The 28th annual Wachiska Audubon Society Habitat Tour is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Father’s Day (Sunday, June 18). For 28 years the most diverse and interesting wildlife habitat gardens in Lincoln have been open for the public to see.

Homeowners will be on hand to answer questions. Visitors can start at any location. Maps and brochures are available at each site. A donation of $7 is suggested and children under 12 are free.

The tour includes the following gardens:

Linda Hillegass and Jim McKee: 3425 Otoe St.

This pie-shaped lot has a large backyard for enjoying the birds. A very large red oak, half-dozen crabapple trees, a hackberry, and several yews provide cover for the birds. The yard also features many Viburnums, including Rusty Blackaw, Winterthur, Judd, Mariesil, Arrowwood, Trilobum, and Allegheny. They provide water year-round and have a number of birdfeeders which they keep throughout the year. All of this results in great numbers of birds. The yard also includes many flowers, mostly perennials.

Terri and Ted Lannan: 6832 Deerwood Drive

The backyard started out as a sterile water-eating bluegrass nightmare. The first year they dug up most of the sod, brought in three large pine trees and dug a pond with stream and waterfall. The grass areas have given way to perennials, ponds, rock gardens and wildlife habitat. There are three water features (with 100 feet of stream and a bog area), several large deciduous and pine trees, fruit trees, grapes on an arbor and many bushes planted for their berries. Bird feeders and several types of houses abound, with special plantings and feeders for hummingbirds.

Steven Dean and Jeremy Simonsen: 1220 Rose St.

Landscaping began with annuals, moving on to various perennials and shrubs. This garden features hostas and hydrangeas sitting on both sides of the gate, as do miniature crabapple trees. A waterfall sits near a Larch, Weeping Beach, and several Rose of Sharon on one side, while a Weeping Sweet Pea, Japanese Maple and Oak Leaf Hydrangeas are shaded by the Burr Oak tree. You will notice another hydrangea opposite a Weeping Mulberry and Birch tree as you enter the back yard. A Contorted Black Locust in the middle of the yard is surrounded by boxwoods. Wisteria climbs the pergola from one side with trumpet vine on the other. 

George Spicha: 1428 C St.

This perennial garden was designed by Judy Gerlich. It has matured with time and Mother Nature. It has a profusion of color and scent, spring to fall, and is a wonderful attraction for birds, bees and butterflies, featuring many varieties of daffodils, tulips, lilies, hosta, clematis and peonies, also many bushes including roses, spirea, and lilacs. This garden needs very little water and no mowing.

Diane Tharnish and Dan Holland: 7135 Englewood

Diane and Dan have a wide variety of garden plants, which provide a friendly habitat for birds and wildlife in their backyard. There is a terraced retaining wall and pondless waterfall with a patio. The plants consist of several spring blooming bulbs, azaleas, hydrangeas, hostas, and several other variets of plants. The bird visitors are bluejays, cardinals, wrens, finches, orioles, woodpeckers and owls.

Cindy and Frank Wimmer: 2031 Surfside Drive

With a lot of hard work and love they now have a haven for wildlife that comes to take advantage of the Capitol Beach Lake across the street. On a very large lot they have built a Koi pond with 10 Koi, a gazebo, a small bridge and quite a few other structures. They have packed the yard with many annuals and perennial plants and shrubs. There are also many antique finds in seating areas with bird baths, bird houses and many bird feeders.

Leroy and Julie Monroe: 1690 Pawnee St.

Leroy and Julie started gardening 5 years ago . They developed a love for tropical plants, especially banana plants. Every year they incorporate something new. They also like to make it animal and bird friendly.

Skylar Falter and Matt Pirog, RhizoCity Farms: 14th and Lake

RhizocityCity Farms is an urban gardening project dedicated to transforming underutilized urban spaces into bountiful gardens. Located on the corner of 14th and Lake street, the vacant lot turned urban garden is a sanctuary for vegetables, native plants, soil diversity, beneficial insects, and community engagement.

Stransky Park: 17th and Harrison Ave.

Stransky Park was conceived and designed by Leonard and Angeleen Stransky as part of a $1.5M donation to the Lincoln Parks Foundation. The park is nestled in the Irvingdale neighborhood and features a manmade mountain with a three-tier waterfall, a large gazebo, and a fenced play ground at the corner of 17th and Harrison Ave. It is the chosen space for many couples to hold their weddings, and is also home of the popular Stransky Park Concert Series, created by volunteers of the Irvingdale Neighborhood Association. The annual summertime event has been played by hundreds of local musicians, and is a tradition now being carried on by volunteers of the Lincoln community radio station KZUM Thursday evenings thru Aug. 3.


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