Seventh garden tour in Marion set for Saturday

What many visitors consider one of the most unique garden tours in the state is now in its seventh year of showcasing six Marion County gardens from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, June 25.

The Marion City Library is again sponsoring the event as a fundraising activity for the library, and tickets are $5 each.

Janet Marler, library director, said tickets and tour maps will be available the morning of the tour.

The tour includes Steve and Diane Sams at the Marion County Lake; Bruce and Belinda Skiles, west of Marion; Vickie Kraus on Elm Street; Scott and Laurie Miesse, east of town and Eldon and Rhonda Hett’s historic barn.

Throughout the day, Marler said, visitors, in addition to touring the gardens, will have the opportunity to browse the collection and enjoy homemade treats provided by library volunteers.

“The library is housed in the renovated Santa Fe Railroad Depot, located two blocks off Main Street,” she said.

Not a typical tour

“Flowers in the Flint Hills,” Marler said, is not a typical garden tour, but in 2016, the committee pulled all the stops.

“We’ve hauled a Cub Scout pup tent out of the attic to lend even more atmosphere to a garden vignette,” she said. “We’ve even moved a house from town to country just to show off.”

Gallery 101 of the Flint Hills, located on Main Street in Marion, is also having a special show to accompany the garden tour.

Photographer Rebecca Wingfield’s “Garden Delights” will be a delight to all gardeners, one garden committee member said.

Tina Wilcox has photos to include Blooming Chokeberry, which proves once again the beauty of the Flint Hills, she added.

One family on the tour, Belinda Skiles, also has wire sculptures of horses featured at the gallery.

Jan Davis, gallery owner, will also add her own tribute to the event with “Kansas Prairie Skies—Dawn and Dusk.”

Gallery visitors will also enjoy the 1800s charm and its sculptured garden.

In addition to the requisite boxwoods, evergreens and hanging baskets, there are works by artists Dillis Owen and Rick Sardou.

Sneak peak

Vickie Kraus lives in a 1904 home with a large porch and baskets of ferns, table-draped with a vintage quilt and its red, white and blue color scheme, Marler said.

“The shady garden extends to Luta Creek, and it is here that visitors will find a vintage Jeep,” she said.

The garden contains cone flowers, peonies, “pass alongs” and beds of iris.

The country home belonging to Laurie and Scott Miesse was relocated from Marion.

“Visitors approach the house along a country lane with pastures and beautiful views on each side,” Marler said.

Rock edging in the garden was salvaged from the basement of the house in town during the move.

Tour goers, she said, will also see the epitome of an old-fashioned Kansas garden full of daisies, marigolds, iris, roses, black-eyed Susans and a strawberry bed.

Living along Lakeshore Drive, Diane and Steve Sams have a stunning view of the county lake, one committee member said.

“Diane has packed three water features, mountains of mega-pink petunias, roses, geraniums, cone flowers and hydrangeas on steroids into a relatively small space,” Marler said.

Eldon and Rhonda Hett will treat visitors to a drive into a farm compound that has evolved through the generations into a sanctuary for a vastly extended family of maybe 300 people, she said.

While the property was first purchased by John Hett in 1919, first members of the Hett family arrived in Marion County in 1877 and 1878.

Along with the historic sites, a pumpkin patch is in the works, she said.

Belinda and Bruce Skiles also have a country home, and its a familiar place to anyone who travels the county road between Marion and Hillsboro.

Situated on a hill, with an iconic Flint Hills barn and a lane of trees leading to the house, Cottonwood Farm is Flint Hills to the maximum, Marler said.

Belinda Skiles said she loves plants to include exotic hibiscus, daisies plucked from a roadside ditch, old time Obedient Plant, tomatoes and lavender and nearly wild roses, sweet peas from her grandmother and much more.

For more information about the tour, call 620-382-2442.

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