How does your neighbor's garden grow?

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By Sarah Berkshire

From the smaller yards of established neighborhoods to wide open farmland, there’s always a place for planting. That’s made evident by the lineup of The Garden Club of Elizabethtown’s annual Garden Tour and Tea.


Sunday, the tour showcases plants of all types at four private residences in Elizabethtown and Rineyville and the Cunningham Garden at the Brown-Pusey House.

Reimer gardens, 115 S. Miles St., Elizabethtown

About 24 years ago, when George and Angie Reimer bought their home, the yard featured Hemlock trees, weeds and not much else. Their back yard now, however, is home to countless flowers and trees, a fountain, a pool and several places to sit and take in the scene.

Likely known by those who travel through Elizabethtown via South Miles or Helm streets as the house bordered with orange lilies, the Reimers’ real treasures are hidden from street view.

The landscape includes a bed of wild flowers and, especially around the pool, palms. The palms spend the Kentucky winters in the cellar, warmed by fluorescent lights. Also, the couple expected the crape myrtles to be in bloom during the tour.

The Reimers also grow bamboo and are nurturing about a half dozen magnolia seedlings.

“This is what I’m really excited about this year,” George said, noting a pot in which the first inch or so of a magnolia tree sprouted.

Another unique feature of their garden is the water collection method — five old bourbon barrels catching the rain. A close sniff proves the barrels’ authenticity.

Webb gardens, 18 House Lane, Elizabethtown

For retirees Ed and Joni House Webb, gardening is a passion. And their land, just off St. John Church Road, is the stuff of fairy tales. Flowers, trees and shrubs fill their home’s yard, which is situated on a 25-acre farm.

“Kids think this is a wonderland and adults think it’s a sanctuary,” Joni said.

Last fall, the couple moved more than 2,000 perennials to make way for an evergreen garden, inspired by the 10 years Ed lived in Spokane, Wash.

The transplants filled in other beds so blooms nearly carpet large sections of the landscape.

The beds lead to a gazebo where the Webbs usually enjoy breakfast, looking over the flowers and listening to the trickling koi pond.

Farther up the slight incline of the back yard and behind is a Japanese Zen garden, walled on three sides by bamboo. Ed majored in horticulture and completed an apprenticeship under a Japanese gardener, Joni said.

Throughout the gardens, unique personal touches are found, too, including repurposed pieces of the House family dairy farm. Plus, large paintings by the Webbs decorate the out buildings — an idea that sprang from quilt patches painted on barns.

Yates gardens, 127 Newton Hollow Road, Rineyville

After filling in a troublesome pond, Ray Yates had an acre of land calling him.

“I told my wife, ‘I’m just going to turn that into a flower garden,’ and I did,” he said, smiling.

He planned six sections — one for white flowers, one for pink and red, one for purple and blue, one for yellow and orange, one for multi-colored flowers and the centerpiece, and a circle of shoulder-high knock out roses.

A mulch path wanders through the garden, providing an up-close view of every petal, including Yates’ unique finds at Master Gardener shows.

The pond has been relocated and now sits within view of the garden. Dressing up the pond is the next phase, Ray said. So far, he’s planted thousands of zinnias and 100 burning bushes near the water.

Rice gardens, 2511 Ridgestone Drive, Elizabethtown

Over the years, Steve and Jodi Rice have built a landscape of the area’s native but interesting plants, especially trees, which include variegated sweet gum, Virginia fringe and a redwood.

A generously shaded back yard includes beds dotted with hostas and a large oak-leaf hydrangea.

Also, a long rock-bordered bed features dozens of tomato plants, each climbing up a garden ladder.

“I’ve always liked the vegetable garden because, when the tomatoes come in, we share with the neighborhood,” Steve said.

His other favorite spot is the deck, where he can look over the gardens in the back and side yards and through the neatly spaced trees — several accented with native rock — that lead to the 17th hole of Heartland Golf Club, formerly known as Pine Valley.

“It’s hard to duplicate that view,” he said.

But the Rices want to enhance it with a water feature. In time for the show, they planned to add a four tier fountain standing more than six feet tall.

Sarah Berkshire can be reached at (270) 505-1745 or sberkshire@thenewsenterprise.com.