According to information presented by Marler, the home at 115 N. Elm St., owned today by Jona and Darin Neufeld, was built in 1906.
Construction on the home began in 1904 with three carpenters working full-time at $2.65 a day. Two years later, she explained, the original owner, Isaac Good, former president of the local Farmers and Drovers Bank, took residence.
The home itself, she said, is not open to the public during the tour, but garden sightseers are invited to walk along two levels of the home’s porches.
Hanging baskets along the porches connected by a sprinkler system are among the unique features.
The ferns in the baskets, Marler said, also provide a top-notch nest for birds.
The Neufelds’ garden, she said, includes a fountain imported from Europe in the 1920s and a dock at Luta Creek.
“Garden visitors can tour the yard and down to the creek, pausing to enjoy the young magnolia adjacent to the house.
This year, Marler and her husband, Doug, decided to showcase their garden at 201 N. Coble.
The front yard, she said, features a pond, complete with fish from the shop at Marion County, along with lots of flowers.
“Doug constructed the pond several years ago,” Marler said. “I get the ideas and he does all the work.”
An unusual attraction at their home is the limestone boulder that looks like a dinosaur knee.
For several years, Marler said, they have collected recycled farm tools and other old items long before the practice became popular. The end result is that visitors will see the fruits of their labor on the tour.
A sure favorite for guests will be plants and flowers with roots nearly as deep as the ones the couple has to the Marion community.
Iris, black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, day lilies and monkey grass are gifts from friends and relatives, Marler said, and phlox and daisies came from grandmothers.
“This is a garden about and for children,” she said.
Even their son Kevin’s tricycle is a garden sculpture with a tree house and swing sharing the stage.
“The lilies are in memory of three deceased grandchildren, one of them named Lily,” she said.
A covered deck off the house is an inviting place for the family to “hang out” and enjoy birds that share the garden with the family.
“We have finches, orioles, bluebirds, wrens, blue jays, nuthatches, woodpeckers and cardinals,” she said.
Adding to the mood–and because Marler is a librarian–several books about gardening are on display.
Mother, daughter project
Marian Crofoot and her daughter, Pam Bowers, at 412 S. Thorp, have a shared venture when it comes to their garden.
“As a team,” Marler said, “Marian does the entertaining and Pam provides the labor.”
They are looking forward to sharing the garden with visitors this year because of all the changes that have occurred since the last time it was featured on a tour, Marler said.
Many things in the garden have matured during that time, she added.
One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the view from the patio, which looks out onto a spring-fed creek.
County lake gardeners
Lawrence and Jackie Volbrecht, who live at 48 Lakeshore Drive, say they enjoy the relaxed, quiet atmosphere of the lake.
Visitors, Marler said, will also like some of the decorating ideas to include a cooker-smoker that now serves as a home for house plants.
“Jackie works in stained glass,” she said, “and adjacent to her studio is a raised bed of cabbages.”
She also grows several herbs to include basil, rosemary, parsley and sage.
Amidst a backdrop of evergreen trees, Jackie’s garden is home to a colony of fairies and gnomes.
“She also loves the soft sound of wind chimes and says someday she will own 100 of them,” Marler said.
Another passion she has is collecting rocks with messages, such as, peace, breathe, charity and grace.
“All my rocks talk,” Jackie said.
As an added bonus, the Volbrechts will serve cookies and lemonade to guests on the tour.
Tickets for the tour are $5 and available only at Marion City Library, 101 Library St.
For more information, call Marler at 620-382-2442.