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Thursday, June 23, 2011 01:48 pm

A Garden Walk with Master Gardeners

Where do-it-yourselfers can get their plant questions answered

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Joan Walters’ no-mow front yard

A collection of 122 different hosta plants, an extension vegetable garden, a Japanese-inspired backyard with bamboo fencing, a low-mow yard and a pond with a waterfall are all features of an upcoming Springfield-area garden tour. Sangamon-Menard Unit Master Gardeners invite you to a Garden Walk on Saturday, June 25, 2 to 7 p.m.

Most of the landscaping at the five homes on the walk has been done by the homeowners and have unique features of interest to avid do-it-yourself gardeners.

Starting with a blank canvas 27 years ago, Dr. Phil and Pat Wheat, 11 Pickering Lane, Springfield, now have extensive garden beds throughout their lakefront property. You will see numerous labeled varieties of hosta in the shady street-side yard. A diverse collection of trees is spread throughout the yard, providing shade for your walk. Several unusual conifers border the lakeside deck.

Low maintenance and low-mow is the theme for master gardener Joan Walters’ property at 812 Wood Pointe Drive, Springfield. Joan removed the grass from most of her front yard and her parkway, replacing it with paths, native perennials and yard art. The back yard features moss, serviceberry, dogwood trees, tri-colored beech, laceleaf Japanese maple, and a forest of oak, maple and hickory trees.

An overgrown landscape from a previous owner has been transformed into a gardener’s dream at the home of Bob and Barbara Henry, 46 Mishawaka Drive, Rochester. A hidden jewel was discovered behind some brush – a small pond with a waterfall. This, plus some of the original gardens and flowers, has been embellished with other plants, including some transplanted from a grandparent’s home in Wisconsin. Bob’s passion for daylilies has grown through the years and he now helps finance his need for the new ones he “just has to have” by dividing and selling some of his collection.

The Japanese-style backyard at the home of Gary and Rita Trammel
A Bloodgood maple, roses, boxwoods and pots of colorful annuals provide a cottage garden atmosphere for the home of Gary and Rita Trammell, 1121 Harmony Court, Springfield. Edible plants are incorporated throughout the landscape. Blackberries on a trellis provide a backdrop for a peach tree. The previously unused side yard has been converted into a productive vegetable garden in raised beds. A tranquil Japanese-influenced backyard is planted with Japanese maples, dwarf conifers, dogwoods, hostas, astilbes, ferns, coral bells and blueberries. Gary’s bonsai collection is displayed in this area.

A one-half acre vegetable garden is a must-see at the home of John and Betty Hamilton, 6886 Old Salem Lane, Springfield. Vegetable gardening methods include: inter-planting, succession planting, vertical growing, crop rotation, mulching and composting. Vegetable varieties include both standards available at most nurseries and unique varieties purchased from catalogs and started indoors.

All during the Garden Walk, master gardeners will be stationed throughout the properties to answer questions about plants.

Master Gardeners will also present programs throughout the day. Programs include: 2 p.m., “Dividing and Caring for Daylilies” program at the Henrys’; 3 p.m., “Care and Division of Hostas” program at the Wheats’; 4 p.m., “Creation and Care of Bonsai” program at the Trammells’; 5 p.m., “Rain Barrels” program at the Walters’; and 6 p.m., “Kitchen Herbs in the Garden” program at the Hamiltons’.

Garden Walk tickets are $10 if purchased in advance, $12 at the Garden Walk. Tickets will be available at University of Illinois Extension offices in Springfield and Petersburg and online at the Extension website. The day of the walk tickets can be purchased at any of the garden walk locations. For more information, phone the Extension Office, 782-4617, or visit the Extension website http://www.extension.uiuc.edu/sangamonmenard.

Jennifer Fishburn is horticulture educator for the Sangamon/Menard Unit, University of Illinois Extension.

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