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University of Illinois Extension
1350 West Prairie Drive
Sycamore, IL 60178-3166
DeKalb County Master Gardeners
2017 Garden Walk
2017 Garden Walk
The University of Illinois Extension DeKalb County Master Gardeners’ tenth annual Garden Walk will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, July 15, rain or shine. Six beautiful private gardens showcasing various styles and one public educational spotlight have been chosen for this year’s event.
The featured gardens are located in DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa, and Kirkland.
Tickets are available at the following locations:
University of IL Extension: 1350 W. Prairie Dr.,Sycamore, IL 60178
Since Shirley Anderson’s home in located on a corner lot on a main street in Genoa, her goal when she began gardening there was to wrap the yard with plants, creating a floral fence, so to speak. When the Andersons bought their home there was a clump of daylilies on the west side of the house. She started by dividing and transplanting them to different areas since they make good border, filler, and background plants. From there, Shirley kept adding plants until she achieved the desired design. She uses perennials an annual containers for variety. She likes to “swap” plants with family and friends and will gladly give any plant a home.
Shirley’s favorite plants include daylilies, sweet autumn clematis, hosta, cannas, and yucca plants. Along the lot line grow Rose of Sharon bushes, and hardy rosebushes do well in front of the house. Shirley enjoys being outdoors, working on the garden, and getting dirt under her nails. In her words, “In the summer when all the trees and plants have filled in nicely, it can feel a bit secluded,” just as she wanted.
Special features in the Anderson garden include three arbors, an old ladder and fence panel which hold potted plants, a chair and a planter box. Shirley also sets up two small ponds every year—one home to fish and the other home to pond plants.
Although Cohen Barnes has been gardening for about 15 years, he and his wife Amy have been working on the gardens of their current DeKalb home for the last four years. Situated on 2.6 acres .of land, the garden is a manicured, modern landscape focused on ease of maintenance without sacrificing beauty. The front of the hose overlooks a circular driveway with flower beds surrounding the outside of the drive and the center being the focal point. Flower beds containing hydrangea, lilacs, echinacea, hosta, roses, lilies, and iris, wrap the home. The back of the house features three decks which provide a view of the woods, the Kishwaukee River, and Buena Vista Golf Course.
Cohen says that his father and grandfather provided inspiration for gardening since both had properties “consumed by flower and vegetable gardens I enjoyed as a kid.”
When Amanda Christensen and Ned Cowley moved into their DeKalb home five years ago, the garden consisted of conifers, shrubs, and a neglected lawn full of thistles. Hence, all of the lush, cottage-style perennial beds, punctuated with more than 150 daylily cultivars, have been created in the last five years. A wandering mix of foundation plantings surrounds the home, and the yard is dotted with island, berm, and raised bed gardens containing a mix of perennial cultivars and natives to attract birds and pollinators. A unique thematic approach inspired the names the gardens as Passion, Rebellion, Heaven and the Underworld, Cheers!, and Politics, and handmade garden art creates whimsy.
Amanda recalls that her happiest childhood memories include riding in the wheelbarrow, digging potatoes, creating cucumber hills, and learning to identify seeds. The smell of a marigold or a tomato plant still reminds her of her grandparents. Additionally, Amanda is inspired to garden since it is her best therapy and artistic outlet. The fleeting nature of the daylily blooms reminds Amanda to daily stop and appreciate the beauty of nature.
When Linda and Earl Fett purchased their Kirkland home eleven years ago, they started with a blank slate, although birch trees, concolor firs, Scotch pines, and Douglas fir had already been planted. Over the years, the Fetts have added perennials throughout the beds and annual containers for color. Vegetables are planted in tubs. There is no particular design element to the garden since wildlife is the focus: birds are fed five types of seeds, and flowers are grown to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Bird baths encourage the birds to stop in the garden where birdhouses hang. Yard decorations add fun to the garden.
Linda relates that many of the flowers hold special meaning for her: peonies from her great-grandmother’s garden have been transplanted many times; gladiolas were a party favor at her daughter-in-law’s shower; Invincible Spirit hydrangeas were planted for her mother, mother-in-law, and several friends who have experienced breast cancer; and the Annabelle hydrangeas were used as centerpieces at her son’s wedding.
Master Gardener Connie and Dennis Hood describe their garden as…”a combination of wildlife habitat with a hosta overdose.” In 2000, a friend gave them four large hostas which became focal points in their former garden. In the process of expanding that hosta garden, they visited a commercial hosta grower and were surprised to find he had actually labeled 25 different varieties of hosta. 430 varieties later, the Hoods have made their garden a joint effort in their neverending fantasy.
In addition to hostas, native and perennial accents of trees and shrubs attract humans as well as birds, bees, and small mammals. In fact, the Hoods have been named a certified habitat by The National Wildlife Federation. It is common to observe fox squirrels, a Cooper’s hawk or an oriole.
Dennis and Connie have included natural elements such as logs and rocks, as well as decorative splashes of color in the form of flags, wind socks, and an obelisk. Several seating areas do the property, and Maude, the sprite adds the last element-water-to complete the garden atmosphere.
The inspiration for Master Gardener Cary Singer and his wife Kay’s Sycamore garden is the pond, a 7,000 gallon pond with two waterfalls spanned by a stone bridge. A large, rock berm comprised of mugo pine, junipers , tiger eye sumac, hostas, burning bush, St. John’s wort, 4 o’clock flowers ,and germaniums, to name a few, surrounds the entire pond. Additionally, the pond is home to a variety of water plants including lilies, tropical canna and buttercup plants, and more than 50 koi of various colors. A stamped patio rests in front of the pond.
Walnut Grove Vocational Farm
Walnut Grove Vocational Farm (WGVF), the 2017 DeKalb County Garden Walk Educational Spotlight, is a program of DeKalb County Community Gardens under the leadership of Heather Edwards, Program Director, and Meghan Chadra, Farm Manager. WGVF provides agricultural and horticultural-based training for people with disabilities in an integrated, supportive setting. Over the past year, WGVF has served groups of transition students from local high schools including DeKalb, Sycamore Life School, and Genoa-Kingston and this spring started taking applications for individuals 18 years and older who wanted to take part in an individualized program.
WGVF sells bedding plants, vegetable plants, herbs, and perennials. They offer a U-Pick field with many different vegetables and herbs that visitors can harvest. They also have a native prairie area that is being restored that guests can wander through. At the farm, they follow sustainable organic growing practices so consumers don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals being sprayed on their produce. Garden Walk attendees will be able to view the chicken coop, greenhouses, several garden beds, and will enjoy refreshments in the gazebo.