Within a garden the symbolic use of water, plants, architecture and stone represents an essential yin and yang sensibility. This aspect is especially true in the gardens on the Ninth Annual Sawtooth Botanical Garden Tour, where the gardens inhabit hillsides and valleys, sculpture, water features and a myriad of native and rare plants, plus Idaho's clean mountain air.
An urban oasis, albeit in a small mountain town, Annette Frehling's garden is, as she puts it, a "sanctuary." One of the main components in building it was her use of an ancient Chinese belief system, called Feng Shui, to lay out and furbish her garden room, as she did inside her home. With the guidance of Kathy Noble, her garden evolved during the renovation of one of Ketchum's endangered old homes at the corner of First and Leadville avenues. It most recently housed Frehling's women's clothing shop, Sister, which closed in 2005.
"The garden was the last thing we did," she said. "We put it in the fall of 2005. I wanted an instant tree, and until it arrived the walls couldn't go up. We planted in the late fall. When the front fountain went in, even the workmen said how soothing it was. The (back) garden is now where the parking lot used to be."
Alpine Aquatics in Bellevue built her a small but focal lily pond that spills over carefully selected rocks and rose quartz that Frehling picked up on a trip last summer to Namibia. The walls are of corrugated metal, and the high raised beds are filled with perennials and annuals, including poppies, phlox, iris, salvia, columbine, clematis, sedum, thyme, grasses and coral-bells. Architectural features lean on the walls ready for vines to make their climbs toward the sun. The pond is home to three koi. It is peaceful, enchanting, colorful and inviting.
"The water makes everything so happy," Frehling said. "I envisioned it using Feng Shui as far as the layout. It kind of transformed into a garden room. It's been a fun process. I'm in the city and can be here in the garden."
Frehling laughs about her proclivity to design incredible living spaces and her subsequent willingness to abandon them to a buyer. Her home, though reflective of her eclectic tastes, is on the market, and she hopes someone who likes the idea of in-town living as much as she does will also appreciate its uniqueness.
"It's important that people know you can take these old places and show people how wonderful this can be versus tearing it down to build more condos."
Frehling's urban sanctuary is the middle stop on the tour Saturday. There are two gardens north of Ketchum in Hulen Meadows, and two south of town. One is in East Fork and the other in Golden Eagle. Time your tour well with a stop at the Sawtooth Botanic Garden where sustenance will help your qi (chi) move forward.
The Sawtooth Botanical Garden's annual Garden tour is Saturday, July 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at several valley gardens, from Hulen Meadows to East Fork. The following gardens are showcased: (numbers refer to map)
1. Herbert Garden, 400 N. Hulen Way, Hulen Meadows. Artist: Susan Perin. Musicians: Sue Mendelsohn & Alan Beserra. Plant Experts: Kelly Weston & Michelle Meixner.
2. Brown & Bundy Garden, 360 S. Hulen Way, Hulen Meadows. Artist: Cornelia Eldridge. Musician: Paul Gregory. Plant Experts: Morgan Brown & Rebecca Bundy, homeowners.
3. Frehling Garden, 100 N. Leadville, Ketchum. Artist: Monica Bloedel. Musician: Lauri Grabow. Plant Expert: Kathy Noble, Kathy Noble Assoc.
5. Lucas Garden, 234 East Fork Rd. Artist: Lori Watson. Musician: Ron Wade. Plant Expert: Webb Landscape, Inc.
6. Orb Garden, 100 Elk View Dr., Golden Eagle. Artist: Ginna Lagergren. Musician: Aaron Baker. Plant Experts: Branching Out Nursery, Jon Wilkes Landscape Designer & Sofie Wilkes.
The tour costs $35 a person or $25 for Sawtooth Botanical Garden members. A catered lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden (4), at Highway 75 and Gimlet Road, for $1. Raffle tickets for 16-piece teak outdoor furniture set from The Open Room and Kingsley-Bates, 726-9358 or visit sbgarden.org. Tickets for the tour and the lunch are available at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum, local garden centers, Ketchum & Hailey Farmers Markets and The Open Room in Ketchum.