “Building a Prairie” will be presented at 1 p.m. by Jane E. Morris of Rochester in the seven-acre prairie-restoration project. Morris will share her experiences of building a prairie in her home garden. Free information will be available at each program.
Throughout the day, master gardeners will be stationed around the property to answer questions about plants in the gardens. Tickets for the garden walk cost $8 if purchased in advance and $10 at the property. They are available at True Value hardware stores in Springfield and Rochester, Ace hardware stores in Springfield and Chatham, Marine Banks, the University of Illinois Extension offices in Springfield and Petersburg, and online at web.extension.uiuc.edu/sangamonmenard/ gardenwalk/index.html. For more information, phone the extension office (217-782-4617) or go to the extension’s Web site (www.extension.uiuc.edu/sangamonmenard/).
Jennifer Fishburn is a horticulture educator with the University of Illinois Extension Sangamon-Menard Unit.
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