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The garden tours are here

There will be many wonderful garden designs on display this year at the four yards being presented. John Zvirovki / The Sun

It already feels like the middle of summer has arrived, and I often feel I just began the season. I have to wonder where the time goes or if I have just spent it all weeding, watering and deadheading. I have found the best weather always makes the season go by way too quickly, and I am trying to find the time to sit back and enjoy every moment of it before it all goes away. Even with a dry year, it seems things are looking pretty good, but we could use some good oldfashioned rain to feed the gardens and lawns. There is nothing better than a good steady rainfall for a while; maybe soon.

July is always a fun month where the garden begins to fill with constant color as this is the time when all the annuals begin their consistent blooming until the autumn frosts arrive. Often it is hot, but that is the kind of weather I thrive in, so I absorb as much of it as I can as I know it will be short lived. July is also the month for the garden tours, both locally and regionally. This is everyone’s chance to get a glimpse into some backyards to witness some very creative design work.

I personally love to go on garden tours as I find them to be a great resource for new ideas, a chance to see new and different design elements and get to talk to other gardeners along the way. When we stay in our own yards day in and day out, our outlook on things becomes a bit tunneled. By going out and seeing what other people do opens the door of creativity once again to allow you to explore new and unique things.

There are always many things to see on these tours; not only can you take a friend and enjoy them with a nice visit along the way, but you can throw all sorts of thoughts around.

The main thing you will see is an abundance of plants. That is always a thrill as oftentimes there will be some plants that many people have never seen before and find exotic or interesting. Some might be non-hardy tropical where others might be a new hardy perennial for our area that isn’t common yet. Annuals are always a thrill as they produce that intense and abundant color for the rest of the season. There can be some very unique specimens in this genre also. It is on one of these garden tours that I had discovered the annual penstemon called red phoenix and have had it in my garden every year since.

Not only are there great perennials and annuals on the tour, but also many interesting trees and shrubs. Sometimes they are the common species, but many times there is one in the bunch that really stands out and takes notice. It is for these specific reasons that I enjoy the tours so much!

Many gardens have unique statuary and garden art. Some are whimsical, some are quaint or funny, and others command attention. Some gardens will have birding elements such as baths, feeders and houses of numerous types, and others will have various types of water features. All of these accent pieces can really add a sense of calm to the garden space for a little evening relaxation.

Patios and decks often accompany these gardens too. Some are simple and others are very elaborate that may include extraordinary outdoor kitchen spaces. Some will have pergolas and others will have tables and large umbrellas with comfortable sitting spaces. Many of them may give you great ideas for your own space when that next project demands a little creativity.

This year there will be four gardens on the tour. Each of these four gardens will be very different from the other, allowing you a large array of things to think about. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 the day of the tour, which will be available at any of the homes you get to first. Advanced tickets can be obtained via the AAUW bookstore, the Arts Center, Country Gardens Floral, Lloyds Motors, the Garden Gate and Don’s House of Flowers. Proceeds from the tour go to support the AAUW Endowment Fund at the University of Jamestown. The foundation provides grants and funding for projects that promote equality for girls and women.

The tour sites this year will be Kimm Avans, 418 4th Ave. SE; Frank and Stephanie Jensen, 1605 3rd Ave. NE; Alan and Mary Sargent, 3161 Highway 281 N; and yes, I will be on the tour again this year at 1601 7th Ave. SE. It will be a great day for a tour, and I would love to see you all there supporting this wonderful cause while touring the beautiful gardens for a pleasant evening out. Don’t forget to take many pictures and bring a notebook to write down the ideas you find most interesting. I hope to see you all there!