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Thursday, June 16, 2011 08:08 am

Outstanding country gardens on annual symphony tour

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The Hoffmans’ garden, full of perennials, is distinctive for many paths and a handbuilt gazebo.
PHOTOS BY GINNY LEE

There are some remarkable gardens on the 22nd annual Illinois Symphony Garden Tour in Springfield. “A Symphony of Country Gardens” will be held from 11-4 Saturday, June 18.

Shelly and Ken Hoffman’s garden south of Chatham is the most mature, the Hoffmans having moved into their shingled Cape Cod home next to a cornfield in 1975. The Hoffmans use heat-tolerant plants and focus on texture and color in their garden plan. They buy plants locally and use recycled materials, including limestone from a wall at Wiley Office Supply, the family business.

The manmade stream flowing over stones is the highlight of Diane Harris’ garden.
Hoffmans’ garden is full of hostas, lilies and perennials. It has an Asian feel, with many weeping trees, junipers and cypress. Ken designed and built a distinctive gazebo, and there is a water feature based on several large stones.

The Hoffmans have used a lot of hardscaping with plenty of paths. “I like walking through a garden, rather than around a garden,” Shelly said. Their garden has plenty of movement.

Diane Harris’ home and garden south of Lake Springfield are also bordered by a cornfield. Harris uses lavenders, yellows and a variety of grasses, spruces and pines in her design. Harris began creating her garden 15 years ago, and the most dramatic feature is a manmade stream flowing through stone imported from Texas. A handsome stone wall borders the water feature.

Other gardens on the tour are those of Julie and Thomas Tarter, Jane and Philip Locascio and the award-winning garden at Bank of Springfield designed by Adam Woodruff. All homeowners do their own garden maintenance.

Tickets are available at Bank of Springfield, The Corkscrew, RMD Gallery, The Wardrobe, Homescapes, Beatty Televisual and Wild Birds Unlimited.  The event is sponsored by Davis Financial Group. Tickets are $15 before the tour and $18 the day of the tour. There is no charge for children. For more details, contact Penny Troy, 787-3027 or Harriet Staley, 787-0833.

Contact Ginny Lee at berginger81@hotmail.com.

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