The gardens of the Rim country are ready for their close-up. The Rim Area Gardeners of Payson are presenting their annual Mogollon Garden Tour next week.
Six gardens will be opened to the public for viewing between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18.
This is a self-guided auto tour, but at each garden, visitors will be greeted by a member of the group, who will direct them through the displays. Homeowners will also be available, except during the noon hour.
Each garden reflects the individual homeowners' tastes and gifts for working with nature.
Various water conservation methods will be featured, such as mulching, rain-water harvesting, use of drip and soaker hose irrigation, and landscaping with xeriscape plants.
The six gardens opening to visitors for the tour are:
- The Krison Garden of Walter and Elly Krison, 1307 N. Easy;
- The Gooding Garden of Dean and Vee Gooding, 800 W. St. Moritz;
- The Holt Garden of Dick and Lee Holt, 706 W. Overland;
- Gila Community College demonstration garden by the High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona, 201 N. Mud Springs;
- The Hartinger Garden of Joe and Ursula Hartinger, 1114 S. Elk Ridge; and
- The Ostermeier Garden of Bob and Betty Ostermeier, 900 W. Heritage Circle.
The Krison Garden is only a year old. The front yard has several fruit trees and a perennial border surrounding an interesting central hardscape of stepping stones through a white gravel mulch. A vegetable garden thrives in a raised bed bordering a driveway to the back yard.
The Gooding Garden features a dazzling display of bio-diverse plants and a tasteful blend of native and exotic trees which have created an outstanding effort after five years of work to modify existing plantings. A wood-chip mulch replaces a former lawn and drip irrigation also conserves water. Vegetable beds with below-ground access and several different fruit trees, enriched with homemade compost, provide organically grown food. Rain-water harvesting and storage also provide heat during the winter months for the Goodings' stained glass greenhouse.
The Holt Garden is neat and tidy, using all available space to permit a wide variety of fruit and ornamental trees to thrive. Raised beds and shade screen make growing vegetables easy. There are also roses and other flowers. The composting area and a cold frame for starting plants early in the season are tucked out of sight.
The GCC garden demonstrates what homeowners can incorporate into their own gardens to make gardening easier and to conserve water. Roof runoff harvesting is accomplished through the use of swales and catch basins and a portion of this water is stored in a rain barrel for future use. Water is directed through the garden to utilize every available drop.
The Hartinger Garden is a xeriscape featuring native and xeric plants. The garden, on a steep, rocky hillside provides shade, color and year-round interest after five years of hard work. The terraced beds feature many different varieties of agave and cactus, including the rare golden barrel cactus.
The Ostermeier Garden is another example of terracing up a rocky hillside. It features several fruit trees, roses and ornamentals. Plants are tucked into almost every crack and crevice of the rocks.
The Ostermeiers have worked on the garden for the six years they have made their home in Payson. The couple moved here from the Phoenix area where they had lived and gardened for nearly 50 years.
They enjoy the changing images of their garden from two different patio seating areas and a glider perched at the top of their hill.
Tickets for the 2004 Mogollon Garden Tour are $5 per person and are available at Ace Hardware, Plant Fair Nursery, Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Payson Public Library and at each garden on the tour. "Green thumb" signs provide directions to the homes on the tour.