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A reflection of personalities


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Statuary are placed throughout the backyard at this Grosse Pointe Park house. photo by Ann L. Fouty.

June 19, 2014
The six houses on the 23rd annual Grosse Pointe Garden Tour reflect six diverse personalities. There are lush greenery, pool side conversation areas, dozens and dozens of potted flowers and flowers growing out of a faded pair of blue jeans, a raised garden, a winding river and waterfalls. One house features a putting green and a smoking area. A Grosse Pointe Woods backyard garden has a spot for fairies to gather and yet another garden uses the most of its small area with distinct trees.

Guests will stop at three gardens in Grosse Pointe Woods, two in the Farms and one in the Park between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday, June 20, and Saturday, June 21. Also on tour are the Veterans Garden and the Trial Gardens, both at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial where tickets can be purchased. Tickets purchased prior to the tour cost $12 and on tour days, the cost is $15. The War Memorial's phone number is (313) 881-7511, ext. 206, or e-mail gpgardencenter@warmemorial.org.

Grosse Pointe Park

While the front yard is detailed, the backyard allows the visitor ample room to wander among the pink dogwoods, rhododendrons, fountains and statuary.

Check out the raised garden to see how the lettuce, spinach, carrots and peppers are growing. The raised bed is surrounded by pots of tomato and pea plants.

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Pass through the stand of boxwood to view the backyard with hostas, ornamental grasses, Sargent crab trees, fern, a stand of river birch and a statue surrounded by a small pond.

Garden columnist Nancy Szerlag and perennial expert Susan Martin will be available to answer gardening questions.

Step into the shade of the patio with two conversation areas and a fireplace.

Grosse Pointe Farms

Don't let the small semi-circular drive and mixture of pink, purple and yellow flowers in an English cottage garden style fool you that this is all. Behind the wooden gate a "secret garden" is nearly an acre of pesticide-free lawn and plants.

A woodland shade garden with ferns and azaleas anchor one side of the backyard in which the waterfall is bordered by yellow iris, astilbe and dwarf argenti. It flows into a stream emptying into a pond at the back of the lot. The colors and plants are mirrored on the other side of the property. Along the west side of the house is the "food" section with strawberry plants, apple trees and blackberry bushes.

The plants were installed both for form and function, serving as a wildlife habitat. Additionally, the shrubs of aronia, viburnum and serviceberries provide food for the birds, while the yarrow, butterfly weed and echinacea provide food for butterflies and bees. And it all provides the owners and their guests with color through the fall.

LocalMotionGreen @ Ecology Center representatives will be here to answer questions.

At the second house in Grosse Pointe Farms, a rose tree is in bloom and a fairy village is nestled in a back corner.

The homeowner said one of her favorite plants is Jack Frost brunnera because it can be divided and offers light blue flowers in the spring. But it is the leaves that provide the color in three seasons. The weeping pine tree guards the dwarf weeping redbud tree.

Winding paths take the visitor past perennials of heuchera, daisies, peonies, sweet woodruff, bleeding hearts, anemones, lavender, delphinium, cranesbill and foxglove. Ivy covers the ground and surrounds a clay warrior the family brought back from a 2002 trip to China.

Striving for a natural look, the backyard has a water fall bordered by lush green plants. And the eye follows the water to the pots filled with colors from pansies, petunias, windflowers, sedum, begonia and asters.

The family built a pergola to enjoy the natural look of the backyard with a waterfall.

Grosse Pointe Woods

Visitors will walk through a wrought iron gate to see nearly an acre of relandscaped and updated backyard expanse. Walking on a natural path with rhododendrons on either side, the guest sees trimmed evergreens, the 100 flats of begonias, spiderwort, a pool house, a children's playhouse surrounded by color created by annuals. Hanging on the fence are boxes of rosemary and thyme. The eye catches the tall fence separating the yard from the pool with its frog statues spirting water and the massive turtles stationed at the back. The nymphs are playing in the hosta and ivy at the far end of the pool area. Douglas fir and flowering crab trees surround the pool.

Don't miss the two outdoor kitchens, complete with sinks and refrigerators. One has a two-burner top range.

A string quartet will be playing between noon and 2 p.m. both days of the garden tour.

The front lawn of the second Grosse Pointe Woods house is manicured and bordered with pink and black. Pink as in begonias, geraniums and roses and black as in large stones and mulch. The side and back yards are artificial grass. A three-hole putting course is next to the conversation area in which guests can relax while smoking a cigar.

The paved patio has a fire pit. An outdoor kitchen has been built to serve those gathered at a table and chairs. Boxwood provide the green back to the sand-colored wall with seven waterfalls. With more than 50 flower pots spaced throughout the yard, there is always a pop of color.

The third Grosse Pointe Woods house features a smaller garden loaded with hosta, impatiens, yellow day lilies, hanging baskets, green arborvitaes, junipers, hydrangea, annual grasses, iris, a red maple and a rose of Sharon in the shade of raspberry smoothie. Guarding the backyard is an iron bird made of scrap metal and its head bobs on a spring as visitors pass by. An old cottonwood anchors the backyard and a hawthorn holds a spot on the south side. A lime green Japanese maple, a purple leaf birch and a large hemlock add to the backyard's scenery.

A Master Gardener will be at each private garden to answer questions. Local artists will be recreating the gardens' on their canvasses. Two sites will have refreshments. No strollers or pets are allowed on the tour that is held rain or shine. Additionally, an original water color painting by artist Robert Fionda and six prizes will be raffled as part of the tour. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 each or three for $10. All proceeds benefit the education, beautification, horticulture and conservation of the Grosse Pointes.

The War Memorial Trial Gardens' 2014 theme is "A Garden of Earthly Delights - Cultivating the Senses." Each plot is designed, planted and maintained by local garden clubs' members who vie to win the right to select the next year's theme.

Veterans Garden is a tiered garden and maintained by volunteers. Service men and women are honored in the garden.

Sargents 1
Gooley Cadillac 2
HL Claeys 3
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