Backyards full of ideas and garden solutions will be in full bloom as part of the McPherson Master Gardener and Friends June Bloom Garden Tour.
Each of the five gardens reflect the purpose and personalities of its owners, ranging from backyard paradises to research sites.
“What we like to focus on with this garden tour is education. We want to show people what you can do with what you have,” said DeWayne Herrs, Master Gardener. “Everybody has a problem in their garden, we all do, and maybe you can find a solution on this tour. I get ideas from the gardens every year.”
Since gardening doesn’t come naturally to everyone, Master Gardeners on the tour have highlighted a number of ways for individuals to try out techniques in a variety of yards.
The self-led June Bloom Garden Tour is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 24 to five locations in McPherson. Maps will be available at each of the gardens. Tickets are $7 on June 25 and $5 in advance, which can be purchased at Smoky Valley Nursery, Shelia’s Garden Market, McPherson County K-State Research and Extension office, The Bookshelf & Hidden Closet, Graber’s Ace Hardware and Stutzman’s Greenhouse.
Here’s a brief overview of what to look for during next Saturday’s tour:
Ron and Inge Kruge, 621 N. Walnut St.
The Kruge garden illustrates a few ways to handle almost anything Kansas can throw at a gardener.
“When we bought the house, there was nothing here, just mud puddles and weeds,” said Inge Kruge. “Like a puzzle, everything came together.”
The Kruges show a number of ways to fix common lawn problems, such as improving drainage by adding a brick walkway or adding plants that tolerate all forms of weather.
“I like a mix and I like plants that look good in the winter months. Boxwoods stay green all year long,” Inge Kruge said. “In Kansas, it’s difficult to have color with the heat, so the spots of color in our garden are what I put in pots.”
Michael and Jolene Westerman, 1448 N. Grimes St.
The Westerman’s garden opens the door to new ideas in a hidden oasis.
“You see the first part of the garden and then there’s a gate to kind of a secret garden. Most people have no idea this is back here,” Jolene Westerman said.
The garden features a number of unique plants like canas, elephant ears and palms, that transport visitors to the tropics.
“We started traveling quite a few years ago and we love going to Key West. That was our inspiration and now we’ve been to a lot of islands in the Caribbean,” Jolene Westerman said. “Every time, we come home with something else we want to try.”
Todd and Wanda Sponsel, 755 E. Euclid St.
Antique meets chic in the Sponsel’s rustic-themed garden.
“I like a lot of rusty stuff that’s had some use,” Wanda Sponsel said. “I have an old glider out there and it’s so nice to go sit out there and relax.”
In addition to rustic elements, the Sponsels make the most of a smaller space by strategically arranging each flowerbed in their city-sized lot.
“It’s a small yard and I have fun working out here,” Wanda Sponsel said. “I just plan it as I go along.”
DeWayne and Bertie Herrs, 1015 N. Walnut St.
The Herrs garden is a beautiful solution to a shady problems.
“We have all this shade and grass won’t grow in shade, so I tilled up all the shady areas and let the grass grow where there was sun. It’s done very nice. I quit fighting it and now I can just enjoy it,” DeWayne Herrs said. “We have about 105 hosta plants in all different varieties. Our hydrangeas are in full blossom this year — we haven’t had much success before, so this is really the first year that they’ve done well. There’s also a water garden and a vegetable garden.”
Of course, the first thing visitors notice is the lack of a standard lawn.
“The big thing about our garden is that you don’t need a lawn mower,” Herrs laughed. “There’s very little grass. You just walk through and literally smell the roses.”
Demonstration Garden, 600 W. Woodside St.
The McPherson Master Gardeners and Friends tend the Demonstration Garden, located by the McPherson County K-State Research and Extension office. This space allows gardeners to both assist in horticultural research, and get ideas for their gardens at home.
“We get plants in the experimental gardens through the K-State Research and Extension department. We test them for three years to see if they survive in the McPherson climate,” DeWayne Herrs said. “They send them to different places in Kansas and when they deem them survivors, they put them on the market. Some people come by and look to see what they might get next year at a nursery, but we’re really demonstrating what will grow well here in Kansas.”
This year, the gardeners are working with a short stature cana, which will be about three feet tall instead of the usual five feet tall.
“They kind of look like a lily, but they’re bigger and sturdier. They’re striking,” DeWayne Herrs said. “We also have a clematis that’s doing great this year and it’s putting out a lot of color. A lot of people are asking about it because it’s so interesting. You see it and you just want to know what it is.”
For more information about the garden tour, call the McPherson County K-State Research and Extension office at 620-241-1523.
Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.