Delta Nu 2017 Festival of Gardens Tour

STATE CENTER — The Delta Nu Study Club of State Center will be hosting the Third Annual Festival of Gardens Tour at five State Center homes on June 18, the final day of the 59th Annual Rose Festival. The tour will run from 1-4 p.m. Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased ahead of time at Central State Bank or the Gutekunst Public Library. They can also be purchased on June 9, at the State Center Farmers Market and on June 15 at the Rose Queen Pageant at West Marshall High School Auditorium. Tickets will also be available at each of the five homes on the afternoon of the tour. The garden tour will take place, rain or shine, and all proceeds go to support the Rose Festival.

This year’s tour of five residential gardens includes:

• Dave and Bev Shipley, 504 3rd Street SE

Shipley, West Marshall’s athletic director, started gardening in 2005 when he and wife decided to move from their country home into State Center. The Shipleys built a new home in State Center’s Figgins Addition.

He has always enjoyed working outside in the summer, enjoying the different colors that come with it. This love of summertime colors is clearly evident in their home’s landscaping. There are a number of colorful perennials including: State Center’s signature rose bushes, hostas, Goblin blanket flowers, Moonbeam coreopsis, Cheyenne Spirit coneflower, Russian sage, Goldfinger potentilla, Minor Black weigela, mums and climbing clematis. He also plants annuals in pots and in borders around the house.

Shipleys have worked two water features into their landscaping. In front of the house and leading up to the front door, a waterfall flows into a small pond stocked with goldfish. A second water feature is located in the backyard to the west side of the garage; this waterfall has a gentle slope, splitting off into two directions and flowing into a pond edged with white stone to one side.

The Shipley landscaping project has blossomed into a colorful masterpiece over the last 12 years.

• Karen and Len Garrison, 208 3rd Street SE

The Garrisons think “hopeful gardeners” might be interested in seeing what a flower garden in progress looks like. Karen, pastor at State Center’s United Methodist Church, likes to dream and plant, while her husband, also a pastor, insures her dream garden survives.

The couple is excited to live in their home next to the Municipal Rose Garden. Eldora Woods built the Garrisons’ home in the 1960s. She and her late husband, Dr. Arthur Woods, had donated the land next door to the City of State Center. This piece of land later became the Municipal Rose Garden. The Garrisons believe that, with the privilege of living here, comes responsibility for city pride.

Raising roses has been a learning curve for the Garrisons, who had never raised roses before moving into their cottage-style home with its beautiful “borrowed landscaping” next door. The Garrisons believe no garden adjacent to State Center’s Rose Garden would be complete without roses; they added four bushes this year.

Each year, the Garrisons have added at least one major shrub or tree, with the intention of developing the landscape around it. All additions are works in progress with a plantings of weeping redbud trees, hostas and creeping phlox. Lilies have added splashes of color with little expense. Impatiens have always been a staple in their yard, with drifts of them surrounding the house.

In a few years, more perennials, bulb flowers and ornamental grasses will be established. Garrisons invite the public to come back in five years to see their garden’s transformation.

• Lori and Jeff Kunch, 402 3rd Ave. SW

The Kunchs deal with both sun and shade in the gardens surrounding their Victorian-style home, which sits along the historic Lincoln Highway as it passes through State Center.

With shade in mind, the couple started their hosta garden in 2002. It started out small and has grown over the years. The couple collected rocks from local farmers to create the edging around their flowerbeds. Each spring, they plant impatiens along with the hostas. Trees in the hosta gardens are cutleaf sumac; the trees grow quickly but live only 10-12 years. Several of the trees have died over the past three years. Since most of the present trees are still young and small, the trees won’t provide much shade this year.

The Kunchs have also created a butterfly garden, which they started two years ago with more than 200 milkweed plants and six butterfly bushes. The climbing vines in the butterfly garden are morning glories, which reseed themselves each year.

They have planted a succulent garden where nothing else will grow because of the sun. In the afternoon, the succulent garden is the hottest spot in their yard. It’s a good thing they also have a nice shaded garden as a retreat from the heat.

• Beau and Jennifer Hanson, 202 3rd Ave. NW

Another older home on the garden tour is the Victorian-era home of Beau and Jennifer Hanson and family. This stately home, with its brightly painted front porch and gingerbread trim, dates back to the early 1900s when William Riemenschneider built it for his wife, Mary Ann.

Gardening is a “fun thing” the Hansons do together as a family. Jennifer and Beau enjoy digging in the dirt and teaching their children about different plants, bugs and animals living in their yard. Their property includes a large side yard with a white picket fence bordered with small ornamental trees and flowering perennials and annuals. Most of the perennials in the garden were the “dead” plants, purchased when deeply discounted at hardware stores at the end of the season.

Jennifer said she doesn’t really have a favorite plant, but just loves to watch everything bloom. She said their garden will always be a work in progress, and they are always learning new things.

• Pat and John Starn, 604 2nd Street NW

The Starns are a team when it comes to gardening. Pat tends the flowers, and John takes care of the vegetable garden.

Pat enjoys all types of blooming flowers, both annuals and perennials. Her garden has violas, peonies, petunias, dianthus, clematis, daisies, black-eyed Susans, flags, iris, lupines (Alaska’s State Flower), and lilies, such as Stella De Oro daylilies. Her creeping phlox is especially pretty this year. Their property line to the west has spiraea bushes, which have reached a pretty good size. The garden also has hostas, hens and chickens, and, of course, rose bushes. Her favorite flowers are the daisies, lupines and dianthus.

John keeps busy in his backyard vegetable garden. He has planted tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and onions.

Although their gardens are not as pretty as in times past, the Starns hope visitors will enjoy their visit.