McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Water wets McPherson gardens in time for tours

  • Plenty of rain in the last few weeks after two years of hard drought has brought green and color to gardens in the McPherson community.
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  • Plenty of rain in the last few weeks after two years of hard drought has brought green and color to gardens in the McPherson community.
    That bounty will be celebrated this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the June Bloom Garden Tour.
    The tour is sponsored by and benefits the McPherson County Master Gardeners.
    Wendy Paul, 1026 Old Highway 81
    Paul's garden seems to emerge seamlessly from the natural landscape surrounding Turkey Creek.
    The entryway of the garden is paved with whimsical pavers created by Paul's family during a party in 2010. In each round paver is the hand or footprint of one of 40 members of Paul's family, ranging in age form Paul's 98-year-old grandfather to a 3-month-old child.
    "It's my passion," Paul said of gardening. "I work out in the yard, talk to the worms and the plants and the weeds, and dig in the dirt."
    Paul converted an old planting shed into a tea room. A mannequin dressed as her mother, Opal, stands as the guardian of the quaint shack.
    A number of items in the garden are salvaged, including headboards that are used as trellises and bricks that came form Kansas Avenue in McPherson.
    Bill and Barb Tieyah, 615 S. Maple
    Bill Tieyah said he likes his garden best at night. Solar lights are installed throughout the garden.
    Barb's favorite spot is a cushioned bench made of reclaimed lumber where she naps. She is awakened by the warm afternoon sun. Barb said she also cherishes her hummingbird garden.
    Bill cleans people's backyards and many of the features in their garden are fixtures made from items other people have discarded — a bench, pavers and a horse tank that became a fish pond. Bricks in a path in the Tieyahs' yard came from Main Street in McPherson.
    The Tieyahs live a sustainable lifestyle, growing much of what they eat. They have peach, pear and plum trees, and strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. They also share grape vines with their neighbors. Much of this goes into jams and jellies. The Tieyahs also devote a significant amount of their green space to vegetable gardening, including sweet potatoes, squash and peppers.
    Mike and Kelli Dossett, 610 S. Walnut
    Funky found-object art and a kaleidoscope of glass compliment the flowers, greenery and vegetables in the Dossetts' yard. Mike Dossett is a welder and Kelli is a yoga instructor. Zen meets fun in this eclectic space.
    Recycled or reclaimed glass is everywhere in the garden from the blue and green bottle bottoms in the fence and chicken coup to the reclaimed stain glass windows hanging from trees in the backyard.
    "When we go to the recycling center, I am putting things in, and he is pulling things out," Kelli said of glass bottles.
    Page 2 of 3 - Colored bottles hang from a metal tree in the Dossetts' front yard. Kelli said the tree is an homage to the myths of the South. The tales say when you hear the wind whistling in the bottles, you must run out and place a cork in them to trap the spirits so they won't come into your home.
    The backyard is a blanket of ivy. Kelli said she started with just a few sprigs, which now completely covers the shaded backyard.
    "It's ivy gone wild," Mike said.
    The Dossetts are very health conscious and avid juicers. Kale and rhubarb abound in their many beds and vegetable plantings this spring.
    Mike modeled an irrigation system for his vegetables after one he found on YouTube. Rain barrels feed into rain gutters where a wicking system waters five-gallon buckets of carrots, beets and other vegetables.
    The Dossetts said they use their vegetable garden to teach their children about the origins of food.
    "We want our kids to know that potatoes do not start out as french fries," Mike said.
    Ron and Val Mork, 1407 N. Grimes
    When the Morks leave on vacation their bags might be light, but when they return they are often much heavier. The couple, who likes to vacation in the Rockies, often brings home rocks for their garden from their trips. The yard also sports native limestone fence posts.
    "I have loved gardening all my life," Val Mork said. "I plant something, if it doesn't work, I move it somewhere else."
    Because of settling due to extreme drought during the last two years, the Morks had to have dirt work done around their basement. As a result, several of their beds had to be removed and replanted this season.
    The Morks grow vegetable and herb gardens in their side yard. Don't miss the solar panels that are used to heat the garage.
    The Morks backyard has quaint touches, such as boot and clog planters, and a walkway made of slices of logs.
    Val said be careful on that log path, the natural contour of the wood pieces make walking on it a little tricky.
    Washington Elementary School Courtyard, 128 N. Park Ave.
    Washington Elementary School has an Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site, which also is known as the OWLS program.
    OWLS is a program sponsored by the Chickadee Checkoff of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. An OWLS is an outdoor environmental/wildlife laboratory, at or near a school, consisting of one or more native habitat features.
    Some features of the garden include butterfly buckets, bird feeders and drought tolerant plant species.
    Children use the garden during the school year during their math and science studies.
    Page 3 of 3 - Master Gardener and Friends Demo Garden, 600 W. Woodside
    The demo garden is five different gardens in one, including a large variety of flowers and shrubs.
    One of the gardens is a testing garden, where new plants from different areas of the world are tested in Kansas soil and weather to see how they fare. Other features include a hand-laid brick path, made of old bricks from McPherson streets, and wooden benches.
    The xeriscape and native sections of the garden are in full bloom. However, the annuals were only planted within the last couple of weeks. It will several more weeks before the new plantings are in full bloom.
    Tickets for the tour are $5. Advance tickets can be purchased at Smoky Valley Nursery, Stutzman's Nursery, Sheila's Garden Market, The Bookshelf and Hidden Closet, Headquarters Hair Care, Graber's Ace Hardware and McPherson County Extension.
    New this year is the great garden matchmaker in which participants must match photos from the six gardens with the appropriate garden. Winners have a chance to receive gift certificates from Stutzman's Nursery, Smoky Valley Nursery, The Bookshelf/Hidden Closet, Sheila's Garden Market or Graber's Ace Hardware.
    The McPherson Trolley will be made available for free this year for the tour. Starting at the Master Gardener and Friends Demo Garden, the trolley will rotate around each of the six gardens.
    For tickets and more information, call 620-241-1523.
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