ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Botanically curious folks in the area will have a chance to discover some of Hillsboro’s hidden backyard treasures Sunday afternoon by participating in the first garden tour organized by the Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Association.
The “Backyard Inspirations Garden Tour,” a self-guided event, will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., July 3, and will include gardens at five residences:
— a deck-and-barn rock experience at the home of Eddie and Connie Weber, 806 W. Grand;
— a gazebo garden at the home of Richard and Joyce Barkman, 1362 U.S. Highway 56 east of Hillsboro;
— a limestone garden at the home of Wayne and Linda Friesen, 714 S. Washington;
— a patio garden featuring a peace rose at the home of Ken and Ruby Schroeder, 15 Park Ave.
— a creek-bank garden at the home of Ken and Jean Jost, 405 S. Wilson.
Arlene Schale, president of the Arts & Crafts Association, said the idea of planning a garden tour surfaced as an alternative to the traditional Holiday Home Tour, which did not occur last December because of an insufficient number of homes.
“I just thought it would be a fun thing, so we got it going,” Schale said.
Because gardens usually are in the backyard and out of public view, Schale said the committee started its search for participants by contacting Sharon Boese, owner of The Garden Center in Hillsboro.
“I got some (names) from her, then you just talk around and everybody knows somebody with a garden,” Schale said.
In all, some 20 homeowners were contacted about participating in this inaugural tour.
“About 15 turned us down or said ‘next year,'” Schale said. “We just worked on it really hard.”
Admission for the tour is $2. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce office, 109 S. Main, or at any of the participating homes on July 3.
Schale said the tour is not intended to be a fund-raiser as much as an opportunity for people to view and appreciate the creativity of local gardeners.
“If we make any money, it will probably go to the summer theater program,” she said. “But even the Holiday Home Tour never made money for us.”