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Gardens on display Saturday to benefit library

Gardens expansive and intimate, each with unique displays of flowers, plants, and ornamentation await participants in the Flowers in the Flint Hills Garden Tour on Saturday.

Tickets for the annual tour cost $5 and are available at Marion City Library, which organizes and benefits from the fundraiser.

Original garden-themed art from Gallery 101 will be on display at the library, and refreshments will be available.

One garden in Marion, two at Marion County Lake, and two in Florence will be open for viewing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visitors to the spacious tree-rimmed back yard of Gary and Karen Chaput, 203 Meadow Lane in Marion, will find a varied array of flowerbeds, shrubbery, birdhouses and feeders, and ornaments. A short stroll across a bridge spanning a stream leads to a large vegetable garden. Limestone is featured in fences, raised beds, and a large grill.

The two gardens at Marion County Lake share an air of invisibility, but for starkly different reasons.

The rocks, waterfalls, and pond accented with hundreds of flowers and plantings behind the home of Dick and Margie Schwartz, 4 Hill Road, can’t be seen from the main lake road, but the Schwartz’s enjoy an expansive view of the lake as they look out over their hidden garden. Unique planters from around the world the couple collected during Dick’s 30-year Marine Corps career are placed throughout the grounds.

Gary and Mindy Carpenter’s garden at 16 Rock Road is even more concealed — most of what will be on display Saturday will be at their Wichita home until they arrive at the lake late in the week. Gary’s specialty is container gardening, using anything from minnow buckets to wheelbarrows in which he grows annual blooms such as carnations and lantana. The multi-level back yard, which features a pergola and stone fireplace, will come alive with 40 unique containers to supplement resident blooms, groundcover, and ornaments.

The Mercantile Store in Florence, established by the mother-daughter team of Judy Mills and Sara Dawson, is one of two tour gardens in Florence. A courtyard next to the store at 510 Main St. has been transformed into the “Mercantile Corral,” a Flint Hills-themed garden where barbed-wire sculptures, an antique stove, and an iron bed are some of the items intermingled with native flowers and plants. The garden’s beauty has made it a favorite spot among locals for parties and weddings.

A drive south on Main Street leads to the second Florence destination, Doyle Creek Ranch House, 1123 X Ranch. Mills and her husband Randy live in the two-story limestone home completed in 1892 that is surrounded by towering trees, lush shady lawns and landscaping, and framed by sycamore trees. Behind the house a secluded garden of delicate blooms and diverse plantings complements a patio and pool.

Last modified July 2, 2012

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