Six beautiful gardens showcasing various styles have been chosen for this year’s Extension Master Gardener’s Garden Walk this Saturday, July 11th, 2015 from 9am until 4pm. The Garden Walk goes on rain or shine.
The featured gardens are located in DeKalb, Sycamore and Waterman. They include the gardens of Cindy Tjelle, the Ellwood House Museum and Nehring House in DeKalb, Marilyn Stromborg and the Pay-It-Forward House in Sycamore, and Mandy and Randy Leifheit and Becky and Tom May in Waterman.
Tickets are available at the DeKalb County Center for Agriculture (Farm Bureau Building) 1350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore during business hours or the day of the Garden Walk. Additionally, tickets may be purchased on the day of the walk at any of the gardens. Tickets may also be purchased at Blumen Gardens, The Garden Market and at the DeKalb Florist in DeKalb. The cost of tickets is $10, all proceeds support the University of Illinois Extension programs.
Cost is $10. For more information, call the Extension office at 815-758-8194 or visit their website.
Gardens in the 2015 Garden Walk, including a brief descriptions of each
509 N. 1st Street,
DeKalb, IL 60115
The two properties offer four gardens for the visitor to peruse. The oldest and most formal is “The Wedding Garden,” originally the site of the 1934 wedding of Patience (Patty) Ellwood and Joseph Towle; its form and plant materials have changed over the years, but it is still a very popular spot for outdoor weddings. Since the 1960’s, hundreds of couples have married there. The garden is designed with a variety of shrubs including boxwood and lilacs, perennials such as peonies, lilies and columbine, and annuals which may include salvia and petunias for multi-season interest.
The Rain Garden was installed in 2013 to address drainage issues. Most of the eighteen varieties of plants are native forbs and grasses that can tolerate occasional standing water including Cardinal flower, spotted Joe-pye weed, swamp milkweed, marsh blazing star, and several varieties of sedges. One unexpected benefit of this garden is that the deer who often wander through the park seem to prefer to graze these plants rather than those in the more formal gardens.
The Butterfly Garden was also planted in 2013 near the old stone water tower. Intended as a learning garden, it is planted with twenty-one native species such as butterfly milkweed, sky blue, heath and New England asters, white wild indigo, prairie coreopsis, early and showy goldenrod, and grasses including sideoats grama, little bluestem, and prairie dropseed that attract butterflies and other insects.
Visitors may access the Carl and Anna Berg garden via the sidewalk by the wedding garden that leads to the rear of the Ellwood-Nehring House and then use the driveway to get to the garden located on the south side of the carriage house. A modified re-creation of an English cottage style garden, the garden was originally installed for Mrs. Perry (May) Ellwood in 1903 as a private walled garden, but now it is public for all to enjoy. It is now known as the Carl A. and Anna N. Berg Garden since their grandson and his wife, Bill and Patsy Lundberg, donated the funds to install the recreated garden in their ancestors’ memories. Carl and Anna had worked for the Ellwoods and later raised bedding plants for the Ellwoods’ gardens, so the Lundbergs, long-time Ellwood House Museum supporters, felt it appropriate to assist with the new garden. Like the 1903 original, a series of triangular beds wheel around a centered sundial, although the original did not have the hardscaping that now makes the center of the garden accessible. The stone and cedar pergola at the west end of the garden is a re-creation of one that used to span the west entrance of the U-shaped drive.
1146 Glidden Ave.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Cindy Tjelle has been gardening at her current home in DeKalb for twenty years. Cindy thinks of her garden as a mixture of designs—some Asian influence, some shade, and all located in the perimeter of the yard. Cindy attributes the Asian influence to her father’s massive Zen garden occupying three- fourths of an acre.
Cindy’s focus is to maintain blooms all season. Numerous peonies, tree peonies and iris provide color as well as cutting flowers. Other color-coordinated perennials include clematis, daylilies, and roses. Ground covers anchor the corners, while daphne provides fragrance. The central area of the garden has a white theme with moonflowers so it glows in the moonlight! A lilac and hydrangea add to the color. Annual pots can be found in front and in back of the house, as well as on the deck. There are Japanese maples in several areas, and a magnolia in the front. Cindy likes to place statuary throughout the gardens, as well as extras like wind chimes, solar lights, and other fun little surprises. A beautiful lighted fountain showcases the deck. Finally, heirloom tomatoes occupy a small area.
MANDY & RANDY LEIFHEIT
365 N. Elm Street
Waterman, IL 60556
Mandy Lefiheit likes to call her Waterman garden “a cultivated prairie”. The Leifheits, who have lived in their current home for ten years, have a number of different perennials and flowering shrubs, all having unique texture, flowers, foliage, and heights. The garden boasts a great variety of plants –allium, agastache, amsonia, phlox, monarda, baptisia, stachys, roses, and rhododendron. The shrubs include viburnum, sumac, and serviceberry, to name a few.
One unique feature of the garden are the Amorphophallus Voodoo lily or Snake lily bulbs. These plants, native to Asia, must be planted every year and dug up in the fall. During the summer they grow about two to two and a half feet with spotty trunk and umbrella-like canopy. In the winter the bulbs are stored in the basement, flowering in February.
Since the Leifheits live outdoors in the summer, Mandy focuses most of the interest around the patio. She and Randy entertain a lot, so they want to see a lot of color, Randy does most of the vegetable gardening since they love eating straight from the garden.
TOM & BECKY MAY
430 N. Elm Street
Waterman, IL 60556
Becky May approaches her garden “as an artist would a blank canvas and infuse(s) tons of color with the use of generous amounts of annuals along with perennials as the backbone…” The historic house, built in 1893, acts as a backdrop to cottage style flower gardens enlisting tried and true perennials from that era – – -purple coneflowers, daylilies, daisies, black-eyed Susans, yarrow, iris, sedum, lilies, roses, phlox, and different types of hydrangea. The new stone mosaic-faced garage also adds to the cottage style.
One of Becky’s desires for the garden is to attract butterflies and birds, so she added their favorites. A particular success has been Verbena Bonariensis, a purple, airy flower that self-seeds. To ensure color throughout the garden, Becky plants a variety of annuals such as marigolds, bright petunias, lantana, pentas, verbena, snapdragons, alyssum, blue salvia, geraniums, begonias, and New Guinea impatiens, to name a few. The shade garden is home to varieties of hosta, ferns, astilbe, and helleborus, interplanted with annual wax begonias and New Guinea impatiens for color.
As a side note, Becky plants vegetables among the flowers so that the Mays can enjoy fresh “veggies,” although the visitor will probably not notice them since there is no dedicated vegetable garden. An 800 square foot paved courtyard connecting the house and garage, provides a resting place for potted flowers. Additionally, Tom has created numerous iron accents adding depth to the gardens to keep the eye moving through various vignettes of flowers.
One of Becky’s favorite garden memories is hearing her seven-year old granddaughter Ava asking her five-year old brother, Bryson, “Don’t you just love gardening with Gammie?” It melted Becky’s heart.
719 Somonauk Street
Sycamore, IL 60178
Established in 2005 as a Hospitality House for family and friends of patients at Kindred Hospital,
Kishwaukee Hospital and Hospice, Pay-It-Forward House not only provides a home-away-from-home, but also a peaceful garden retreat for its guests. Marge Johnson, who has been working in the Pay-It-Forward House garden for the past ten years, the last five as chair, calls it a “Serenity Garden”. Marge says that the outdoor space was created to provide a peaceful place for guests to rest, relax, and reflect. A lovely patio provides several seating areas in addition to others scattered throughout the garden in the front and in the back. A fountain offers a delight to the ears while guests enjoy coffee or a meal, or contact loved ones.
The garden is an eclectic mix of annuals and perennials. Shady areas provide the perfect place for ferns, hosta, heuchera, columbine, astilbe, begonias, impatiens, coleus, and hydrangea. Sunny spots are filled with more than twenty-five roses, grasses, lilies, lilacs, coneflowers, cosmos, iris, salvia, and hollyhocks.
Other features include two rain barrels, a gazebo, a cedar swing, a glider, and more tables and chairs. A Master Gardener plants herbs in pots and tomatoes in Earth boxes. Just recently a Master Gardener built a redwood bench for the front garden, and a local artist decorated it with flowers.
What makes the Pay-It-Forward House garden special, is that it is planted and maintained by volunteers who donate annuals each May. In addition, in 2013, a watering system was donated to keep the gardens looking beautiful.
215 Dunkery Drive
Sycamore, IL 60178
Marilyn Stromborg has been gardening at her current Sycamore home for 15 to 20 years. Spanning the entire back of a one acre property, the gardens contain mass plantings of monarda, daylilies, and coneflowers. A stone path running through the garden leads to the four acres of woods serving as a backdrop to the gardens. The entire house is bordered by landscaping. In addition, the property boasts an atrium, gazebo and a deck which serves as a home to potted plants and herbs.
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