Get A Peek At Some Great Gardens

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The Rim Area Gardeners are giving residents and visitors an opportunity to get a peek at some great gardens this weekend.

The 2002 Mogollon Garden Tour is Saturday, June 1, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, June 2, from noon to 4 p.m.

This is a self-guided auto tour of six Rim country gardens. At each home, a member of the garden club will greet participants and guide them through the garden.

For the first time, all the plants have been numbered and identified. A sheet with the plant names corresponding to the numbers will be given to each visitor.

Tour tickets are $5 and are available at: Ace Hardware; Plant Fair Nursery; Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce; Payson Public Library; Pine Library; and at each garden on the tour.

Gardeners who have graciously opened their homes for the tour include Helen and Danny Nu Carolyn and John Johnson; Marilyn and Shane Dedman; Micky and Steve Solcz; Connie and Jim Keller; and Joyce and John Bittner.

Each garden reflects the individual tastes of the homeowners and their gifts for working with nature.

The NuGarden, 1116 S. Sycamore Circle, Payson The inviting nandina-lined drive leads to the garden gate and into a natural, barrier-free landscape of reseeding wildflowers, native shrubs and trees, filled with birds. There also is a pond and rock garden for enjoying nature's quiet beauty.

The Johnson Garden, 213 Canpar Way, Payson Natural red rock and native boulders dominate the raised beds which are overflowing with shrubs and flowers. The garden includes a shelter nestled among roses, Japanese lanterns and oriental grasses, and within the shelter are dozens of bonsai specimens.

The Dedman Garden, 502 N. Hogan Drive, Payson Bordering the forest, this old-fashioned, cottage garden surrounds the house and blends with the native landscape. There are perennial beds, containers of flowers, plus both an herb and vegetable garden, partially watered by drip irrigation.

The Solcz Garden, 401 Deer Trail, Payson This is an excellent example of how to garden on a granite slab with heaps of decomposed granite and a south-facing exposed slope. A raised-bed cutting garden and dry wash, along with new plantings of native trees and other low-water use plants, heavily mulched to hold moisture, all demonstrate the sound techniques of nature-scape gardening. This new Xeriscape garden is an exciting and interesting work in progress.

Bittner's Fossil Creek Llama Ranch, 10379 W. Fossil Creek Road, Strawberry This is a country style garden on a working llama ranch, designed for four-seasons interest. Something is always in bloom during the growing season. Plants are vigorous and healthy due to an ample supply of llama manure. Visitors are encouraged to bring trash bags and scoop up the "llama gold" for their own gardens.

A seventh garden, created by the Poole family in Star Valley (No. 6 on the tour map), has been taken off the tour due to unforeseen circumstances.

On the way to the llama ranch, drive slowly through Pine, there are several lovely gardens to view from your vehicle: a cottage garden at Sunny Mountain Realty; a developing wildflower garden at the office of architect Bernie Lieders; and the Pine annex of Plant Fair Nursery, where plants on the tour can be purchased.

Plant Fair Nursery in Star Valley has a wide selection of native, low-water use and drought-tolerant plants available for Rim country gardens.

The 2002 Mogollon Garden Tour, organized by the Rim Area Gardeners of Payson, is sponsored by Payson Exterminating, Plant Fair Nursery, and The Garden Palette.

For additional information, call Barry Peiffer, 468-0860.

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