LONGMONT — The Longmont Symphony Guild is showcasing five area gardens June 15 and 16 for the 30th anniversary Festival of Flowers garden tour.
A fundraiser for the Longmont Symphony Orchestra, this annual event is a chance for the public to see what area gardeners are up to and to be inspired to cultivate their own spaces.
The first stop on the tour is a garden on Emery Street. For Raymond Amos and Terry Duce, building their garden started as a way to curb traffic around their street-corner home.
“It would have been cheaper to build a fence,” Amos said.
The house now is framed by a flourishing hedge of berms, pussywillows and seasonal bulbs. No longer are students from the nearby school tempted to take a shortcut across the lawn.
Amos and Duce work hard to utilize every part of their land, from their organic garden and half-built greenhouse in the backyard to the knot garden on the north side of the house, created to be a place for quiet meditation and napping.
They also have crafted their space with water conservation and organic methods in mind.
“Grass is not a useful thing at all,” Amos said, “especially in a high desert area.”
A sprinkler system with nine zones and drip hoses focuses water on plant roots instead of spraying the garden beds. Amos planted many species native to Colorado to reduce irrigation.
Conserving water is something every gardener can master. Carol O’Meara, master gardener for the Colorado State University Boulder County Cooperative Extension, offers simple advice regarding irrigation.
“Conserving water is determined by how well the soil is prepped, drip irrigation and use of mulch,” O’Meara said. “Mid-June is the latest time you want to get mulch on to buffer the heat and wind.”
Other simple steps include putting plants together that require the same amount of water and looking at the tags of plants when they are bought.
Also included this year on the tour is the historic garden of June Ziegler. Her spacious backyard was first seen on the tour 10 years ago and will be the last stop for this year’s show.
“I call it my experimental garden, because I like to try different things,” Ziegler said.
For decoration, a granite bench from her hometown of Ortonville, Minn., sits in a shady corner, and a birdhouse made from the redwood of the barn on her childhood farm hangs in a tree close to the house.
“I like to add things to the garden that mean something to me,” Ziegler said.
Outside the gate is an area Ziegler calls her xeriscape garden. On the slope are rocks, bushes and native Colorado plants.
Xeriscaping is a landscape term coined by the Colorado WaterWise Council. Gardeners who use such methods focus on water conservation, enriching their soil, responsible land use, native plants and organic methods.
Gardens created by Mary Kay and Dick Hoagland, Karen and Dennis Thompson, and Kathy and Dale Bruns also will be featured on the tour.
To learn more about water conservation and xeriscaping, visit the Colorado WaterWise Council:
If you go
What: Longmont Symphony Guild 30th Annual Festival of Flowers Garden Tour
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 15 and 16
Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of tour
More info: Tickets can be purchased in Longmont at The Flower Bin, 1805 Nelson Rd.; Twin Peaks Mall Information Booth, 1250 S. Hover Rd.; Duran’s Hobby Acres, 15591 N. 107th (Hwy. 287); Ute Trail Greenhouse, 5555 Ute Hwy; The Muse Gallery, 356 Main Street; and Adorn, 668 4th Ave.
Rhema Muncy can be reached at 303-684-5336, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.