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Published July 07, 2010, 12:00 AM

Annual Tour of Gardens July 11

The weather has warmed, your gardens are planted, weeded and growing; and you’re ready to kick back and see what’s cookin’ in someone else’s garden bed.

By: By Robin Trott, Extension Educator, Alexandria Echo Press

The weather has warmed, your gardens are planted, weeded and growing; and you’re ready to kick back and see what’s cookin’ in someone else’s garden bed. What better way to spend a summer day than touring local gardens. On Sunday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Douglas County Master Gardeners present their annual Tour of Gardens. The Tour of Gardens is an opportunity to see a variety of horticultural practices in Douglas County. Six local gardens are included in this year’s tour, each with its own unique style and theme.

1. Visit the Williams’ “plunk-it” garden, which surrounds their home and includes a fountain, gazebo, rocks and petrified wood from Arizona, and a variety of plants.

2. Stop at the Thalmans’ hosta garden, which includes more than 700 plants and 380 named varieties. Yard art, island flower beds and a salsa bed complete this intriguing garden. Make sure to wear sensible shoes, as many of the hostas are on a sloping hillside.

3. Drop in at the Hoeschens’ rain garden, which was featured on Prairie Yard and Garden. This garden is a prime example of what a lake owner, city owner or municipality can do to prevent water runoff from entering our lakes and streams.

4. For a touch of whimsy, don’t miss the Kellermans’ informal country garden. This garden features perennials, lilies, herbs and vegetables, a year-round green house, a delightful fairy garden, a new gnome garden and a pond with huge fish.

5. The Wilsons have a 40-acre farm and grow organic produce. This year, they have included a CSA garden, selling shares to the public who then receive food throughout the summer and into early fall. You may be familiar with the Wilsons’ strawberries and pumpkins. Stop by and explore all they have to offer.

6. No garden tour would be complete without a stop at the home of Larry Zilliox. Larry is our retired Douglas County Extension Educator. He currently hosts Prairie Yard and Garden, continues work with the University of Minnesota, travels and operates a bed and breakfast. (And he calls that retirement!) On a hillside overlooking Lake Mina, his gardens reflect thoughtfulness, color and planning. Karen’s Garden is planted in tribute to his wife. Hanging pots line the porch and are set up with drip irrigation for watering and fertilizing. He has several fruit trees, a blue garden, a pond, a grape arbor and many native grasses. Keep your eyes open for the hops vine!

The cost of this marvelous event is $5, payable at your first garden stop. Visit in any order, and spend as long as you wish at each stop. For more information, and for tour brochures, call the Douglas County Extension office at (320) 762-3890. Hope to see you there!

Until next time, happy gardening!

“I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass and tries to correct the error.”

– Sara Stein, My Weeds, 1988

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