Lannon stones and plants to attract pollinators are among the highlights at the home of Liz Spranger and Bill Mawbey. (Contributed)

July’s Garden Parade to offer inspiration

Special for the Metro Wire

Tickets are now available for one of the summer’s signature events in Portage County: The annual garden parade will be held Saturday, July 13.

The parade will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on one day only. The parade offers an inside look at six private residential properties:

-Karl and Jane Wolf, 1360 Crimson Court, Plover, have lived and gardened here for 28 years. Many of their perennials are grown from seed, either collected or purchased. Daylilies and iris from their mother’s garden and raised beds of hostas line baths. They grow geraniums from cuttings taken from overwintered plants. A pond, bog and outdoor room with fire pit are other special features.

-Dave and Kathie Plaisance, 3241 Nicolet Court, Stevens Point, grow a variety of ferns, hostas, wild ginger, astilbes and container plantings in their shady yard. Dave built hardscape features, furniture, and outbuildings from cedar and reclaimed wood. Northern Kiwi vines cover an arbor. Metal chickens and antique watering cans give this garden a farmhouse feel. A two-level pond attracts birds.

-Liz Spranger and Bill Mawbey, 5893 Clark St., moved to their wooded two acres six years ago and enjoy observing wildlife. Once a Lannon stone quarry, stones of all sizes can be found on the property. Annual flowers and perennials including hostas, heuchera, coral bells, bee balm, echinacea, clematis, prickly pear, daylilies, milkweed, and Japanese sage, are grown to attract bees and butterflies.

-Kevin and Amy Lawton, 416 Walker St., have worked to address flooding and improve the soil on their property. This woodchip/Back to Eden/no-till style gardening reduces the need to water or weed. They have a large vegetable garden, starting most plants from seed collected during the previous year’s harvest. They also grow a variety of fruits and love having nutritious food a few steps away.

-Paul and Sarah Gwidt, 2112 Driftwood Dr., built a home on the family farmstead. Outdoor entertaining areas are balanced with plantings and architectural elements for Sarah’s outdoor portrait studio. They recently added a patio and pergola. Rock terraces create multi-level perennial beds for shade and sun-loving plants. See a flock of heritage chickens and learn new vegetable garden techniques.

-Patt Loecher, 1000 Wilshire Drive, started gardening to cover an area where the lawn didn’t fare well. Hardy hostas and daylilies thrived, and the palette of perennials expanded. Patt helps her grandchildren start seeds indoors. She began raising chickens a few years ago and finds they are a good gardening fit. Enjoy garden décor and birdhouses made of vintage items and recycled wood.

Various demonstrations, vendors, information and musical entertainment will be available at each of the garden locations, on such topics as beekeeping, composting options, hardscaping, artists and musical entertainment.

University of Wisconsin Extension Portage County Master Gardener Volunteers co-sponsor the garden parade, and members are available to answer questions at each garden.

Garden Parade tickets are $10 in advance or $12 on parade days at any of the parade sites. They are available at several locations:

  • In Stevens Point, tickets are for sale at Jung’s Garden Center, 5620 Hwy. 10 East; Stevens Point Area Co-op, 633 Second St.; Master Gardener information table at the Farmers’ Market on the Public Square (Saturdays).
  • Tickets are also at Village Gardens, 2811 Porter Road, and Jay-Mar, 2130 Jay-Mar Road, Plover; and Judah Studios, Nelsonville.

For more information, contact Portage County UW-Extension, 715-346-1316.