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Tour of Gardens set for Sunday, July 8

A garden ball adds color and interest to one of the gardens at the Johnson home. (Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson)1 / 5
A bouquet of lilies greets visitors at the Wenner gardens. (Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson)2 / 5
In addition to many colorful flowers, the home of Wayne and Avis Johnson also includes many types of trees and shrubs. (Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson)3 / 5
A stone path is one of the features at the gardens of Bruce and Carol Wenner. (Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson)4 / 5
A decorative turtle is one of the features at the gardens of Bruce and Carol Wenner. (Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson)5 / 5

The annual Tour of Gardens is Sunday, July 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sponsored by the Douglas County Master Gardeners and University of Minnesota Extension, the event features six Douglas County gardens, which may be viewed in an open house format.

Tickets are $5 and are available at any tour location the day of the event, or at the Douglas County Extension office in advance. The gardens may be toured in any order. Hosts will be available at each site to guide you and answer questions.

Jim & Carol Fette

1474 E Lake Brophy Road NW, Alexandria

Carol has the original green thumb and it shows in her different and unusual plants. This cozy and welcoming yard will delight the eye with sweetheart and Rainier sweet cherry trees as well as dahlias, pink Annabelle, bittersweet vine and weeping caragana. Calla lilies that have been in Carol's family for 40 years also grow in abundance. The lily plants, of which she started with three, have now grown to more than 50 and will be in bloom during the tour. Another eye-catcher in the garden is the flapjack succulent.

Go 3 miles west on Co Rd 82 from 4-way stop signs (YMCA). Turn on East Lake Brophy Road.

Wally & Julia Drexler

120 Maple Street North, Alexandria

Perennials are the stars of this unique, very maintainable garden. Stepping stones throughout the garden allow the owner to walk and care for her plants. This colorful eye-catching garden will be an inspiration to those who can only garden on weekends.

Go 1/2 block north on Kenwood Drive from Wayne Johnson property. At intersection turn onto Maple. (Maple Street passes bottom half of Wayne Johnson's property.)

Wayne & Avis Johnson

108 Lake Street North, Alexandria

This three-acre property is home to an abundance of pizzazz and plants to warm a plant lover's heart. There are 240 shrubs, 150 trees, 310 daylilies and 90 hostas, as well as a magnolia tree that bloomed heavily this year because of the moderate winter temperatures. Other plants in the garden include pin oak, Japanese maple, European and American birch, pagoda golden dogwood, gold spiderwort, phallopia japonica, and three varieties of peonies. Along with plants, the garden also features a 3-tiered walled garden, water fountain and pond.

Turn north off 3rd Avenue onto Kenwood Street. Cross 2nd Avenue onto Kenwood Drive. It is the second brown house on the right.

Bruce & Carol Wenner

103 Carlos Avenue, Alexandria

With hostas galore, this really is a "wow" garden. There are many different shrubs, trees and other plants including cotton candy smoke bush, linden tree, 1st edition snow dance tree lilac, dwarf burning bush, and four varieties of bleeding hearts. The garden also displays unusual ways to use wooden stumps as garden art, and boulder and rock landscaping. Recently, the garden was featured on Prairie Yard and Garden.

Take Hwy 29 North. Carlos Avenue is a short street, west of the highway. Landmarks include the cornerstone buildings on west side of Hwy 29 and the Water Treatment Plant on east side of Hwy 29.

Warren Schmidt

2383 Highland Trail, Alexandria

With a dislike of weeding and of disease on his tomatoes, Warren's garden is a haven for freshly grown fruit, vegetables and green plants. He grows Big Boy tomatoes, which are watered with a unique underground system, Early Girl and a new type of seedless tomatoes, as well as red, yellow and black raspberries, three plum trees and six apple trees including Haralson, Harold Red and Zestar. The garden is also home to 10 feet tall red, yellow and orange cannas, lily of the valley, lemon snapdragons, baseball-size radishes and Williams Baffin climbing roses. Warren's real passion is his 24 tea hybrid roses.

From 4-way stop (YMCA) travel 1 mile west on Co Rd 82; turn onto Co Rd 90, take first road to the north (highland Trail). Stay on this street. House is a pale brown and yellow on the left.

Woodland School

1410 McKay Avenue, Alexandria

This one-of-a-kind garden was supported with a State Health Improvement Program grant, and created through partnerships between District 206 Food and Nutrition Services, Woodland students, summer compass children, a 4-H intern, United Way and master gardeners. The garden has 26 raised beds and from the garden, the participants raised more than 600 pounds of food last year that was served in the school cafeteria and donated to local organizations. This garden is truly a partnership of all ages.

There are two ways to reach Woodland. At the traffic light by the airport (Hwy 27 and 29 intersection) go east on 34th Ave. (it is also Co Rd 46.) Just stay the course, the school will be on the west side of the road. Or, take Hwy 27 East to the McKay Ave traffic light, turn south on Co Rd 46, travel about 2 miles.

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