CHURUBUSCO — Even though Whitley County is suffering from drought conditions, one group of gardeners is keeping everything green and the flowers bright.
The Whitley County Master Gardeners present their 2012 Garden Walk, and it centers around the Columbia City and Churubusco areas. The Walk includes seven gardens and is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 23. The cost is $7 per person which is $1 per garden.
Tickets can be purchased at the Whitley County Extension office, STAR Bank in Churubusco, Jones Greenhouse in Churubusco, Blue River Nursery, Hartman’s Lawn & Garden and Graber’s Greenhouse both in South Whitley. Tickets can also be purchased at any of the following gardens just on the day of the walk.
Gardeners included in this year’s walk are Gladith Hile, Ron and Sherry Johnson, George and Mary Dafforn, Kerry and Barb Boggs, Jim and Orrisa Daily, Dave and Joan Taylor and Tom and Juli Geiger.
This year’s Garden Walk has a driving distance of 9.8 miles requiring 23 minutes of drive time. Visitors may see a memorial garden, a grandchildren’s garden, an antique wagon and sulky, unique hardscapes, large statuaries, pergolas and lots of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees.
Garden Number One is that of Gladith Hile. Hile lives in a stately brick home at 2305 N. Johnson Road, Columbia City. Her home is surrounded by a wrought iron fence in the front and side, and a split rail fence in the back and throughout the property.
The yard is loaded with wonderful shade beds and loads of trees in many varieties. There is a memorial garden for Gladith’s late husband, Verlin Hile, who was a dentist in Columbia City. This was once his vegetable garden. The statuary throughout the yard is life size and eye-catching. There is even an outhouse which she says is not a working model. Various farm implements, wagons and a sulky are featured in this enchanting yard.
Ron and Sherry Johnson
The Johnsons live at Garden Number Two located at 1661 N. Johnson Road, Columbia City.
When Ron and Sherry Johnson purchased this home 16 years ago, there was no landscaping.
Ron laid the brick sidewalk and accented the landscaping with large rocks. This hill at the sides of the basement is covered in ivy.
Ron and Sherry purchased and planted 1,200 trees. Although the deer destroyed some trees, there are still a generous number of trees left unscathed.
As you come onto this property, the surrounding trees and the bridge over the ditch make you thing you’ve gone country.
Ron’s woodworking shed allows him to showcase his farm signs and other antiques. The signs that are displayed inside and outside this building are sure to bring back memories of driving through the country and reading the signs along the road.
After visiting Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, Sherry re-created the arch and bench that are nested among the trees at the back of the property.
George and Mary Dafforn
The Dafforns live at 6135 E. Crescent Court in Churubusco.
When you pull into the driveway of George and Mary Dafforn’s home you see a lovely country home with a nicely landscaped yard. Just wait, there are some surprises coming.
In the yard to your left, you will observe a newly developed children’s garden the couple have made for their grandchildren. Here, the children can sit on a large stone and dangle their feet in the water while watching the Koi fish.
An entryway features a white arch leading to a well-developed vegetable garden with both regular and raised beds.
Directly in the back of the house is a swimming pool that is wonderfully landscaped with a wide variety of plants. Yard art accentuates the different gardens, some with country and others quite Victorian.
The Dafforns say their landscaping is always a work in progress, so who knows what they will have for the visitors on this walk, a newly torn up yard or a finished project.
Kerry and Barb Boggs
When you drive by Kerry and Barb Boggs’ house at 3850 N. Blue Lake Road, Churubusco, your eyes focus on the pots in the landscaping along the road.
This looks good enough that some pots have been known to disappear.
The remaining property is equally eye catching. In the 37 years that Kerry and Barb have lived there, they have created an oasis to be enjoyed by family and friends.
Kerry does the mowing, mulching and the shrubs, leaving the fine tuning to Barb.
While raising their children, their home was the place to visit. They could practice baseball and dive into the pool to cool off. Now grandchildren are a welcome addition to the pool.
When you walk in the backyard, you immediately want to sit down and enjoy the peaceful setting. Kerry and Barb have made this easy to do with the deck, gazebo and poolside seating. The hill behind the home is a wonderful example of a rock garden.
Jim and Orrisa Daily
From the highway, Jim and Orrisa Daily’s extraordinary gardens reveal a riot of color wherever you look, but wait until you see the rest.
They have lived at their home at 7630 E. SR 205, Churubusco, for 28 years and have turned this property into a true showplace.
They have a great vegetable garden overflowing with perennials, as well as vegetables.
There is a nice brick pathway to the shed, which is actually Orissa’s decorate sewing workshop.
Behind the house, you will discover a beautifully landscaped pool. Jim provides the manpower for mulching and digging and tends the bar by the pool, leaving the artsy stuff and deadheading to Orrisa.
The nicely edged beds feature a country look. When you go out of the pool area through the side gate, you will encounter a country garden filled with heirloom plants.
At the side of the house are attractive roses planted by the former owner over 28 years ago.
Dave and Joan Taylor
Many of you may remember Dave Taylor as the guy of US 33 who sold grasses. Wait until you see what he has been doing since retirement.
If you think you can’t do much with a small yard, you need to see this property. After retirement, Dave and Joan purchased a small lot at 319 Gateway Ave., Churubusco. They built their retirement home and have been working on the yard ever since.
For those of you who thing pergolas are just for large properties, you will be surprised to see how great one looks in this small yard.
A bridge is located along the side of the home as a memorial in honor of their son. The gardens are all nicely edged with various types of stone, bricks and retaining walls.
Last summer, Dave added a sun porch, but not until he built a miniature model of it. His gardens include a working water wheel, which is a replica of the one that was at his grass farm.
Dave’s newest project is a garden railroad around the pond.
Tom and Juli Geiger
The front of Tom and Juli Geiger’s home at 8245 E. US 33, Churubusco, is a lovely, newer home. It is formally landscaped and would lead one to expect the same in the back of the house.
The backyard dips down to accommodate the walk-out basement. The hillside and backyard are very appealing with it’s combination of rocks, bricks, stones and plants.
Juli is the designer, but she includes the entire family to assist with the landscaping.
This property includes several small water features accented by country items like wheel barrows and hand plows.
A limestone pathway leads to a separate fenced in vegetable garden with a small pond. A table and chairs allow you to sit and enjoy the peaceful setting, which includes a cute little chicken coup.
This formal front yard and country backyard gives this home an interesting effect.
The mission of the Whitley County Master Gardeners is to positively impact communities by educating and providing our people with best gardening practices, research-based information and trained volunteer leadership including support from Purdue Extension Whitley County office.
The local organization is very active and welcomes Master Gardeners from other counties or states and interns who want to join this group. The local group is very busy planning educational activities and seminars for the Whitley County community.
They have established and maintained the gardens at the Whitley County 4-H Fairgrounds and most of the gardens in the various parks in this community.
Janice Klopfenstein is a Master Gardener and helped organize this year’s event.
“If you like to get your hands dirty, work hard, assist with projects or presentations, continually learn or just enjoy creating beautiful gardens, become a Master Gardener and be a part of an active organization that not only adds beauty to our community, but contributes to its well-being,” said Klopfenstein.
For more information regarding the Master Gardener Program call the Extension office at 244-7615 or 625-3313.
The local gardeners are always planning ahead for next year’s garden walk. If you would like to be included in next year’s walk call Maureen Trumbull at 691-2406.
The 2013 Master Gardeners walk is June 22, 2013.