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By SARAH BERKSHIRE
The Garden Club of Elizabethtown Annual Tour and Tea will showcase five unique Elizabethtown landscapes in addition to the Brown-Pusey House garden. Here’s a preview of each property.
An aquatic yard
At 113 Helmwood Drive, hum of fountains draws attention to the home’s back patio. There, an L-shaped koi pond — more of a pool than a pond, really — hugs the edge of a covered seating area. Pottery decorates the edge of the water feature and golden forearm-sized fish swim amongst water lilies. Above, the bead board ceiling holds a pair of skylights, a pair of ceiling fans. At the back of the patio, a pair of arched wooden double doors leads inside the home, which is owned by Joe and Bella Oropilla.
A pool sits five steps down from the patio. And next to the pool, sits another table and chairs, this one situated under an ornamental iron dome resting on four tall white columns.
A fence in flowers
Bob and Mary Ann Hines purchased their home at 723 Freeman Lake Road a couple years ago. It was a plain subdivision lot with three trees in the back yard. The couple put their love for gardening and Bob’s 30 years experience in the landscape business to work.
Of all things, they started with a black chain link fence. They have three dogs and it was a necessity, but not something they could enjoy viewing from the back porch.
“We just decided to incorporate the fence into the landscape,” Mary Ann said.
To camouflage the fence, they planted a deep bed in front of the fence and another deep bed behind it, stretching colorful blooms and greenery across the approximately 140-feet-wide yard. Eventually, they predicted, the plants will grow as high as the fence. They built arbors over every gate, drawing eyes upward.
Many of the plants were grown in the couple’s basement greenhouse.
“That’s the fun thing for us…to start things from seeds and watch them bloom,” Mary Ann said.
Tomatoes a plenty
Adding agriculture to a traditionally horticultural tour, the Larry and Peggy Thomas gardens, at 1422 Tunnel Hill Road, include about 1,000 tomato plants plus other vegetables. They sell 31 varieties of transplants and raise four types of tomatoes, which they sell at the Hardin County Farmers Market.
They grow on a larger scale than most — planting under sheet of black plastic, using a self-watering system and growing rows of plants both in the open and under shelter. Still, Peggy said tour participants will likely pick up some tips and ideas as they explore her and her husband’s property.
“More and more, people are doing their own little garden. You can put a tomato plant in a flower garden as long as it gets a lot of sunshine,” she said.
Charlie and Sheryl Phillips started building their landscape one project at a time 13 years ago, when they moved into their home at 333 West Bryan Road.
“I add a little here, a little there,” Sheryl said.
The centerpiece is a gazebo atop a slight hill in the backyard. Charlie and his friends built it, and steps leading to it are made from rough hewn rocks that were once the foundation of an old barn. A small pond surrounded by plants sits next to the gazebo. Farther up the hill, a fire pit makes another cozy seating area.
The Phillips home also features a small shade garden at the foot of the driveway, a side yard patio of stamped concrete and a spacious country front porch. On and around the porch geraniums, holly bushes and other plants grow while a swing and rocking chairs make it a comfortable place to rest, Sheryl said.
When the 2009 ice storm killed more than 100 trees on Tracey and Eddie Fowl’s property, at 1651 Optimist Road, the canopy covering their wooded yard opened just enough for an expansive garden. On one side of the home, a large partial shade garden stretches up a slight incline to thick woods. On the other side, a narrower full-shade garden lines the long driveway.
Tracey’s mother, a professional landscape designer, planned the gardens, which feature shade-shunning perennials such as coral bells, hosts, brunnera and Japanese painted ferns. Large rocks, each dug up from the Fowl property, also are a key element of the design.
The focal point is a rustic bench. Tracey’s son crafted it from barn wood and logs and it’s her favorite place to sit and enjoy the quiet of the secluded yard, she said.
Sarah Berkshire can be reached at (270) 505-1745.