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30th annual AAWU Garden Tour is near

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A landscape shows some of the various things you can look for along your journey on this year's tours. John Zvirvoski / The Sun

**A landscape shows some of the various things you can look for along your journey on this year's tours**

*Picture taken by John Zvirovski 07/08/19*

The annual garden tours are upon us once again and this is your chance to get some wonderful ideas for your own yard or just have an evening with friends admiring what others can achieve! I for one cannot miss this great opportunity to see what other creative minds can come up with. I love to hear the stories of other gardeners’ success and failures as these are great ways to learn for our own little home sanctuaries.

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One thing I try to remind people each year before going on a tour is to make a list of things you want to look for and in which to develop ideas. Bring a notepad and pen along with a camera. There will be many different types of plant and landscape features you will want to take record for later reference. It is funny, but you would be amazed how quickly you forget about certain things when you are flooded with so many ideas within a short amount of time during the tour.

Take your time when you look around. There are four gardens in four hours, so that gives you about an hour to tour each one ... there is no hurry. Bring a friend along to enjoy the experience as it just makes it that much more enjoyable.

I’m one that looks for oddities. I like to find plants that nobody else seems to grow or see garden art that is so unique that it is entrancing. Chances are, if I haven’t seen it before, I will be completely enthralled by its existence.

There are areas in which you should pay special attention to when gathering ideas in other people's gardens. Of course there will be numerous plants in the design, but there will also be many hardscapes, water features and garden art throughout.

When looking at hardscapes, pay attention to the use of material and how it accents the design. These items would be things such as sidewalks, pathways, decks, patios, retaining walls and even fencing. How do these things flow in the landscape and how do they tie in from one area to the next. Materials used can vary from wood, stone, rock, sand and mulch. Some of the uses are functional while others are strictly decorative, but they all have a reason for being in that particular design.

Next, I like to look at the garden art that enters the picture. See how it accents certain areas or becomes a focal point in a particular location. Maybe it is a big statue, maybe it is a decorative urn, or maybe it happens to be a water feature such as a fountain or a birdbath. Placement of these items can really make the design stand out.

Some people enjoy making large water features in their garden such as ponds or little steams. Not only are these visually pleasing to the eye, but the sound of running water is very soothing to the soul in those intimate spaces. Some of the smallest fountains can make some of the best water noise if placed in the right location.

Other things to watch for are outdoor living spaces. Often patios have these features with amazing outdoor kitchens or just intimate sitting areas to relax and enjoy a great conversation. Some yards have more than one location for sitting while others strictly have a couple of lawn chairs to enjoy with only one other.

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I have seen some people make use out of garden sheds. Some are useful for storage and very decorative on the outside to blend in. Others are nearly the size of small guest houses with all the comforts of home but allow for a little retreat from life’s every day annoyances.

Lastly, but most importantly, is checking out the use of plants! I always look for things that catch my eye and see how they impact and work together with one another. Often there is a flow to the garden that takes you from one place to the other. Some yards make extraordinary use of planters while others make stunning beds. Some show off their talents with beautiful vegetable gardens. I have seen some of these gardens act like a work of art in themselves with their unique way of planting.

This year there are four featured gardens again with Connie Kanwischer at 1601 10 th Ave/ NE, Don and Karen Schumacher at 3321 Highway 20 N, Yvonne Wibstad at 306 5 th Ave. SW and Rod and Terri Wolters at 908 13 St, SW. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the tour and can be purchased at The Arts Center, Country Garden Floral, Dons House of Flowers, Lloyds Toyota and the AAUW Book Store. The tours are on Wednesday July 17, from 4–8 p.m. Proceeds to the tour will support the AAUW Endowment Fund at the University of Jamestown and the AAUW Foundation which provides grants and funding for projects that promote equality for women and girls.

We will see you there the night of the tour. I never miss a year ... at least try not to!

Related Topics: HOME AND GARDENGARDENING
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