By Nancy Nelson, Staff Writer
After spending the winter months perusing the home and garden magazines for landscape inspirations, people will now have the opportunity to get real life inspiration in the form of a tour of gardens. The Theta Iota chapter of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority will sponsor a garden tour in 2005. The sorority sponsors the event every other year and it draws around 150 to 200 people from around the Cherokee area.
This year's event will feature six unique and different gardens in Cherokee. Tickets can be purchased for $7 in advance at Cherokee State Bank, Valley Bank, Creative Cutters, Sports Rehab, or by calling Karla Wilkie at 225-5651. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the event for $8 at any of the gardens listed on the tour.
Ticket holders must show their ticket at each garden and can visit any of the gardens at any time, enjoying them at their own leisure. Maps to each garden will be provided.
The event will take place on Sunday, June 26, 2005 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Gardens included on the tour are the home of Ronnie and Bonnie Hatch at 715 West Cherry, Bob and Penny Lundell at 410 Centennial Drive, Joe and Jane Schmillen at 325 E. Willow, Tom and Sue Deiker at 1212 W. Cedar Loop, Cherokee Mental Health Institute grounds, The Auh Garden at CMHI grounds, and Beacon Hollow Cemetery also at the CMHI grounds.
The Hatch garden began in 1970 as a small vegetable garden and has grown into a flower garden that is home to birds with their bird feeders and bird houses.
The Lundell garden features large perennial beds along a creek leading to a pond. The large yard has evolved over ten years and has come to include a Chinese garden, a bird house garden and a variety of fruit bushes and trees.
The Schmillen garden was inspired by a 19th century Michigan farm garden where they have created a sanctuary to recall memories from the past. Their garden includes a shade house, arbor and other features showcase their love of primitives along with a herb garden.
The Deiker garden is a shade filled garden that is created in an effort to provide a people and animal sanctuary garden. The couple has worked to develop a maintenance free mix of perennials and a midwestern version of an oriental raised vegetable garden.
The Cherokee Mental Health Institute grounds are a lesson in history and preservation. They have used 1920's farm equipment formerly used at the institute to light entrance to the northwest corn gardens. They have also reconstructed a prairie located in the south yard and a pond at the north campus is currently being beautifies to look as it did long ago.
The Auh garden was developed to pay tribute to the Auh family. Dr. Chule Auh was a vital member of the staff at CMHI and his wife, Ann will always be remembered for her graciousness and ability to beautify the grounds. Area Master Gardeners created the garden as a community project to allow staff and patients to have an area to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Many of the plants were divided and transplanted from Auh's original garden and memorial collections enabled a garden bench, tree, birdbath and garden trellis to be installed in memory of Dr. Auh.
Restoration of the Beacon Hollow Cemetery at CMHI began in the late 1990's. The area had long been neglected and the many hours put in by a group of CMHI employees, the inmate program and some Cherokee Master Gardeners resulted in a beautiful historical cemetery. The Master Gardeners created a wildflower and perennial garden. It now provides a sanctuary of beauty, peace and solitude.
Be sure and visit all of these beautiful and inspiring gardens during the tour on June 26, 2005.