Garden tour reveals floral treasures in FD

The flowers and other foliage have the easy part.

They just have to grow and then bloom.

For the members of the Fort Dodge Federated Garden Club who opened their handiwork to the public Saturday during the annual tour of gardens, it’s a mix of perspiration, inspiration, conservation, tillage and hard work. Plus a bit of fertilizer.

Jerry McMahon, of Fort Dodge, who was taking the tour, said he has a big garden at home.

“I like to get new ideas and take pictures,” he said.

Some of those ideas, he takes back home and incorporates into his own landscape; that included flagstone pavers one year.

“I was gone the next day to get some,” he said.

Will he ever open his own creation to the public?

“I always feel I’m not ready,” he said.

Marilyn McCubbin, of Fort Dodge, was also touring the gardens and found inspiration.

“I take a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” she said.

While anyone who cares to drive by a home can see what’s in the front yard, only by the tour or invitation can a visitor see the backyard.

Club members Sharon and Cliff Perkins were helping visitors to Tom and Sue Knapp’s garden discover that.

“It’s the backyard that’s a surprise,” he said. “The gems are in the back.”

They garden together and recommend it for a couple.

“It gets you active and in tune with nature,” she said.

Each garden on the tour is as individual as those who created it.

Mike and Barb Bianchi have several large pieces of concrete statuary in theirs. Although apparently, they have reached a limit on bringing any more of the life-sized creations home from Burton, Kan., where they are made.

“I’m not allowed to take the pickup down there,” she joked.

She said it took six adults to unload them and place them and that no, she won’t be getting anymore.

Erland Carlson, of Fort Dodge, said he also enjoyed the tour and the inspiration.

“You pick up ideas,” he said.

He also enjoyed the variety and getting to see all sections of the community.

Jerry and Linda Beck’s garden was the starting point for the tour. They were showing it to the public for the first time.

They also enjoy gardening as a couple.

“We both enjoy the work,” he said. “It’s a cooperative project.”

In addition to sharing, they’ve also found inspiration in the work of others. They’ve been introduced to new species of bushes, grasses and ground covers.

Even one bush that keeps a smile on their face during the entire year.

“We have a Shamrock Kelly,” she said. “It give us something green all year.”

While many gardeners have seen late blooms and other delays from the late, wet, cool spring, the Becks have taken it in stride.

“It saves on the water bill,” he said.