DANVILLE — Gardeners will find plenty of new ideas while visiting sites on the 19th annual Garden Walk. The walk, featuring eight gardens, will be from noon to 5 p.m. June 9.
Each year, the University of Illinois sponsors the walk through its Master Gardener program. Homeowners and Master Gardeners have spent months preparing for this year’s event, which will showcase unique gardens that are private the rest of the year. The walk will take place even if it rains.
Proceeds fund Master Gardener involvement and educational programs with veterans, children and community donation gardens in Vermilion County.
The $10 tickets allow people access to any or all eight sites. They are:
• Jeff and Julie Turner, who live on Buchanan Street, were drawn to the privacy their property offers while enjoying the convenience of being located in town. The theme, “A River Runs Thru It,” describes their view of the Vermilion River, as well as a small stream that connects two ponds.
Water is the focal point of this garden with shade plants like hosta and ivy along with some unique specimens. Ornamental pines twist around the water adding a unique look to the landscape.
• Lucille Butler’s garden on Cleveland Street began in 1995, but will never truly be completed because she is always adding new plants that represent loved ones. A pond on the hillside spirals down into the backyard. There is a vegetable garden as well as a large variety of annuals and perennials for attendees to enjoy.
Look for signs to neighborhood bonus gardens on Cleveland Street.
• Ivan and Connie Ford, who live on Wayne Street, have enjoyed gardening for more than 30 years. Ivan is creative, using tree stumps and tractor tires as flower beds. There are hand-made flower boxes with multi-colored annuals.
They always make room for the vegetable garden filled with green beans, potatoes, onions, radishes, and peppers. Visitors will want to ask Ivan about his special method for planting tomatoes.
• Jerry Trosper and Audrey Rowe have created a small botanical garden with raised beds, a pond and orchard, including unusual specimens like persimmon, nectarine, pawpaw, and quince. There is also a wide assortment of annuals, perennials and vegetables, many of which are started from seed in the couple’s private greenhouse. The couple lives on Indiana Route 63, south of the Beef House.
VA, DACC, DOUGLAS
In addition to the private homes on the walk, ticket holders will have a unique opportunity to walk through gardens that are rarely or never open to the public.
• The Danville Area Community College Land Lab-Sustainable Farm supports research and allows staff and students to explore different styles of agriculture like the prairie restoration, perennials, permaculture, and vegetable production. In addition to plants, there are bee hives, chickens and native wildlife such as bluebirds and hawks.
• The Healing Garden at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System was once a gravel service drive. Attendees will find raised beds with vegetables and herbs residents help plant and maintain. A walkway meanders past unique trees and shrubs.
• The VA Greenhouse was built in the 1900s with organic horticulture practices. Master Gardeners have been active here for many years donating and propagating most of the plants. There are mature banana trees in the greenhouse along with a Bird of Paradise.
• Douglas Discovery Garden at Wayne and Florida will have Garden Walk tickets for sale on that day. A ticket is not needed to view the Discovery Garden, but the ticket will give the buyer access to the other sites.
The garden was formed by the community to transform the 2.5 acres that was once Douglas School into a garden that would educate and serve local residents.
The committee has designed, planted and maintained the landscape with numerous raised vegetable beds where Master Gardeners teach local school children gardening classes.
There is an herb garden, large perennial flower beds, a pergola, shade and fruit trees, grape vines and innovative methods like keyhole gardens and a gravel bed to grow bare root trees.
Along with the walk, Douglas is offering a free festival with food, antique cars, dulcimer musicians, activities with herbs, and antiques and garden-themed vendors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets are $10 (cash or check only) and available for purchase at the Vermilion County Extension Office, 3164 N. Vermilion (442-8615), Berry’s Garden Center, Big R in Danville and Tilton, and Danville Gardens North and its main store on Cleary Avenue. Tickets also will be available at Douglas Discovery Garden and the Trosper home only on the day of the walk.
Addresses and maps are on the tickets. Show your ticket at each garden entrance to gain admittance.
The names of those who visit all eight gardens will be submitted in a drawing for a prize.