Garden tours provide plant lovers with
inexpensive inspiration. Wondering what to do with that sunny area of
your yard? Take a look at what gardeners featured on this year’s
Waukesha Symphony Orchestra League Garden Tour have done in a similar
space. As a fundraiser for the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra, the annual
tour features six Waukesha gardens clustered near Carroll College and
in the southern part of the city as well as the town of Waukesha.
Stein Garden and Gifts is this year’s sponsor.
Here is just a sample of the symphony
of color you’ll see on this year’s tour.
Bob and Mary Spiering
A four-foot koi pond and waterfall is
one of the centerpieces of the backyard of the Spiering yard. Six
large fish named for classical composers make their home in the pond
adjacent to a deck. Mary tries to have something blooming in the pond
area all the time, from old-fashioned bee balm and phlox to irises,
coneflowers and yarrow. When the Spierings’ son uncovered a complete
elk’s skull in South Dakota, Mary agreed to store it for him. So the
skull has become part of a Western-themed garden with cacti, Joe Pye
weed and indigo adding the plant interest. Two berms separate the
gardens, one with a trellis supporting a trumpet vine and surrounded
with Asiatic lilies. The other berm features hardy hibiscus, peonies
and more Asiatic lilies.
Kathleen and Dennis Hulen
The 150- by 360-foot backyard offers
multiple surprises for garden tour visitors. Various beds filled with
perennials dot the space. Annuals are added for continuous color. You’ll
find a gas plant and mallow, a bed of hollyhocks and lots of
butterfly-loving plants. One of the sun beds features phlox, globe
thistle and candytuft. The wooden pyramid trellis supports a prolific
William Baffin rose. Along the sides of the white arbor are a climbing
hydrangea and a shade-tolerating rose bush. As you walk through the
one-acre yard, you’ll find surprises wherever you go.
Chris and Alan Linder
A serpentine concrete walk defines the
path to the Linders’ front door. Along one side of the walk are
shade plants, notably the hostas and astilbes. Sun lovers have claimed
the other side. The backyard features a woodland garden that contains
a variety of unusual species. Look for a rare red trillium tucked in
among the primulas, hellebores and variegated Solomon’s seal. Other
interesting specimens include lots of old-fashioned hollyhocks and a
shrub clematis. Some dead elm trees have been transformed into pieces
of garden art. Carved into one of them is a nature woodland spirit.
Another sports two raccoons. Chris grows thousands of perennials to
use in her work as a garden designer.
JoAnn and Rudy Zeilhofer
A quarter-mile driveway framed with
evergreens leads to the Zeilhofer home. Rudy is a buyer for Stein
Garden and Gifts and JoAnn willingly tests the latest plants for
hardiness and quality. Beds of exotics edge the driveway. Separate
garden rooms are scattered about the 13-acre property. Everywhere you
look there are points of interest. In the spring some 100,000
hyacinths, crocuses, tulips and daffodils blossom into a riot of
color. Look for a dappled willow grafted on a standard tree, weeping
cherry and mulberry trees, even magnolias. Hostas and day lilies,
including the ubiquitous Stella d’Oro yellow lilies, are everywhere
and clematis plants are tucked into various spaces. A Stein’s
television commercial was filmed in the Zeilhofers’ yard.
As part of the tour, the Zeilhofers
will host a free tea party from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21, on
their property. The party will include music performed by the students
of the Waukesha Symphony chamber music program as well as a speaker
from Monrovia Nursery. The annual plant sale will also be held at the
Zeilhofer homeon Saturday and Sunday, June 21-22.
Barbara and Dwayne Nickels
An old-fashioned cottage garden can be
found at the Nickels’ home. Barbara grows a mixture of delphiniums,
peonies and sweet William interspersed with wisteria, climbing roses,
clematis and perennial sweet peas. There’s a lot going on in a
relatively small space. Look for Dwayne’s rustic garden art
scattered about. Although heavy into succulents and sedums, Barbara is
also a day lily hybridizer who hopes to develop six new varieties and
name them after her grandchildren. The Nickels’ yard features some
300 to 350 different day lilies.
Tony and Andrea Bryant
The one-acre landscape at the Bryant
home is divided into garden rooms. As you wander through the spaces,
including a Japanese one that features a tea house and many varieties
of hostas, you’ll feel transported to a different place. The most
dramatic parts of the yard are actually the mature trees and bronze
sculptures. The Scotch pines have been there since the late 1800s; the
Japanese, split leaf and red maples were added later.