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Georges River Land Trust

2017 Garden Tour Descriptions

Get a preview of each garden on this year’s tour by clicking on the titles below to reveal their descriptions. Then, be sure to buy your tickets in advance!

Garden 1 - Gardens of Pritchard and Catherine Meyer, Union

Our home was built in 1848 and sits on the Common in Union across the street from the Methodist Church (same era). Its construction style is Greek Gothic with three very distinctive peaked gables and an attached barn; thus the historic name of “three gables.”

At the front of the house are perennial gardens on each side of the entrance with selected annuals lining the stone walkway. The south side of the yard offers more perennials under each bay window as well as a large Victorian garden. The trellis leads you into this Victorian display.

The back of our home reveals a large stone patio with flowers filling the surrounding beds. In addition there is a vegetable garden with raised beds, a scattering of fruit trees, a picket fence with more flowers welcoming you, and a custom chair swing near a unique bottle brush tree. Welcome to our gardens!


Garden 2 - Gardens of Abbie and Bart Read, Appleton

Our gardens have evolved just a little since we last appeared on the GRLT tour in 2011. The gardens were originally created as display gardens for my landscape design business ARTgarden which I closed that year (2011). Now I’m just trying to maintain ornamental gardens and find it a challenge, but it’s doable because of my approach to garden design.

Working with design principles in each garden, I have allowed plants to mature in place, sometimes dividing plants when required. I have several shaded beds which are anchored with Hostas as foils for other shade-loving plants. Along with hardy spring flowering bulbs, the hostas are perfect for our challenging site here on Appleton Ridge. Content with reliable plants, I no longer lust for new varieties which are untried in this area. Most important of all, my soil is enriched regularly with lots of goat manure from my sister’s farm, Capercaillie, located in Appleton, just across the valley.

Some unusual plants to look for are located in the beds across from the garage. The Camperdown elm, which grew back after being girdled by a rabbit, looks now more like a sculptural shrub than a tree. You will note many different Hosta varieties along with Astilboides tabularis and Ligularia japonica “Chinese Dragon”.


Garden 3 - Gardens of Sarah and John Akin, Appleton

When we moved to our home in Appleton five years ago, we were fortunate to have some gardens already in place. We established our farm, Highcroft, on these hilly 93 acres, to raise sheep, and have since added dairy and angora goats, Jersey cows and chickens. The Highcroft Shop features our own yarns and woolens, handmade items, produce and flowers.

With a love of English gardens, we have added roses, delphinium, peonies and astilbe for flowing borders around the house. Primrose Cottage, a gingerbread trimmed guesthouse designed by Sarah, is the focal point of one garden. A separate squash garden near the barn is accented by massive sunflowers. The gardens yield a bounty of produce and flowers thanks to the rich compost produced by the farm animals.

Each year we have expanded the vegetable garden, intermingling flowers in colorful borders. The garden is surrounded by cedar fencing, and accented by obelisks and arbors, which allow us to take advantage of vertical growing space. The ornamental peach tree centered in the vegetable garden provides sculptural interest year round. Other plantings surrounding this garden include espaliered apple trees, raspberries, strawberries, grapes and herbs. In 2014, we planted a small orchard of heirloom apple, pear, cherry, plum and peach trees.


Garden 4 - Gardens of Alvena Buckingham, Hope

This casual garden retreat is tucked away on the western shore of Alford Lake. As you stroll about, you will see the loving care this self-taught gardener brings to the picture. Approaching from the driveway, you will see shade gardens. On the right, a heat-shaped garden; on the left the serenity hosta garden.

The stone steps between the main house and the studio are enhanced by rock garden plants as well as selected shrubs and perennials. At the bottom of the steps you enter an area that was clear cut to allow the sun to pass through just enough for a veggie garden that produces “just enough” Beyond the veggie garden lie more gardens of perennials and shrubs backed by stone walls.

Over the stone bridge you enter the moss garden where teepee and campsite provide the setting for ceremonies and fun! Across the wooden bridge on the right is my newest addition built as a buffer. Try to find the fairy house!

If you choose to walk up the stone steps, you will be delighted with showers of petunias surrounding the greenhouse and dining area. All together, this property is my piece of paradise on planet Earth. I love walking around, visiting all my flowers as do the hummingbirds, butterflies ands bees. Enjoy!


Garden 5 - Gardens of Mary Moran and Bruce Haffner, Appleton

George Hill Farm originated in 1998 when I purchased this 76 acre forested lot on Alford Lake. The house, landscaping and plantings were established in 2005 and the property rented until we moved in permanently in 2015.

My interest in ornamental trees can be seen throughout the landscape and include Kousa dogwood, cladrastis Kentukea, nashik Hakuro, crabapple, camperdown Elm, french Lilac and japanese Maple. Our interesting spectrum of shrubs feature low evergreens, juniper and a variety of hydrangea Paniculata and Macrophyllia. As you come in the drive, you will see the cutting garden on the left with swirls of indigo, roses, columbine, peony, delphinium and a mix of annuals raised from seed.

The rock walls facing the lake are filled with sedum, creeping thyme, astilbe, Russian sage,, lavender phlox and bleeding heart. Many are volunteers who have won the right to survive. While I try to keep order in what grows where, the natural effect fits in well with the woods that surround us.

I am an amateur, self-taught gardener. My “teacher” has been mostly trial and error, and wonderful friends who advise me. There have been some big successes and big challenges, but the gardens continue to be a joy and learning experience.


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