To enjoy some of these gardens, plan on joining the annual Norwalk Master Gardener/Historical Society Garden Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Six gardens of different sizes and types are on display, plus a mini-park belonging to garden hosts, Tom and Jackie Dunlap.
Tickets are on sale in Norwalk at Schild's IGA SuperCenter, 171 Milan Ave., and Firelands Museum, 4 Case Ave. The museum is located behind the Norwalk Public Library.
On tour day, tickets will be available at the two locations starting at 9:30 a.m. A garden location map will be provided with the ticket. This is a self-guided tour, rain or shine, and will cost $10 each which benefits the Firelands Historical Society. For more information, call 419-668-1415 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like stepping onto the grounds of a beautiful estate, Jim and Char Busek's home at 28 Jeffrey Way, with its well-manicured lawn and perfect edges, is a dream. And beyond in the back yard, the landscaped hillside extends into the woods inviting you to stroll, enjoy the ferns and ground covers, and maybe see a deer.
The deer are nearby for sure so the Buseks have fences protecting their planted pots and tomatoes when they are gone. This home and garden are on a cul-de-sac so parking will be restricted to the street.
Scott and Nancy Sisson's garden at 14 Rosedale Blvd. is a jewel.
Scott's jewel as he is the horticulturist. He designs and does the work with Nancy's help. His use of stone and brick is wonderful. Another well-manicured garden with neat edges, some of stone, some of cut soil. This is a hobby garden, lots of beautiful plants and clever touches here and there. This fun garden is the result of 24 years perfecting the design.
The water garden is alive with goldfish and surrounded with stone adorned with sedums tucked in the nooks and crannies. Pots filled with bright annuals add sparkle. An interesting use of succulents adds to its charm. An antique and historic lamp post, restored and painted, also distinguishes this garden.
Tom and Jackie Dunlap, of 11 Rosedale Blvd., is a found garden art showpiece. Jackie loves a sale, auction or antique shop and her love equals a one of a kind garden. Here she has old enamel and tin wash pans hanging on the fence. One fence section has an old bed spring attached supporting a variety of vines. A milk can is the container for a short sunflower. Older benches with a bright coat of paint provide seats among the pots of flowers and colorful shrubs.
Using bright colored dwarf shrubs fills in for flowers that sometimes only bloom for a few weeks. Knock-out roses in yellow and red add excitement to the garden area. Besides all the work in the flower garden, Tom and Jackie have a large vegetable garden. They have some more property to the back which has its own features. A neighbor enjoys taking care of a large fairy garden; shrubs from their family farms are here turning the area into a park with a swing set for kids.
The Dunlaps are originally from the New London area and have lived at 11 Rosedale Blvd. for 32 years. They went to school in New London, but didn't know each other well. It wasn't until Sheriff Tom was taking his prisoners to get their teeth fixed that he met Miss Jackie Mills, the dental hygienist.
Bill and Judy Rarick's garden at 5 Birdie Way in Sycamore Hills has the most beautiful spider wort in the world. The plants are large with large blossoms. The astilbes are the same, beautiful and big. Also the hostas. The excess of rain has been a boon to the plants. This is another very neat garden with precise edges and nicely mulched beds. Both Bill and Judy do the work, but have landscaping help with additions and changes. The water garden is complete with a copper heron; however, it did not frighten away the real heron that stole the fish a few years ago.
Phyllis and Le Mar Zieber's home at 11 State St. is one of those “painted ladies” that play a starring role in San Francisco. However, the Ziebers’ green beauty is about to molt and turn up with a lovely new paint job. This garden has been on the garden tour more than once and it still charms and inspires gardeners. The beautiful beech in the back yard is worth the trip. Lots of roses, old and new, climbing and bush, easy to grow and temperamental stars offer lots of fragrance and color.
A new bush in front is a gem, a Korean fir. A new idea for a birdbath, several dwarf evergreens planted together. And another, a collection of foliage plants in a pot. The perennial garden along the fence has many different treasures, especially the many coral bells sporting several leaf colors. An added fountain coming from a rock on a bed of round stones is new. And to fight the tendency of the back yard to flood, a new French drain. Le Mar who loves to garden is busy with the vegetable garden. Both Phyllis and Le Mar do the work with occasional landscape help with new trees and design changes.
Shannon and Dave Ditz have a neat garden at 108 Sycamore Drive featuring veggies and herbs. Shannon likes to cook with fresh vegetables and herbs for healthful eating. Little Bradley helps and he likes to eat fresh raw veggies, peas, green beans, kale and broccoli right from the garden. Edible landscaping is Shannon's joy and she has pots and raised beds of bright-colored chard, tomatoes, lettuce and other colorful produce.
Shannon likes to roast veggies, use them in smoothies and try new flavored salads. She is a Master Gardener and she is helping train young and inexperienced gardeners with gardening in raised beds using the square-foot gardening technique, with the bed divided into several square feet areas with a few seeds planted in each square. She has four raised beds for veggies and about 15 pots. Be ready to be inspired to plant a vegetable garden.