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Summer Gardens Tour to feature variety

Garden sculpture, flowers, vegetables and special effects will be among the features on display for the 2010 Beltrami County Master Gardeners Garden Tour Saturday. In Wally and Cathy Peck's garden, delphiniums and a colorful bird feeder share a bed. Pioneer Photo/Molly Miron

Gardens take on personalities that reflect the tastes and characteristics of their gardeners.

The Beltrami County Master Gardeners 2010 Summer Garden Tour demonstrates the variety of gardening in the Bemidji area with six open gardens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 24.

Garden tourists can visit the six gardens and their gardeners in any order. Tickets cost $10 and are available at Tea and Gift Shoppe, 514 Beltrami Avenue N.W. or at The ticket/brochure includes a map and description of each of the six gardens on display. Four-foot-high signs with pink daisies will mark the homes participating in the tour. Master Gardeners will be on hand at each location to answer questions and identify plants.

Some of the gardens will have ornaments on display, such as the whimsical sculpture at Wally and Cathy Peck's gardens at 14259 Power Dam Road, about one mile east of the dam.

"We have lots of jokes around here," Cathy said.

The Pecks have a greenhouse that doubles as a poultry palace for their Ameraucana and Polish Chook chickens and little flock of ducks. The layer boxes are labeled with various styles of egg preparation from omelet to poached. They also have a high hoop tower to stretch the short northern Minnesota season. They bragged of eating their first tomato in mid-June.

"The trees are getting larger, so it's changing the nature of the beds," Cathy said of the garden designs.

"It's in a constant state of flux," Wally said.

"That makes it exciting," Cathy added.

The Pecks' gardens include many perennials, fruit trees, raised beds, water features - the pond was started by a digging dog - and themed sections like Fern Gully and the shade garden in green and white.

Butch Holden's gardens at 1104 Minnesota Ave. N.W. are half flower and half vegetables. This garden also features sculptures of Holden's creation.

Jeannette Halcrow works a cottage garden at 8210 White Oak St. N.E. Like every garden, she said it is a work in progress. Her garden also features tall trees and shady areas.

Jean Mathweg's gardens at 8828 Hazelwood Road N.E. near Lake Bemidji State Park features several mixed beds and borders and a vegetable garden with raised beds. The property also contains a five-acre reforestation project begun five years ago.

Diane Plath at 9824 Long Lake Drive N.E. features a shade garden set in a hillside terraced with rocks and annuals for color.

Mary Lee Ouditt cultures a lush lawn with a perennial cottage garden at 4795 Brinkman Drive N.E. The property features a pond and numerous ornamental shrubs.

Organizers remind those interested in the tour that some gardens might not be wheelchair accessible. Tourists should bring water and insect repellent and leave children younger than 12 at home.