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For the week of July 12 through July 18, 2000

A splash of color

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden tour

Express Staff Writer

So you want to grow a garden? But as Dorothy says in the beloved film, "The Wizard of Oz," "…we’re not in Kansas anymore." With high altitude, a short growing season, and river bed soil, it’s a wonder anyone in the Wood River Valley can grow anything.

Don’t despair. There are some among us who have figured it out. These are the folks at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, formerly known as the Sawtooth Community Garden. To find out how they do it, make an effort to join the Fifth Annual Garden Tour Saturday July 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This gala fund-raising event promises to be a stroll through some of the more spectacular, stand-out gardens of the valley. Adding to the ambiance of the gardens will be local artists at work as well as musicians playing flutes, harps, and guitar.

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden is a multifaceted environmental education center devoted to showcasing the native flora of the Wood River valley, demonstrating the role of plants in various living environments, and educating the public on how to live in balance with nature.

This year’s tour will not only feature the spacious 17-year-old Canyon Run garden planted by the late Carol Siegel but the gardens of Betty and Wyman Taylor, Jerry and Susan Flynt, and Don and Joni Anderson.

Siegel was something of a legendary gardener in this valley who shared her love of plants with many. Marilyn Frazier, who has tended the Siegel garden (now the Nicolai garden) for the past eight years said of Siegel, "She was a pioneer when there were no real nurseries here." Many of her cuttings, bulbs, and seeds have made their way into the prominent gardens of the valley, including the three others on the tour.

The self-guided tour begins with the Nicolai/Siegel garden: a log home surrounded by a lush lawn and sweeping terraces of perennials, evergreens, deciduous trees, and a vegetable garden. Poppies, delphiniums, veronica, astilbe, salvia, silver mound, and phlox color stands of spruce, juniper, Canadian chokecherry, maple, dogwood, and lilac. Included in the garden are some unusual perennials such as centaurea macrocephala, which, according to Frazier, looks like "an old-fashioned yellow Brillo pad."

Across the street visitors will find the Anderson edible plant garden. Don and Joni Anderson have had their green thumbs at work above the Hemingway slough for more than 30 years. In this culinary wonderland are found rhubarb, onions, broccoli, carrots, and garlic interspersed with an explosion of sweet William, pansies, poppies, calendula, and lovage, a kitchen herb brought from Austria by an Austrian ski instructor.

Betty Taylor offers up a garden replete with lilies, ladies mantel, peonies, and lavender meadow rue. Amidst all of the color is a rolling lawn with a birdbath centerpiece, and a meandering stream.

"Beauty and family, " is how Susan Flynt describes her landscape plan. She and her husband, Jerry, preside over a lovely kitchen garden, river rock garden, butterfly tree house, birdhouse walk, and meditation garden. All of them are "family and animal friendly." The Flynt’s daughter, Rita, will be selling lemonade and serving whimsical insect and fairy cookies donated by Heather Madden, owner of A Piece of Cake.

The last stop on the plant parade will be at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden itself. There, a fan of flora will find a stream-side garden, research area, and an ornamental garden. Also worth noting at the center is a 1,550 square foot greenhouse displaying a variety of flowering perennials, herbs, and vines.

And if all this does not provide enough aesthetic stimulus, there will be classical music all about. Some of the musicians to be found playing by streams or flower beds will be Anita Smith, Heidi Bynum, and Marina Dellago. Artists Jennifer Bellinger and Will Caldwell are two of the several artists-at-work who will be present during the tour. A silent auction of garden art will take place throughout the day.

The annual garden tour is just one of many programs the Sawtooth Botanical Garden offers. In addition to the tour, the center offers school programs, an arboretum in Hailey, and garden workshops. Tickets for the Garden Tour fund raiser are $25 and available at SBG, Chapter One Bookstore, Read All About It, Webb Landscaping, Moss Gardens, and the Sun Valley Garden Center. Tickets will also be available at each garden on the day of the tour.


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