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Douglas County garden tour set for Sunday

The Knute Nelson Healing Garden provides an environment that promoted healing and relaxation.1 / 3
Local residents who lack their own garden space grow a variety of vegetables and flowers in the United Methodist Church Community Garden.2 / 3
Tomatoes, onions and peas are some of the plants growing in more than 40 raised beds at the United Methodist Church Community Garden.3 / 3

Six local gardens will open for peeks on Sunday, July 9 during the annual Tour of Gardens organized by the Douglas County Master Gardeners.

The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour participants visit the gardens in the order they wish, paying $5 at the first garden they visit. Children are admitted free. Pets are encouraged to remain home.

For more information or a tour brochure, call University of Minnesota Extension, Douglas County at (320) 762-3890 or stop at the Douglas County Service Center Building at 720 Fillmore Street in Alexandria.

Ron and Ann Branch

Berry Ridge Farm

1301 Firemans Lodge Rd SW

Alexandria

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Berry Ridge Farm. Ron, Ann and their sons sell vegetables, fruit and flowers directly to customers at their 11-acre farm and they are very active at the Alexandria Farmers Market. Ron and Ann built their first high tunnel greenhouse in 1992 and have added several more since then. High tunnels allow an early May start and also a longer fall season. Their crops include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, beets, strawberries, seven varieties of blueberries and more. Sons Carl and Eric financed their own 24 by 92 foot high tunnel through a Farm Service Agency Youth Loan program in 2006. It has generated enough income to finance their first year of college.

Kevin and Pat Biggar

8455 Co Rd 27 SW

Alexandria

Enjoy the variety of plants found in these country gardens; full of rustic, home-made charm. A meandering path leads through the shade garden of Japanese painted ferns, mayflowers, gas plants and more. Pat makes many of her garden elements including bird houses, stepping stones and mosaic bird baths. A cattle trough became an herb garden with basil, cilantro, chocolate mint and more. In the sun garden, Bethlehem Star, variegated iris, Asiatic and day lilies and clematis provide color, size and texture. Pat uses her garden cottage as a potting shed, crafting workshop, and place to store supplies and items she collects.

Perry Evans

3233 Vonderheide DR SW

Alexandria

Perry started gardening three years ago when he retired. The driveway and walkway are lined with striking pots of dahlias and large, dark red geraniums that he special orders. Golden Japanese Spikenard, hostas, day lilies, Bells of Ireland, vanilla marigolds and polka dot plants provide splashes of color and a variety of texture and size. Beyond are begonias, coral bells, hostas and 4-foot-tall Red Quin astilbe. His "cutting garden" continues around the side of the house. Perry creates bouquets filled with a variety of flowers and plants he grows, then shares them with others. Beyond the cutting garden are terraced steps bordered with beds of hosta, sedum and vinca. "Sem" spirea line the steps going to the lower yard and lakeshore. Scarlet runner beans climb up the stair railings to the upper deck. Watch for the Brugmansia (trumpet flower), voodoo lily and passion vines.

Bruce & Terri Kakac

8151 West Lake Union Rd SE

Alexandria

The serene, inviting patios and gardens surrounding their home have been 25 years in the making. A 25-year-old weeping white pine, magnolia bush and "Theresa Bonet" rose greet you on the left side of the driveway. Two years ago, Bruce added a water feature that winds its way around a new patio he created and down a waterfall nestled in a boulder wall on the south side of their home. Their gardens contain a wide variety of flowers, including baptista, canna, daisies, ferns, lungwort, anemones, three kinds of Goat's beard and lots more. Adding interest are garden sculptures, stepping stones, fountains, and unique decorations. Many stepping stones are family heirlooms made by Terri's grandfather. Terri says, "We live creatively."

Knute Nelson Healing Garden

1420 12th Ave E

Alexandria

The Healing Garden, created in 2007, is a peaceful area for residents and others to enjoy the outdoors in an environment that promotes healing and relaxation. The garden area includes wide wheelchair-accessible paths, flowers, trees and shrubs, and water features. Benches and tables around this beautiful garden allow residents to keep in touch with nature. A wrought iron fence encloses the garden for the residents' safety and security.

United Methodist Church Community Garden

2210 6th Ave E

Alexandria

The community garden consists of about 40 raised bed gardens with a variety of vegetables and flowers planted and tended by local residents who lack their own garden space.

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