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VIDEO: Garden Tour to feature flatlands, waterfronts and 50-year-old rhubarb in Jamestown, N.D.

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - A more than 50-year-old rhubarb plant, two river-front garden areas and a smoke bush are some of the sights people can see on the AAUW Garden Tour on Wednesday.

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A wide-spreading cedar tree provides a shady canopy for hostas and other shade-loving plants in Gerhardt and Gayl Lange's yard. John M. Steiner/The Sun

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - A more than 50-year-old rhubarb plant, two river-front garden areas and a smoke bush are some of the sights people can see on the AAUW Garden Tour on Wednesday.

This is the 27th tour sponsored by the Jamestown branch of the American Association of University Women. Proceeds from the garden tour support the AAUW Educational Foundation, AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund and the AAUW Endowment Fund at the University of Jamestown. The tour will be held from 4 to 8 p.m.

There are four stops on the tour this year: Gerhardt and Gayl Lange, 901 2nd Ave. SE; Ken and Rosemary McDougall, 1605 9th Ave. SE; Gary and Jill Riffe, 220 9th Ave. NE; and Al and Renaye Wartner, 602 8th Ave. NW. Refreshments for those taking the tour will be served from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Arts Center, 115 2nd St. SW, in Jamestown.

Gerhardt and Gayl Lange

Gerhardt and Gayl Lange moved into their 2nd Avenue Southeast home 18 years ago after their son took over the family farm north of Eldridge. Gayl Lange said the main layout that makes up the garden at their home was there when they moved in.

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“We changed a lot of what is within the layout,” she said.

Lange said one of the bigger changes they made was creating a water feature – a pond. She said there was a low-growing cedar bush in that part of the garden layout along with some other plants.

“We didn’t have any sort of overall plan for our garden,” she said about changes she and Gerhardt have made over the years.

Lange said they chose a pond because water features were becoming popular in the area at the time. They took out the cedar plant and dug out the area for the pond themselves. Once the pond was installed, Lange said they took some rocks from the family farm and used them to create a walking path by the pond, then planted hostas around the pond, as well as ribbon grass and irises.

Lange said the garden is a mix of hostas, perennials, decorative grasses and ferns. A unique item in their yard is a rhubarb plant Lange said her mother gave to her shortly after she was married to Gerhardt.

“That was over 50 years ago,” she said.

The rhubarb plant was replanted from the family farm and Lange said she likes it for the large, green leaves it produces.

Al and Renaye Wartner

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Having property along the James River can be a challenge, according to Al and Renaye Wartner. Al Wartner said in 2009 and 2010, their yard along the river was destroyed when a flood-control dike was installed.

“It was quite a project to redo,” he said.

The first thing he had to do was get the river bank solidified by installing new boulders and rocks.

“All of the boulders from the hillside had to be replaced,” Renaye said. “It was impossible to retrieve the (old) boulders from the river.”

Al said it took two years to get the river bank secured. Once that was done, he restored the underground sprinkler system and replanted the lawn that had covered the yard around their house.

“I had never planted a yard before with grass,” he said. “It seems to have worked.”

Since 2011, the Wartners have replanted two mature evergreen trees on the east side of their property. They have prepared flower beds and planted shrubs along the river bank to go with the perennial and annual flowers planted there as well.

Al and Renaye said they have been on the AAUW Garden Tour themselves and got some ideas for their garden.

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“Anyone looking for ideas on what to do with their yard or garden should go on the tour and see (what other people have done in their yards),” Al said.

Gary and Jill Riffe

The Riffes took two lots to create the home and yard they want to spend their time in. Jill Riffe said the original lot was forested, and they removed 15 to 18 unhealthy elm trees but kept a healthy buckeye tree on the corner of their property.

“In the fall, the red coloring (of the leaves) is amazing,” she said.

Gary said the tree is popular with school children who have to collect different kinds of leaves in the fall for a science project.

With the exception of the buckeye tree and a couple of smaller trees, Jill said every tree and shrub on their property was planted by them.

The Riffe’s yard is terraced behind their home, a feature that was there when they bought the property. Jill said the “crowning glory” of their yard is their flagpole, which has white and red blooming flowers next to it, part of a patriotic theme around the pole.

Jill said she has worked at the Flower Power Greenhouse, which is next to Cash Wise, for 15 years where she learned a lot about annuals.

“I love to mix them up,” she said about her potted plants. “I move them around like furniture.”

Jill said as of last week she had over 100 different perennial flowers in the yard. Riffe’s yard features a wide variety of plants, including a smoke bush, a split-leaf philodendron that has been a part of the couple’s garden since 1979 and a crabless crabapple tree.

Like other stops on the tour, Riffe’s garden and yard includes repurposed items from stones on the walking path to old sewer pipes used as planters.

Ken and Rosemary McDougall

Rosemary McDougall said she and her husband, Ken, built their home in 1996.

“We started with a clean slate,” she said about their yard and garden.

McDougall said they hired some professionals to help with the landscaping of their yard. They had the lawn seeded, some trees planted and a patio built. But she said the original plan didn’t work for them, so they redid most of the work themselves, including creating a new larger patio and using the stones from the old patio and creating raised flower beds.

McDougall said she likes all the elements of the yard and garden, but especially favors the window boxes on the house.

“They (the flower boxes) are characteristic of my German background,” she said.

Most of the window boxes on the front of the McDougall home are planted with flowers, while one in the back is used for growing herbs.

The McDougall yard includes a flower bed along the river with a decorative red pump and sitting area by the river as well. She said they had been asked to be on the AAUW Garden Tour before, but this year they felt their yard and garden were complete enough to show to the public.

“Our major projects, the patio and sitting area down by the river, our raised garden beds, are all complete,” she said.

colson@jamestownsun.com  |

(701) 952-8454

IF YOU GO

What: AAUW Garden Tour When: 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday Where: There are four stops on the tour: Gerhardt and Gayl Lange, 901 2nd Ave. SE; Ken and Rosemary McDougall, 1605 9th Ave. SE; Gary and Jill Riffe, 220 9th Ave. NE; and Al and Renaye Wartner, 602 8th Ave. NW. Refreshments for tour participants will be served from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Arts Center, 115 2nd St. SW, in Jamestown. Details: Tickets are $8 in advance and may be purchased at the Arts Center, Country Gardens Floral, 106 Business Loop W.; Don’s House of Flowers, 1107 7th Ave. SE; the Buffalo Mall; The Garden District Inc., 1602 Business Loop E.; Lloyds Toyota, 500 17th St. SW; the Garden Gate, 208 1st St. W; and from AAUW members. Tickets are $10 the day of the tour and after 3 p.m. and are only available at the Arts Center or at each stop on the tour. Info: For more information about the tour and a map of the tour, go to jamestown nd.aauw.net.

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