Nine beautiful and unique gardens, all located on the east end of Danville, will be showcased during the Vermilion County Master Gardeners’ annual walk on Sunday.
Spectators can begin their tour at any garden between noon and 5 p.m. on that day, even if it rains. Walkers must present a ticket at each garden.
Garden Walk chairman Janice Dirks said, “The Master Gardeners are pleased to feature the east end of Danville this year. It’s wonderful to see all the improvements and renovations that have been completed, as well as the people’s enthusiasm, devotion and willingness to give of themselves.
“One of our goals as Master Gardeners is to help others improve their gardens through education and new and different ideas,” Dirks said. “There are many interesting and different gardens on the walk this year, especially if one is into vegetable gardening, and I want to also personally thank everyone who has helped make this year’s Garden Walk possible.”
One of the highlights on the Garden Walk is tucked away at 3208 Hilltop Dr., providing a lovely and tranquil setting for the rustic log home where Steve and Kimberly Moore have lived for 31 years.
Kim is quite the gardener, mixing the soil and potting the many rustic containers and flower beds that make this home a real showplace — and also last year’s first place Make It Bloom winner for their region of the city.
“I’ve always loved gardening,” Kim said. “It’s my therapy because I love to be outside, and we’ve added some new features every year.”
Kim has a unique way of using old containers for her plantings, such as a frying pan and Steve’s grandfather’s watering can. One special container — her dad’s potty chair — holds Steve’s grandmother’s Christmas cactus planted in her grandmother’s pot. And there’s the 150-year-old chair, hand pump and plow that were handed down through Steve’s family. Using these meaningful items and others makes this landscape a sort of family memory garden.
Steve’s specialty is his expansive vegetable garden, which includes 32 varieties of peppers they use for cooking and making salsa. He also is proud of his bed of Easter lilies, where he plants a new one every year after the Easter season is over.
The Moores call their front porch a “summer living room,” because it is filled with comfortable furniture and many colorful containers and houseplants, including a fragrant jasmine plant from India they started from a cutting 12 years ago.
Other homeowners on the Garden Walk include:
- Bill and Missy Gouty at 207 S. Buchanan St. (behind Threads of Time creative sewing center and retreat) — Their “Mae Garden” is named for Shirley Mae Murray, mother of Threads’ co-owner Bill Gouty. All her life Mae collected and cultivated plants, trees and shrubs. This love of gardening was passed down to Bill, which together with his own love of rocks gave inspiration to the bubbling, natural rock fountain next to the gazebo. Bill created the garden as a living tribute to his mother, who raised three children on her own after her husband died in a car accident. Bill’s siblings, Julie and Gary, also work in this beautiful, restful garden when they are in town visiting their mother.
- Lori and John Smith at 501 S. Buchanan St. — Visitors to this garden are invited to indulge in a refreshing drink and sit a spell in the swing or under the canopy after touring this “country feel in the city” garden. There’s a soothing water feature and a unique “identity garden” that showcases more than 100 labeled flowering and groundcover varieties, including grasses, vines, perennials and annuals.
- Patricia and Mary Ann Pettigrew at 503 S. Buchanan St. — Visiting the lovely Victorian home and garden at the Pettigrew sisters’ homestead will take garden walkers back in time. There’s a lilac bush and honeysuckle that are both more than 50 years old. The garden also offers a mixture of annuals and perennials, with a unique blending of hostas, roses, supertunias, gladioli, dahlias, and oriental lilies. Recently the Pettigrews’ brother, Jim, built a raised bed, making the garden a real family project.
- Douglas Discovery Garden at 500 S. Florida St., across Wayne Street from Douglas Park — Ground was broken in 2009 for the Douglas Discovery Garden, which involved the re-development of 2.5 acres from the former Douglas Elementary School site to create a discovery and teaching garden. A group of volunteers has worked on several educational and beautification projects in this young garden. Highlights are the herb and vegetable gardens, an orchard, a raised bed, a pergola and a landscaped planting bed. Visitors are invited to visit this garden for a hypertufa pot-making demonstration during the Garden Walk. Also, several vendors will sell gardening supplies, garden art and more. Anyone may come to the Discovery Garden and visit the vendors, even if they don’t purchase a Garden Walk ticket.
- Hugh and Dorothy Thomas at 2812 E. Main St. — Colorful hanging baskets and flower containers fill the front porch of the Thomas home, and a variety of plants including cornflowers, hibiscus, azaleas, and banana plants brighten up the corner of the yard. The back yard has a patio with many colorful container plantings as well as two special projects: a fieldstone barbecue and a waterfall that flows into a pond. The entire neighborhood enjoys the benefits from Hugh’s passion for gardening. He has been a Make It Bloom winner in the past, and he gives away many plants to his friends and neighbors.
- Brad and Tracy Tarquini at 3013 E. Main St. — Visitors are greeted by a virtual Garden of Eden with vegetables growing on Earth Mats that are almost weed-free. Containers overflowing with colorful flowers surround an inviting in-ground pool, and the shaded retreat on the east end of the property is a spectacular landscape of lush perennials and annuals.
- Don and Laurel Hanetho at 3107 S. Daisy Ct. — This rustic log home in a wooded area is the perfect setting for exquisite shade perennials. Some of the hostas in the landscape were given to Don and his family from his great-grandmother. There also are containers of colorful annuals and raised vegetable beds surrounded by a picket fence. In addition, trees, wild berry bushes, and wildflowers impart a tranquil feeling here.
- Jack and Ruth Ann Earl at 3235 Illini Road — This is a serene garden that’s full of surprises. There are hostas, lilies and many varieties of ornamental grass surrounded by lovely plantings in the pond that Jack built. It’s relaxing for the family to view their “labor of love” garden from their patio swing.
Advance tickets cost $8 and can be purchased at the Vermilion, Champaign and Edgar County extension offices or from any Master Gardener. Tickets are available also from many local garden centers, including Country Arbors Nursery in Champaign and Schuren Nursery and Garden Center in St. Joseph, Flowers and Gifts by Molly Culbert in Hoopeston, Floral and Flair in Catlin, Flowers on Main in Georgetown, Brad’s Floral in Paris, FS in Champaign, Big R in both Tilton and Danville, and at these Danville locations: Bob’s Market, Berry’s Garden Center, Schultz Nursery and Garden Center, Danville Gardens, Blossom Hill Florist and Threads of Time.
Tickets can be purchased for $10 at any of the garden sites on the day of the tour.
For more information, contact the Vermilion County extension office at 442-8615.