Home Garden Tour will give gardeners ideas, benefit Rotary Botanical Gardens

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Shelly Birkelo
Saturday, June 28, 2014

JANESVILLE—John and Karen Wood have boosted the curb appeal of their garden since moving into their 1928, two-story home 14 years ago.

Their well-cared-for yard at 1116 Columbus Circle is the result of refinement, updating and regular maintenance.

It has blossomed from a collection of perennials and a swing set in the backyard to a beautiful landscape with compelling textures and colors.

It is among the sources of gardening ideas in the Janesville's Home Garden Tour on Saturday, July 12.

The tour includes eight of the city's most beautiful and interesting gardens, including the Woods' home and Rotary Botanical Gardens.

Each has characteristics to inspire walk participants with new ideas for their own gardens.

Those enjoying the gardens can listen to performances by local musicians, ask homeowners gardening questions and meet other garden lovers.

Event proceeds benefit improvements and operations of Rotary Gardens.

The Woods said the process of remodeling their yard started when they removed the swing set, tore out the original lawn and put down new sod. They expanded lily and hosta plantings.

“We made the garden areas a bit larger so there is less grass. We do perennials supplemented with annuals for pops of color,” John said.

Daffodils and hundreds of tulips splash color in the spring, Karen said.

The exposed aggregate driveway with stamped brown concrete border draws visitors to the couple's intimate backyard oasis.

“We have one of the largest lots on the inner circle (of Columbus Circle)," John said. "That was part of the attraction. It doesn't take me long to mow the lawn.”

The Woods have tried to make their yard easy to maintain. They installed an in-ground sprinkling system and simple stepping stone paths that provide lawn transition and function for weeding.

“We loosen the soil around the plants and use Preen so we don't have to deal with a lot of weeds,” John said.

Limestone pieces create a cozy group seating.

A delicate carpet of tiny alyssum perfume the air and provide ground cover between the driveway, stones and grass. The soothing sound from the nearby three-tier fountain creates a soothing environment.

Foundation plantings, scaled from the tallest in the back to the shortest in front, soften the edges of the building's exterior and integrate the structure into the landscape.

“We tend to have more color in this area,” John said.

Featured in the dramatic color combinations are bee balm, cardinal red flowers, coneflowers, phlox and daisies to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, Karen said.

Lilac bushes and flowering trees anchor the backyard landscape. Birdbaths, and birdhouses provide accents that reflect the Woods' love of nature.

The lawn on the south side of the house was removed and landscaped with perennials, stepping stones and arborvitaes that define the lot line and provide privacy.

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