Tour offers gardener’s paradise
Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Susan Bryant and julia fritz email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org in Local News
Luscious greenery, dazzling day lilies, fragrant flowers and shrubs, peaceful waterfalls, koi ponds, birdbaths and birdhouses, decorative decorations and arbors awaited visitors attending the Parkland Garden Club’s 19th annual garden tour.
“Strolling through a Gardener’s Paradise” featured eight gardens, a creative demonstration, display of Japanese embroidery and silent auction.
Visitors touring the gardens were also treated to snacks and beverages.
The garden at the home of Christopher and Monica Baumer of Allentown began in 2009 and was completed in 2015.
Christopher, who owned a landscaping firm for 20 years, said when he first started to transform his yard, it was nothing but grass.
“Landscaping has been my passion, so I had to have a beautiful yard for me to enjoy,” he said. “The hardest thing for me was to come up with what I wanted in my yard.”
He said four seasons of color was important to him and unique plants that someone doesn’t see at every nursery.
“I wanted a variety of color,” he added. “I chose mondo grass, coral bells, phlox, lavender carex, bamboo nandina, rainbow red bud, 500 series day lilies, otto luyken cherry laurel, cone flowers, accorus, helleborus, and hosta popcorn.”
He said he brought in 200 tons of topsoil, 75 tons of boulders, 1,500 square feet of pavers for the patio, walkways and driveway and handmade Stone Manor Lighting for landscape lighting and the imported Japanese koi.
“In the spring of 2018, we will have over 1,200 tulips and daffodils,” Christopher said.
Ellie Laubner of Allentown also spoke with The Press about her garden during the garden tour.
She said she started building her garden, gazebo and decorative fences in 2002, adding the Koi pond in 2003 and the arbor in 2004.
“I started with a moon shaped garden and birdbath outside the kitchen window,” Laubner said. “I thought whoever had to do the dishes needed something nice to look at.
“From there I just extended the garden along the fences and when I put the arbor up it closed it all in,” she stated.
She said her garden includes roses, penstemon, corydalis, hydrangea, amsonia, Russian sage, valerian and butterfly bushes.
“I eliminated anything that didn’t make it through winter,” she stated. “I didn’t use anything that has a short bloom season.
“I didn’t choose things that go brown,” she added. “I chose things that are in my color scheme like pinks, blues, purples and a little bit of yellow.”
Laubner said she primarily purchases her plants, bushes and flowers from nurseries but has received some from family and friends.
“My grandson Paul (Laubner) began helping me three years ago when he was 5 years old collect bark, pine needles and cones for compositing,” she said. “He also helps me sift the compost and apply it to my garden.
“He likes gardening so much he started a vegetable garden with his mother Dawn at their home in Emmaus,” she said.
The garden of Jeanne and Bob Partel of Orefield began in 1991.
“When we moved here we were the only house in this subdivision,” Jeanne said. “Behind us were the sales office and four model homes. I knew eventually people would be moving in.”
She said there were some small trees on the berm between their property and the model homes.
“What I did was I went to the local store and bought end of season plants and flowering shrubs that would bloom at different times and planted them between the models and the trees on the berm to form a privacy screen of plants,” Jeanne stated.
She said what she tries to do with her garden is select plants that bloom in spring, summer, fall and winter so there is always something in bloom.
Jeanne said some of the trees and plants she chose for her garden include hawthorne, kousa dogwood and red bud trees, weigalid, bridal wreath, mohonica, lilacs, hostas, hardy hibiscus, blackberry lily, phlox, cone flowers and milkweed.
“I plant from smallest in front to the tallest in back,” Jeanne said. “I personally think it’s a work of art and provides me with much pleasure and a since of accomplishment.
Anne Zagarella’s garden in Slatington was alive and vibrant with more than one thousand day lily varieties on display.
“I have about 1,100 varieties,” Zagarella said.
Though there were beautiful bundles of multicolored flowers in the front yard, the real treat was in Zagarella’s backyard.
The bunches of day lilies were set behind a background of sprawling hills in the bright sun. Visitors of the tour came out early to admire and take photographs of the day lilies, labeled by Zagarella herself.
The work put into maintaining the flowers was immense.
“It takes a good 12 to 16 hours to deadhead,” Zagarella said.
Different hues and color combinations could be observed in the sprawling backyard.
Zagarella is also working toward the goal of producing spider-double day lilies through unnamed seedlings which have been hybridized by Zagarella herself.
Zagarella’s garden will be included in the 2019 American Hemerocallis Society Region 3 Summer Meeting garden tour. Her garden will host the seedling beds for that summer’s seedling competition.
Debra and Dennis Barr’s garden complimented their rustic and wooded residence in Allentown.
The perennial garden, framed by a picket fence and antique gate, was on display as visitors walked up the driveway.
Aside from their garden and beautiful 2-acre wooded property, the Barr’s also enjoy antique items that give their home character and a rustic feel.
Visitors of the garden club tour not only enjoyed the garden, but the rustic vibe of the Barrs’ residence. Debra gave details and information of how they gave their home that certain character.
Barr pointed out certain items that have been in her possession for awhile. Curious visitors asked how old her house was.
“[The house] was built in 1978,” Barr said.
The Barrs’ back patio housed large-leafed plants. Visitors followed a sign pointing into the large forest that provided a path with lit torches to guide.
Visitors took a relaxed stroll through the path which opened up to a “secret garden” tucked away in the corner of the property.
Antique items, plants and colorful flowers could be appreciated in the secret garden at the back of the property, shaded by trees.