Hit the road for a small-town garden tour

06/01/2012 5:00 AM

06/02/2012 7:26 AM

We’re entering the road-trip part of garden-tour season — though we still have a few local tours coming up, too. To me, these tours are an easy and charming way to get a taste of vacation without the long road trip. You just start to relax, too, in a small town.

Augusta, McPherson and Newton are first up.

Hayrack wildflower tour

On Sunday, there will be a hayrack-ride wildflower tour at the RAFT Recreational Ranch in Augusta. The ranch, which formerly was a getaway for teachers, is at 13218 S.W. Tawakoni Road, 10 miles east of Rock Road and 1 1/2 miles north of 47th Street South, which is 150th in Butler County. You can find it by heading east on Kellogg/Highway 54 and turning south on Tawakoni.

The tour will be at 3 p.m. Sunday. The cost of $10 will include a hayrack ride, wildflower identification, pink lemonade and homemade cookies. The ranch’s website is raft-ranch.com.

McPherson tour

The June Bloom Garden Tour in McPherson, about an hour’s drive northwest of Wichita, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 9. The one-day tour will feature seven gardens and is sponsored by the McPherson master gardeners and friends. The cost is $5 to see all of the gardens.

Tickets can be purchased at any of the tour sites. Here are the stops along with their hosts:

•  Winston and Rita Beam, 1433 Briarwood
•  Todd Whitehill and Deb Pyle, 613 E. Euclid
•  Rick and Patti Wall, 820 E. Euclid
•  DeWayne and Roberta Herrs, 1015 N. Walnut
•  Countryside Gardens, corner of Northview and Covenant
•  Master Gardeners and Friends Demonstration Garden, 600 W. Woodside
•  CertainTeed Employees Garden, 4-H grounds north of the arena and half block north of the demonstration garden.

For more information, call the Extension office in McPherson at 620-241-1523.

Newton tour

The Newton-North Newton Flower & Garden Tour will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 9 and 1 to 5 p.m. June 10. Proceeds from the $5 ticket cost will go to the Second Century Library Endowment Fund-Newton.

Four gardens are on the tour, and five local experts will give talks. Here’s a rundown from the organizers:

•  Joanna and Gregg Friesen, 515 E. 4th St., Newton. Gregg is in charge of a 20-by-30-foot combined vegetable bed and orchard, while Joanna gardens as a creative outlet on the rest of the property. Many of their plants are natives and hardy perennials, many from Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, and those that don’t provide food for them do provide a habitat for birds and butterflies.
•  Susan and Allan Bartel, 2816 Goldenrod Road, North Newton. The Bartels started from scratch in 2003 and, by adjusting as they went along to what worked and what didn’t, have reached a garden state where they are able to adequately care for and maintain the yard, Susan says. Allan has made fences, structures, fountains and small ponds, and wood sculptures by John Gaeddert, Susan’s father, are interspersed through the garden.
•  Vada Snider, 2507 and 2509 Ivy Drive, North Newton. Vada operates a duplex attached to a silo that serves as guest apartments (bed and breakfast). The silo was part of a dairy farm that used to be on the site. There is a shaded cottage garden surrounding the duplex that includes native wildflowers, ground covers and Asiatic lilies. Artist Conrad Snider is Vada’s brother, and some of his clay sculptures are placed among the plants. The inside of the duplex — the Woodland Hideaway and Serenity Silo — also will be open for as part of the tour.
•  Sand Creek Community Gardens, Goerz Avenue and East 24th Street, North Newton. More than 50 people — students from Bethel College and families in the community — work side-by-side in this community garden’s plots. Goals include not only growing local, healthy food, but encouraging community and teaching good gardening practices. There are 32 plots, two of which are perennial and annual flower gardens managed by the community.

The talks that will take place during the tour:

•  “Uppity Gardening” by Lee Llamas of Harvest Greenhouse, at the Friesen garden. Times: 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. June 9, and 2:45 and 3:15 p.m. June 10.
•  “Community Gardening” by Duane Friesen, at Sand Creek Community Gardens. Times: 9:30 and 10 a.m. June 9, and 3:30 and 4 p.m. June 10.
•  “Heritage Gardening” by Rose Goering Brandt, at the Bartel garden. Times: 9:30 and 10 a.m. June 9.
•  “Wild Flowers for Your Garden” by Marion Deckert, at the Bartel garden. Times: 1:45 and 2:15 p.m. June 10.

Tickets are available at the Newton Public Library, Harvest Greenhouse, Flowers by Ruzen and Newton Dillons stores, and will also be available at each house during the tour.

Rounding out our out-of-town tours will be Marion’s on July 7.

About Annie Calovich

Annie writes about home and garden, including her Bit of Earth column on Saturdays. She has been at The Eagle since 1985, working as a copy editor, a nation/world editor and a reporter. She’s a KU graduate who started out at The Coffeyville Journal.

Contact Annie at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com

Follow Annie on Twitter: @AnnieCalovich

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