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A garden tour of splendor
JULY 2, 2012

Meeker Co. Horticulture Society Garden Tour is July 10

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

MEEKER COUNTY, MN – Looking for new ideas on how to spruce up your garden or landscape area? Take a garden tour.

Six local gardens will be open for viewing during the third annual Meeker County Horticulture Society Garden Tour Tuesday, July 10.

For a $5 donation, garden enthusiasts can take a drive through the Dassel countryside, stopping at various gardens (see complete list). Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society or Flowers of Mercy, providing fresh flowers to area families in hospice care.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at Midwest Garden Center on Highway 15 S., Dassel, KLFD in Litchfield, Stockmen’s Nursery in Litchfield, and Emmaus Place Gift Shop in Litchfield. A map of the six gardens is shown on the ticket.

Avid gardener and member of the Meeker County Horticulture Society, LaVonne Hansen will have her gardens open for the tour.

Located on Lake Washington, Hansen’s property has several gardens landscaping the yard including one that runs along her property line.

“I just like being outside,” Hansen said. “I love starting new things and finding new plants.” These reasons led to Hansen joining the horticulture society.

Sue Hammar, owner of Midwest Garden Center, shared with the club recently some of the new plant varieties for this year, such as new varieties of coleus.

Though coleus plants do flower, Hansen likes them particularly because of the leaves.

“I’m into the color, texture, and shape of plants,” Hansen said, “not necessarily the flower.”

“Sometimes, you get as much color from the leaves as from a flower,” she commented.

Different varieties of tall grasses are also fun, she said.

She not only likes the movement the grasses have, but they also stay through the winter and hold their seed for the birds, which she also enjoys having around.

Hansen has the most fun personalizing her gardens, from antiques used on her family farm to new creations like homemade plaster rhubarb leaves, which she paints herself.

This year, she is having fun creating miniature gardens – small gardens that are created in various containers using small plants and other items, such as knick-knacks.

For example, Hansen made a Norwegian mini garden in an antique wash bin using small plants and decorating it with a small Norwegian-style house, Norwegian figurines, and a Norwegian flag. She also created a mini garden using old golf shoes she found at a thrift store.

Hansen said gardening is all about being creative, and it also allows your personality to shine through.

“It’s art – you just play with it,” she said.

“I’m not organizing things by height or color. I’m just enjoying it,” she said.

Hansen lives at 68317 233rd Street, Dassel (north side of Lake Washington).

Those on the tour are welcome to stays in the gardens as long as they like. Chairs will be made available.

Other gardens on tour

There are six gardens in the tour:

• Tom and Joyce Carlson and Jomas Hill Vineyard, 67755 205th St., Darwin. The main attraction is the 2.5-acre vineyard, in addition to many annual and perennial flowers arranged in a cottage garden style. There is also a unique assortment of birdhouses and rustic garden flair.

• Bev and Dave Pearson, 71248 190th Street, Dassel. Here, visitors will see several raised beds with perennials, annuals, and vegetables, in addition to an orchard with apple, pear, cherry, and plum trees.

• Donna and Doug Forster, 23757 727th Avenue, Dassel. Having moved to the residence just over three years ago, the Forsters had basically a blank canvas to work on, creating a shade garden, a flagstone pathway, sun garden, and a pond. Homemade gourd bird houses are seen hanging from the trees.

• Grace Larsen, 71294 CSAH 24, Dassel, is a frugal and independent gardener. She has added shrubs, mulch, a rock path and perennials to her garden.

• Sue and Terry Moore, 69729 233rd Street, Dassel. The Moores have made the best out of a hilly backyard that overlooks Lake Washington by creating a garden with mostly perennials and hostas. Other landscaping includes shrubs, flowerpots, and roses.

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