Every June, the Lisle Woman's Club swings open local garden gates for its annual Garden Gait walk. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the philanthropic group has an unprecedented seven guest gardens this year.
Visitors will tour beautiful gardens on Sunday, June 24, while supporting the club's worthy causes. Addresses and directions come with the Garden Gait 2012 ticket, but here is a sneak preview.
If you goWhat: Lisle Woman's Club's Garden Gait, featuring seven gardens
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 24
Where: Maps are available during the event at the Museums at Lisle Station Park, 921 School St., Lisle
Cost: $15 through Friday, June 22; $17 after
The self-guided walk begins on the grounds of the Museums at Lisle Station Park in downtown Lisle. A large white tent will feature garden art and vendors. On the grounds, the Three Sisters Garden showcases a Native American garden design that uses companion planting.
Ken and Deanna Daly
Discover summer's splendor at the garden of Ken and Deanna Daly. A pair of large oaks frame the front yard with scalloped stone flower boxes. All the evergreens on the original ¾-acre lot started as seedlings more than 40 years ago. With the purchase of an additional lot in back, the couple now maintains 1½ acres framed with pin oak, red maple, linden and silver maple trees.
An addition to the rear of the house prompted Ken to design a two-tier stone patio with decorative stone pillars. A restful pond surrounded with rocks the couple brought back from their travels borders the upper patio.
The yard reflects Deanna's horticultural certificate from the Morton Arboretum. There are ferns, hostas, daylilies, knock-out roses, heuchera and a Japanese oak bush. The extensive vegetable garden, hen house and clothes line reflects the couple's self-sufficiency.
"Don't be afraid to move a plant that is not happy," Deanna encourages new gardeners. "Do not give up on a plant until you've tried it in a couple spots."
Gary and Kathy Lenke
The lovely garden at the family home of Gary and Kathy Lenke evolved over the years as both trees and children grew. A twig in a paper cup that was a Father's Day gift is now a full-size tree next to the driveway. A sapling pine from a school Arbor Day outing now flourishes in the front yard.
A path of Chilton steppers trimmed in pachysandra and hostas leads visitors to the rear yard where a multilevel patio has stone columns to accommodate flower boxes and the fire pit is a popular place to entertain. The first small vegetable gardens Kathy planted branched out to include herbs; sunny flower beds now in the dappled shade of tall trees sustain hostas, coreopsis, succulents and decorative grasses.
"I like the nurturing part of growing things," said Kathy, who harvests seeds from many of her plants and starts them indoors under grow-lights in early spring.
When the house was rebuilt in 1995, the need to address the yard's water issues led to a charming pond and trailing creek. An area where the children once played now accommodates a cozy screened gazebo accented with a pair of metal herons. The cute playhouse Gary built when the children were small is now an attractive garden shed.
"You have to keep adjusting to the maturity of the garden," Kathy said.
Craig and Barbara Briel
Within the 24 years Craig and Barbara Briel have owned their home, the couple redesigned their entire garden and remodeled a major portion of their home. Only the nine towering maple trees and a stone bird bath survived intact.
"Nothing ever happens overnight," Craig Briel said. "Things are always changing in the garden."
The Briels select plants for color and scent and then position them for visual pleasure. They built a natural dry creek bed to help direct water away from the house's foundation. Where once a shed and garage stood, there is now a cascading fountain and koi pond with sweet woodruff to soften the rock edges. A tadpole introduced to the pond last year grew into a croaking frog.
The variety of plants is amazing including variegated dogwood, lungwort, azaleas, rhododendron, honeysuckle, star magnolia, tree peonies and Juddii viburnums.
The folks at the Morton Arboretum should be happy to know that a couple of tiny pines given to Girl Scouts a number of years ago are now 3 to 5 feet tall in the Briel garden.
Randy Schieb and Pat Bush
The garden of Randy Schieb and Pat Bush is as much a classroom as it is a garden. Schieb says he is a gardener and a plant collector.
Where once his vegetable garden flourished, now it shares the space as a propagation garden as tiny rose cuttings, boxwood snippets and miniature Japanese maples take root under glass jar terrariums.
"My yard is always in transition," said Schieb, who works part time at The Growing Place in Naperville. "Everything changes and I modify as I go."
Among the plants Schieb is most proud of are some variegated green hostas and coral bells that he received when he was 10 years old from his grandmother's friend. Schieb also delights in pointing out the oak tree a squirrel planted.
Among the more unique plants in the garden is the dark green leaf Oregon-grapeholly, the cross-shaped flower of the Hills of Snow hydrangeas, a rounded prickly pear cactus, a pair of Montgomery blue spruces, an American holly tree and a Ginkgo tree.
As a child, Laura O'Dell did not like to pull weeds so it may surprise those who knew her then that now she loves to "play" in her garden's dirt and has a sizable collection of gardening books.
O'Dell uses an artistic approach to her gardening. Her yard is filled with perennials and beautiful views. She selected a Green Mountain Linden tree in the front yard because of its unique silver color underside leaf.
In an effort to recycle and reuse, O'Dell uses scrap wood to make miniature bird houses as garden accents. Wrought iron trellises that were once decorative railings inside her home now support climbing vines.
In the backyard, a miniature garden is housed in a metal fire pit that was trashed by someone with less imagination. Tiny hostas with names such as Pandora's Box, Feather Boa and Baby Bunting flourish nearby.
O'Dell's favorite plant is the hosta because of its visual impact. It is also easy to grow, move and share with others.
Vicky and Bernard Krawulski
When Vicky and Bernard Krawulski moved in next door to the O'Dell family 17 years ago, their garden was lined with endless rows of railroad ties and too many trees.
Today, only a few ties remain in a side yard and the lot has roughly five fewer trees.
The backyard has a few lattice wood fence sections to define the corners of the garden. The sound of a water fountain gurgling adds an element of peacefulness both inside the attached screened porch and outside on a nearby patio.
Vicky, who grew up on a small farm, readily admits that like her neighbor she also likes to "play" in the dirt of her garden. Among the noteworthy plants in Vicky's garden is a bottlebrush buckeye, Joe-eye weed and balloon flowers.
In Vicky's single sunny spot, she has a rose and lavender garden with angelic garden art tucked in here and there.
The borrowed view across the two adjoining backyards flows together as the neighbors share plants, seeds and inspiration.
Mike and Rita Jackson
When Mike and Rita Jackson purchased their house in 2006, the backyard landscaping was important to them. The Jacksons' plan was to tear-down and rebuild a house to accommodate their family and leave the backyard as natural as possible. The secluded yard offers most of the original trees, shrubs and lawn.
A large vegetable garden commands the sunny west side of the yard. Pots varying in size and design contain herbs close to the double patios, while hanging pots of flowers bring color to the area.
For the front landscaping, the couple tried to keep in a French Provence theme to compliment the new home's front elevation. Patches of colorful plants line the front cobblestone-style walk. Amid lines of large variegated hostas and Geranium Rozanne with its purple flower, a cluster of carpet rose Amber and Yellow Submarine rose bushes add contrast and interest.
To the right of the front door, three tiers of stonework bring the landscaping closer to the entrance. At the bottom, a row of maroon-leaf weiglia and a line of green weiglia stretch along the side of the house.
Garden Gait details
In time to inspire summer gardens, tickets for the self-guided walk are available for $15 in Lisle at The Nook, Wild Birds Unlimited and Safari Café, as well as at Anderson's Bookshops in Downers Grove and Naperville until Friday, June 22.
On Sunday, June 24, tickets for the Lisle Woman's Club Garden Gait are available at the Museums at Lisle Station Park, 921 School St. in downtown Lisle, and cost $17. The garden walk begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m. rain or shine. Details are at lislewomansclub.org.