By Dennis Patton
Neighbors come in every variety, but nobody likes a nosey neighbor.
Here is an event for gardeners of all skill and interest levels where being nosey and asking questions is encouraged. Make plans to attend the Johnson County Extension Master Gardeners garden tour on Friday, May 21, and Saturday, May 22.
A garden tour is your chance to step into the private gardens and landscape of your neighbors to get ideas, inspiration and enjoy the beauty. The gardens selected this year demonstrate a variety of styles, plant materials and creativity. Your garden ticket provides you access to learn from some of the most talented gardeners in Johnson County.
The tour features five Johnson County gardens located within a few miles of one another. Each garden is uniquely different from the others.
The Faulkner garden is overflowing with imagination and creativity. As a professional artist, the owner paints with oils on canvas. Outside, she paints with plants, sculptures and the land to create a beautiful masterpiece.
This large corner lot is packed full of a wide range of perennials, annuals and vegetables along with an eclectic assortment of antiques, structures and containers to make the landscape pop with personality.
They say opposites attract, and the Reichel garden is the opposite of the Faulkner’s garden. This landscape is quite formal. Take a peaceful stroll along a highly manicured boxwood-lined walkway. The garden is secluded from neighbors by a sheared row of hornbeam, repeating the formality of the garden.
If you think formal gardening is not your style, you might think again. The stately structure of the plantings offset unusual plants, eye-catching containers and an enter - taining patio to entice you to sit back, relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Take a step into a woodland wonderland at the Bergmann garden. Tucked away on a quiet Leawood street is a garden embracing shade. Think hostas are the only shade-loving plant? Think again, seeing how the Bergmann’s have learned how to make various plants work in the shade.
You won’t feel like you’re in Kansas anymore once you step into this backyard. A large sunroom and patio give you the feel of a Rocky Mountain retreat. The garden shows how with a bit of creativity and hard work, anything is possible.
Backing up to a peaceful lake is the Padley garden. It’s tucked away from the fast pace of life, packed with thoughtfully placed plants, each with a role to play. Strolling around this property, you quickly learn how to take advantage of the microclimates created by sunshade patterns.
The view to behold is in the back. A well-designed water feature blends into the land. The pond draws you to the shoreline and lures you into a boat or to grab a fishing pole, which is exactly how the owners love to spend time with their growing grandkids.
Lastly, the Householder garden is in a country setting and worth the drive. Established on more than an acre, they have transformed the property, claiming it as their retreat from the world. There is a great deal packed into this landscape. Numerous perennials, a large vegetable garden, a water garden and natives provide something new to notice with every step.
The couple’s hobbies stand out with their own He and She sheds. His is used for metalwork and hers to feed her passion for gardening. It might be hard for you to leave as the covered patio and secluded firepit may call for you to linger longer than expected.
Our Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) expanded their creativity into the garden boutique. There you will find our popular hand-casted concrete leaves and steppingstones. New this year are playful fairy cottages, mosaic birdhouses and hand-painted silk scarves.
Tickets for the Extension Master Gardeners’ Garden Tour are $20 per person. Information on the gardens, including a sneak peek and how to purchase tickets, is available at johnson.k-state.edu or by calling 913-715- 7000. Please note that face masks and social distancing will apply on the tour, keeping EMG and guests safe.
Proceeds from the tour fund the educational projects of the EMG program, which includes a gardening hotline, speakers’ bureau, nine demonstration gardens and youth education. Proceeds also fund scholarships to horticulture students at Johnson County Community College and Kansas State University.
I hope to see you peeking at the gardens on the tour.
Dennis Patton is horticulture agent at the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office.