Eclectic styles will be on display for garden tour

News editor

Three gardens in the city and one at the county lake will be featured on Marion City Library’s garden tour 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The tour begins at the library, a converted Santa Fe Railroad depot south of the courthouse. The library moved to the more than century-old depot in 2002. Tickets for the tour will be sold for $5.

This will be the tour’s fourth year. In past years, it attracted 200 to 250 people, including many from Wichita and El Dorado, librarian Janet Marler said. The tours have a winter counterpart — a Christmas home tour, which has similar attendance.

Marler said Jeanice Thomas encouraged the library to start the garden tours. Eventually, Thomas took on much of the work for the project.

“I think her words were, ‘Would you mind if we did it for you?’” Marler said.

115 N. Elm St.

Darin and Jona Neufeld live in a large, historic home between Elm Street and Luta Creek. Darin said people like to drive by when they tour the town, so they work hard to keep it up.

They worked with a landscape designer to create a master plan for the garden, and they are slowly working to realize that vision.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever be completely ready,” Darin said.

A fountain in their front yard has become home to a variety of water plants as well as a tiny red-eared slider turtle. They are also building a dock at the edge of Luta Creek.

201 N. Coble St.

Janet Marler and her husband, Doug, are always changing things in their backyard garden. They like being outdoors, and both of their grandmothers were devoted gardeners.

Janet loves the colors of flowers and attracting birds and butterflies. Her favorites are orioles because of their bright orange plumage that stands out.

“We go through jars of grape jelly,” the birds’ favorite food, she said.

They installed a rain barrel watering system last year to reduce the amount of water used. It collects water from gutters and stores it to use in the garden.

Among several repurposed antiques, Marler uses an old washing machine as a raised flowerpot.

412 S. Thorp St.

Marian Crofoot and her daughter, Pam Bowers, share their house at 412 S. Thorp St. as well as its garden. Crofoot designs the formal front yard, with its carefully sheared shrubs, while Bowers designs the eclectic backyard with its native flowers and other plants.

Bowers said her favorite part of the garden is a raised bed for tomatoes, although she has to climb over a barbed wire fence to get to them.

“I have 8-foot-tall tomato cages, and they grow over the top of that,” she said.

Bowers learned to love gardening as a 4-H member. She had a big vegetable garden early in her marriage.

“I eventually gravitated to flowers because they don’t ask anything of you,” she said. You don’t have to pick and can flowers the way you do vegetables.

48 Lakeshore Drive

The one stop at the county lake is the home of Lawrence and Jackie Volbrecht. After the couple moved to the lake three years ago, their first priority was getting grass in. Since then, they have added a lot of container gardening because of the thin, rocky soil.

Jackie’s favorite part of the garden is a shady nook where she has built a small village for fairies and gnomes.

Like the Marlers, the Volbrechts have made a planter out of a repurposed appliance — in this case, a retired cooker-smoker.

 

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