Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Garden tour reveals beauty of Northridge

?Our Neighbors? Gardens? brings community together

Express Staff Writer

The Hills at 1440 Heroic Rd. have a pair of Polish mute swans who live on a floating island in the Hills? private backyard lake.

A favorite annual event in the Wood River Valley is the Friends of the Hailey Public Library Garden Tour, "Our Neighbors' Gardens," which focuses on the importance of community involvement.

"One of the things we are really trying to get across is that the gardens are our neighbors' gardens and not estates," said garden tour coordinator Elizabeth Jeffrey. "They are in our neighborhood, they are successful and they are doing it themselves."

Each year the Friends Garden Tour focuses on one Hailey neighborhood. This year's tour will be in Northridge, located on the northeast edge of Hailey. The tour will take place Saturday, June 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each garden will feature at least one water-saving idea, one outstanding plant, a hardscape or ornament and one inspiring color combination.

"It's a good year," Jeffrey said. "The gardeners have put thousands of hours into gardening for the tour, and they have gone all out."

Each of the homes has a unique focus. Going from south to north, the first garden to visit is Don and Chris Keirn's, at 1141 Northridge Dr. Chris uses a mix of annuals and perennials to provide constantly changing color and bloom from early spring to late fall and a steady source of cut flowers for the house. The star attractions of Chris' beds are the zinnias she grows from seed, a list of clematis that reads like a garden catalog and a Camperdown elm by a water feature.

Next is the home of Ken and Marcia Hills at 1440 Heroic Rd., which is an easy walk or bike ride. The Friends have dubbed this the "Swan Garden," in honor of a pair of Polish mute swans imported each spring to live on a floating island in the Hills' private backyard lake.

Further up Heroic Road at 1630, Kaz Thea and Kurt Nelson's "Feasting Garden" had its beginnings eight years ago when they dug the first vegetable plot in their barren ground.

"Kaz's vegetables are really intriguing, and she eats out of her garden all year long," Jeffrey said.

MaryAnne and Ron LeBlanc's wonderful "Garden of Rooms" at 1961 Northridge Dr. is divided into rooms such as a "hot" garden, and a room for views of Carbonate Mountain and sunsets with a fire pit and comfortable chairs.

Two more gardens are on West Meadow Street. At No. 520, Heidi and Matt Dohse have created the "Well Planned Garden." Every year they tackle one large project and so far have constructed two large water features, a scored concrete patio below a wooden deck and a stacked fire pit.

At 620 West Meadow Dr., Adrienne Leugers and Drew Chilson have created another unique garden space with low water use as a major focus. The serendipitous result is seasonal color that stretches from the spring peonies and Japanese tree lilac to summer daylilies and Rugosa roses and finally, swathes of fall asters.

At 620 Kintail Dr., the Dabney family is host to a "Recycled Garden" because it is populated with plants discarded or shared from other gardens.

The final stop at the pond across the street from the Dabney house, on the corner of Kintail Drive and Heroic Road, yields one more gardening lesson. Although the pond has existed since the beginnings of Northridge subdivision, it has had a recent facelift through neighborhood cooperation.

An information fair at the pond will include information from the city of Hailey on low water usage and from the ERC about regional noxious weeds. Representatives from the Friends of the Hailey Public Library will also be at the pond.

There will be musicians and artists at several garden stops, and every site will have two hostesses plus a garden expert to offer assistance and answer questions.

Garden tour

The tour is Saturday, June 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Northridge, at the northeast edge of Hailey.

Tickets are $15 available at Iconoclast Books and Vintage Gypsy in Hailey and Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum.

Area artists and Wood River Valley businesses have donated several items for a raffle. Winning tickets will be drawn at 2 p.m. Winners do not have to be present to claim prizes.

$3 raffle tickets available at pond area.

On the day of the tour, tickets will be available at the Hailey Public Library from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the West Meadow and Buttercup Road bike path park from 10 a.m. to noon.

For more details, contact Ronica Henning at 788-3215 or Elizabeth Jeffrey at 788-9654.

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