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Marion garden tour promises to stimulate senses

Staff writer

A wide array of attractions featured on Marion City Library’s sixth annual Garden Tour will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

With six stops in and out of town, attendees should have no problem finding useful ideas for their own gardens, or just experiencing the pleasure of the plants and flowers.

For those just in it for enjoyment, get ready to be experienced.

Les and Pam Byer, Jerry and Lenore Dieter, Gary and Elaine Ewert, Roger and Janell Holter, Teresa Huffman, Duane and Lori Kirkpatrick, and Dwight and Julie Nelson have volunteered their gardens and talents for the tour.

Each stop is unique; each garden its own. Some have multiple plots and other attractions at their homes. Some volunteers will transport their attractions to the library for viewing.

Tickets are $5 at the library. Attendees will receive a tour map upon purchase.

Money raised will help finish extra features for the library’s Santa Fe Room.

The Byers

Touting over 60 blueberry bushes, an orchard of assorted fruit trees, a wildflower garden, and other attractions, the Byers homestead is quite possibly the most diverse tour destination.

Travel north three miles on Remington Rd. from US-56 then turn east to 1950 230th.

A six-foot tall rock cairn and a rustic farm thresher mark their south-facing driveway.

“We got a little carried away,” Les said. “The rocks are a taller version of smaller cairns we saw in Utah. It is freestanding. It has no supports. At one point, it resembled a deer sitting on its haunches. What it looks like now, I guess, is just in the eye of the beholder. ”

A wheat field waves on the east side of the gravel drive. A line of 175 pine trees stretches to the end of their property, where hardwood trees also grow.

Three flowerbeds surround the Byer house and shed.

“It takes three days to cut the irises,” Pam said. “We’ve got knockout roses and all sorts of flowers.”

A colorful wallflower and wildflower garden populated by bees and butterflies is where Pam and Les were married.

“It’s great out here,” Pam said. “It’s like heaven.”

Their orchard and produce garden stretch north over 100 yards past the shed.

Pam loves to garden. She called the area “manageable with a lot of mulch.”

They grow various vegetables, and a few grapevines, but Pam said people would likely be most interested in their blueberry bushes.

“We’ve been picking about a gallon every other day,” she said. “They’re in various stages of maturity. People will be able to taste them if they want.”

Apple, apricot, peach, pear, plum, and cherry trees grow in their orchard.

The Byers have two four-wheel vehicles available for patrons to tour their property, but Pam said people could walk if they want.

The Kirkpatricks

At Duane and Lori’s home on 1426 Sunflower Rd. south of Marion, visitors will encounter a mixture of flowers, grasses, bushes, and a panoramic view of a wheat field south of their back porch.

“Something neat about our farm is that we still have hen and chick plants, lilies, and hollyhocks that my mom and dad planted when they owned the place,” Lori said. “We also transplanted peonies and some live forever plants from Duane’s grandmother’s house.

“You think of the person when you’re out in the garden watering, weeding or working.”

The family lilies are brilliant yellow and orange. The hollyhocks stretch over seven feet tall near a short stretch of white picket fence that gives the area a rustic Americana feel.

Lori said people could sit in their porch swing and take in the view from their patio, where they also keep hanging baskets of flowers.

Around the farmstead they keep snapdragons, impatiens, scarlet begonias, geraniums, petunias, verbena, rose moss, bidets, pericallis, morning glories, sweet potatoe vine, silver falls dichondra, hypoestes splash select red, and creeping Jenny.

They also grow odiferous dwarf lilac bushes, crate myrtle, Karl Foster grass, and little bunny dwarf fountain grass around the yard.

“We love to entertain family and friends,” Lori said. “It’s just wonderful out here.”

The Nelsons

Visitors to Dwight and Julie’s home will see many items repurposed from different kinds of farm-related machinery.

They have lived in a home built in the late 1970’s by Julie’s parents, Ern and Lucille Hett, at 8322 140th Rd. near Aulne. Next to the house is the Copper Shed, a business Ern Hett started, where sculptures, wind chimes, and decorative items are sold.

On the Nelsons’ leg of the tour, visitors will get a look at their deck, which includes various plants and a goldfish lily pond with a small waterfall, as well as various homemade decorations.

Julie’s father designed the deck. It has a louvered roof that can maneuver to control the amount of sunlight that shines through.

They also keep a hibiscus that was a family heirloom from Julie’s mother.

“Mom’s been gone for 25 years now,” Julie said. “I keep it going because it was hers. She blooms every year for me.”

The Nelsons also keep a vegetable and fruit garden where they grow corn, beets, potatoes, squash, peppers, and fruit trees.

Their cilantro has gone to seed. The pleasant odor is overwhelming and can be detected throughout their yard.

They also keep chickens and multiple cats and dogs.

They have a prairie flower and cactus garden near the Copper Shed. Julie planted hen and chick plants in the crevices of rocks jutting up out of the raised bed.

She said visitors are welcome to tour their business while viewing their property.

The Ewerts

Gary and Elaine pack an eclectic amount of yard art into a small area at their Marion home at 816 E. Main St.

“It’s just a lot of stuff,” Gary said. “We have four water features and some memorable yard art.”

They have an old white birdbath fountain. Its base is sculptural rendering of three children dancing. In another, water flows over floating plants from an old creamery.

The Ewerts partitioned areas of their yard into themed gardens.

They predominately grow perennials, some annuals, rose bushes, and a lot of sedum.

“We have the Gorilla Garden, that’s for Pittsburg State,” Elaine said. “We both went there. But we also have the Shocker Garden because Gary also went there, too.”

The Gorilla Garden features Pitt State-colored flowers, yellow and red, while the Shocker Garden is mostly yellow, dark brown and black flowers, she said.

They also keep what they call a Mystery Garden.

“We keep hidden stuff we’ve found garage-saling in the garden,” Gary said. “We’ve got multiple statutes, a cement mushroom, a buffalo skull, and a Superman bust our daughter made when she was in high school.”

They grow lilies in their Bird Garden, which has a redbird sculpture perched upon a birdbath, while the Children’s Garden has an outdoor xylophone strung between the house and a swing set.

“Adults are welcome to play the xylophone,” Gary said.

The Holters

Though there are some fragrant flowers at Roger and Janell’s couty lake home, the main attraction at 15 Back Bay Ct. is the rock garden, and the unique ways plants are potted.

Janell has crystals and quartz she dug and collected in Arkansas, South Dakota, and other states.

“My rock garden is something that glorifies God,” she said. “I don’t know how a planet could belch up something that beautiful without God’s presence.”

Her quartz is mostly pink and the crystals are clear, like ice cubes.

Her rock garden also features rock gathered from area creek beds.

“I just like rocks,” she said. “If I see a stone I like on the side of the road, I will hop out and grab it. That’s why I drive a truck.”

The Holters also have a “secret garden” that is really a patio paved with rocks they collected. Each rock resembles a different state.

“We’ve found Tennessee, Illinois, California, Florida,” Janell said. “Actually we’ve found most states. It’s funny. It keeps Roger interested.”

Their secret garden also showcases a bathroom sink with petunias and spike grass growing from it.

“It was featured on Pinterest last summer,” Janell said. “I got the sink for $5 and the faucet for $2.”

Janell uses a birdhouse and a fire hydrant as planters. They also have a miniature fountain in their front yard skirted with stacked stones.

“I’ve got other amusing surprises too,” Janell said.

The Kirkpatricks

At Duane and Lori’s home on 1426 Sunflower Rd. south of Marion, visitors will encounter a mixture of flowers, grasses, bushes, and a panoramic view of a wheat field south of their back porch.

“Something neat about our farm is that we still have hen and chick plants, lilies, and hollyhocks that my mom and dad planted when they owned the place,” Lori said. “We also transplanted peonies and some live forever plants from Duane’s grandmother’s house.

“You think of the person when you’re out in the garden watering, weeding or working.”

The family lilies are brilliant yellow and orange. The hollyhocks stretch over seven feet tall near a short stretch of white picket fence that gives the area a rustic Americana feel.

Lori said people could sit in their porch swing and take in the view from their patio, where they also keep hanging baskets of flowers.

Around the farmstead they keep snapdragons, impatiens, scarlet begonias, geraniums, petunias, verbena, rose moss, bidets, pericallis, morning glories, sweet potatoe vine, silver falls dichondra, hypoestes splash select red, and creeping Jenny.

They also grow odiferous dwarf lilac bushes, crate myrtle, Karl Foster grass, and little bunny dwarf fountain grass around the yard.

“We love to entertain family and friends,” Lori said. “It’s just wonderful out here.”

The Nelsons

Visitors to Dwight and Julie’s home will see many items repurposed from different kinds of farm-related machinery.

They have lived in a home built in the late 1970’s by Julie’s parents, Ern and Lucille Hett, at 8322 140th Rd. near Aulne. Next to the house is the Copper Shed, a business Ern Hett started, where sculptures, wind chimes, and decorative items are sold.

On the Nelsons’ leg of the tour, visitors will get a look at their deck, which includes various plants and a goldfish lily pond with a small waterfall, as well as various homemade decorations.

Julie’s father designed the deck. It has a louvered roof that can maneuver to control the amount of sunlight that shines through.

They also keep a hibiscus that was a family heirloom from Julie’s mother.

“Mom’s been gone for 25 years now,” Julie said. “I keep it going because it was hers. She blooms every year for me.”

The Nelsons also keep a vegetable and fruit garden where they grow corn, beets, potatoes, squash, peppers, and fruit trees.

Their cilantro has gone to seed. The pleasant odor is overwhelming and can be detected throughout their yard.

They also keep chickens and multiple cats and dogs.

They have a prairie flower and cactus garden near the Copper Shed. Julie planted hen and chick plants in the crevices of rocks jutting up out of the raised bed.

She said visitors are welcome to tour their business while viewing their property.

The Dieters and Huffman

Jerry and Lenore’s house will not be a stop on the tour. However, they will show flora-related items at the library.

Jerry will present two of several bonsai trees he grows as a hobby.

“The juniper, also known as a green mound or procumbent nana, is at least 25 years old,” Jerry said. “I pruned it in a semi-cascade form, so that it lops over the pot a bit.”

His green mound is about eight inches tall, but the cascade branch hangs over the pot’s edge about one foot.

His second tree is a deciduous.

“Zelkova bonsai kind of look like an elm, but its leaves are smaller than what is typical,” he said. “It’s a formal upright. There’s not really anything screwy with its design, it’s just eventually supposed to appear ancient.”

Each tree is a common design to beginners. Jerry prunes his bonsai a couple of times a year. He said they are tough to grow outdoors.

“The cold dry winter we had killed one, one might be at deaths door, and another is recovering,” he said.

Lenore, a painter, will exhibit her floral paintings.

She primarily paints in watercolor, but one she might display is an oil painting.

“I have a great big painting of blue flax flowers that I painted in memory of my brother,” Lenore said. “They were his favorite. He would grow it. I usually bring this painting out for Christmas.”

Her brother convinced her to start painting before he died of cancer, she said.

Her watercolor paintings include several roses, a daisy with a ceramic duck, a monarda didyma bloom, also called scarlet beebalm, and an iris her mother grew.

“I love flowers,” she said. “I’ve painted since the early 2000s.”

Teresa will park her “glamped” 1968 Vintage Scotty camper trailer at the library for tour patrons to peruse.

“‘Glamped’ is essentially glorified camping for girls,” Huffman said. “It’s very frou-frou.”

She found her Scotty in a country hedgerow. Before she bought and remodeled it, it was used for storage. She said it used to be painted like a battleship. She had to put a new skin on its exterior.

“The interior is very feminine,” she said. “There is a chandelier and a lot of lace. It’s got cute curtains and fluffy pillows.”

The sink is a trendy aqua. She decorated it with an assortment of kitschy knickknacks.

Last modified June 25, 2015

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