• Last modified 3321 days ago (July 22, 2010)


Treat yourself to nature's beauty

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Organizers Janet Marler, Pam Bowers, Jeanice Thomas, and Margaret Wilson knew there was going to be hundreds of visitors in town for the Cal Ripken baseball tournament.

Why not give visitors and residents something fun and unusual to do while in Marion?

Why not a garden tour?

Residents and visitors should be surprised, amazed, and impressed by the variety of gardens selected for the Marion City Library’s garden tour.

The tour, Flowers in the Flint Hills, will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets cost $5 and may be purchased at the library. Proceeds will benefit the library.

Six gardens in and around Marion have been selected for the tour. They offer a variety of foliage and vegetation and feature characteristics of the Flint Hills.

They are the gardens of Erick and Cheryl Brandsted, 130 Eastmoor Dr.; Rocky and Shirley Jo Hett, 208 Hett Hollow; Teresa Huffman, 327 Elm St.; Thad and Janie Meierhoff, 402 S. Cedar St.; Mick and Marge Summervill, 1626 Turkey Creek Rd.; and Jim and Peggy Wilson, 117 Lakeshore Dr.

After the tours, refreshments will be served at the library, 101 Library St., Marion.

Brandsted garden

Visitors will see theme gardens including Japanese and cactus gardens. Vines, ground cover, lilacs, black lace leaf elderberry, black wieglia, and roses are among the unusual foliage. Many of the roses were planted in 1955. The couple moved them when they came to Marion.

Purple martins, hummingbirds, box turtles, and koi bring life to the garden.

The frame for this color is provided by Kansas limestone.

Hett garden

“Natural” is a word to describe this garden. When the Hetts purchased the property in 1990, they removed 80 pickup loads of brush between the house and creek bank and brought in 60 loads of soil. An inch below the soil surface is solid rock challenging the garden.

A stream runs through the area and a low dam has been built. Anyone age 14 and younger may fish in a stocked pond.

Yellow, blue, cream, and purple water iris bloom on both sides of the stream. Sweet Annie, coneflowers, lavender, yarrow, mallow, carpet roses, and tansy add to Mother Nature’s canvas.

Numerous trees have been planted in the 3.5-acre plot. Auss, cypress, Osage oranges, pear, apple, cherry, plum, oak, red bud, and lemon are among the varieties.

The garden is home to a variety of wildlife, including Eurasian doves.

Huffman garden

Not visible from the street, this secret garden is located away from house.

Huffman hauled more than 200 feet of stone fences that border the property, many coming from historic sites.

Wildlife is invited to this garden with a deck offering a bird’s-eye view. Squirrels, deer, a skunk, and a whistle pig or groundhog are among the regular visitors.

Meierhoff garden

Most of the flowers in this garden have passed from other gardeners, some with bittersweet memories. Among them is a flowering crab that was given to the couple after the death of their infant son. It has been moved twice and continues to thrive.

The Meierhoffs have called one particular plant a clothesline vine because a jar was found after the death of her mother with “clothesline vine seeds” on the label.

Other flowers include iris, hen and chicks, coral-bells, coneflowers, and the clothesline vine.

A vegetable patch includes horseradish, tomatoes, corn, and dill.

A chamber pot, coal bucket, cream separator, light fixture, double boiler, walking plow, bedpan, and calf muzzle are used as planters.

Wrens, orioles, and hummingbirds flock to a chicken watering pan and flowers.

A limestone slab from a pasture serves as a bench. Thad Meierhoff passed this rock in a pasture as he herded the family’s dairy cows. A fence was constructed of wood from a family farm shed. A hand pump is at one end of a patio.

Summervill garden

The 1872 farmhouse, home to three generations of Summervills, also is the home of purple martins, hummingbirds, orioles, cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, and woodpeckers.

Pussy willows, glove willows, bald cypress, catalpa, curly willow, and cottonwood trees spread across a vista of green lawn and white fences.

The property, known as Spring Valley Farm, includes a spring that pumps 240 gallons a minute. The large stream is home to trout and bluegill. Blue herons also visit.

A limestone barn, built in 1909, continues to be used.

A bed of cannas is where the Summervills’ daughters were married.

Wilson garden

Although small, the front garden is home to purple martins, orioles, hummingbirds, cardinals, squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, and deer.

A rocky terrain makes gardening a challenge, so tons of soil was hauled to the yard.

As visitors tread through flowers and bushes into a miniature world set apart, the triangular-shaped garden has more than 100 species of flowers, mostly perennials.

Three flourishing young trees were transplanted from El Dorado. Peggi Wilson also has vegetation from her parents’ home in Washington State. Dozens of plants and ground coverings have come from friends.

Hollyhocks, Shasta daisies, and black-eyed Susans add color and beauty to the backyard.

Last modified July 22, 2010