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Garden on Wachiska tour

Some of the most diverse and interesting wildlife gardens in Lincoln have been opened for public tour.

The 30th annual Wachiska Audubon Society Garden Tour is set for Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of the most diverse and interesting wildlife gardens in Lincoln have been opened for public tour. Homeowners will be available to answer questions.

Visitors may start at any location. Maps are available at each site. A $7 donation is suggested, and children under age 12 are free.

Aldersgate Gardens - 8320 South St.

Aldersgate United Methodist Church began a major transformation of its 1.9 acres of green space in 2016. The vision for the Aldersgate Gardens is to benefit the environment and serve the community by providing habitat for wildlife, immersion in nature, and nature-based play for children. So far, the church has planted 78 trees, 209 shrubs, 193 perennials and 1,100 grass plugs.

Specialized projects include a pollinator garden, a 1,000-square-foot rain garden, a place for meditation and a “prairie walkway.” Aldersgate Gardens is an affiliated landscape steward site of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and a member of the Children & Nature Network.

Linda Helton and Larry Robinson - 2020 Pinedale Ave.

The focus of the yard is perennials, wild and native plants, grasses, sedges and hostas. The spring yard has tulips, daffodils, peonies, trillium and other spring wildflowers; the summer features hostas, roses and annuals with mums and asters popping a colorful display in the fall.

Two locust trees were planted in the 1980s and now provide dappled shade. A large pergola is featured in the backyard, and bird baths and feeders, bug hotels and a bat house are scattered throughout. The yard is visited by a large numbers of birds and other wildlife.

Greta Gregory - 924 Moraine Dr.

As you enter the garden, a large Japanese maple greets you - named "Keith" for Greta’s father, who was a terrific gardener and her inspiration to create a green space and landscape. A formal garden with rows of Green Velvet boxwoods became the garden foundation and formed a walkable parterre. Hicks and densiformis yews with varieties of hydrangeas support this space. Wisteria, peonies, iris, allium, foxtail and Casablanca lilies, along with heuchera and lady’s mantle, dominate the perennial beds. Bees and ladybugs share the garden with friendly birds that gather to bathe in the pond. It’s a private, peaceful space where wildlife feel safe ... even the foxes.

Judy Rogers - 3810 Petersburg Ct.

As a new homeowner in 1992, the vision of planting flower gardens turned into a scramble of installing proper drainage, creating berms/planting beds, tilling in compost and installing the lawn before the first snow. The following spring, favorite trees, shrubs and perennials set the landscape foundation.

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As the years passed, Judy's passion for gardening increased, and she joined the Lincoln Garden Club and Lincoln Rose Society. New friendships were formed, and the garden has blossomed. Today, 100 rosebushes are surrounded by beautiful trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and bulbs.

Mary Dawson-Keating and Paul Keating - 3425 S. 37th St.

The Keatings are blessed to live in an area with 70-year-old trees, including white pines and a large blue spruce that provide a serene setting for all their plantings. The landscape was recently “refreshed” to include a unique Chinese maple, a lime green smoke tree that turns purple-orange in the fall, a dogwood and a redbud tree. Many perennials, including several varieties of heuchera, hostas and salvia, are interspersed along a path that winds through the garden.

Beth and Brent Schott - 2925 O’Reilly St.

This gardening adventure began seven years ago and is one of ambition - one ordinary woman with an addiction to plants, boundless amounts of energy, and a willing and handy husband. Her curiosity and love of variety make it a garden in perpetual change. Rules and guidelines do not apply - indoor plants, tropicals. Space must be found weekly for newfound varieties. A chandelier has been converted to solar and lights the way to Buddha. A wind spinner hangs from a tree, and bird baths and cages are re-imagined as planters. Ground cover is trimmed around stepping stones with scissors under the light of the moon. Mother Nature meets Meticulous Ambition. Welcome to Beth’s Garden.

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L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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