The Four Seasons Garden Club’s “Secret Garden Walk” tour on Saturday (July 13) features gardens at seven private homes, plus an “Introduction to Chiwaukee Prairie,” presented by the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund.
The tour features “the diverse worlds these talented and generous homeowners share with us,” said Garden Club member Lynda Guy, who helps coordinate the event each year.
Guy added that club members “look for outstanding gardens” to feature on this popular tour each summer.
Organizers also try to pick tour stops that are located close to one another to make it easier for people taking part in the self-guided tour.
This year’s tour features:
Home of Dale Van Vlissingen, 10708 Lakeshore Drive in Pleasant Prairie. Her gardens are “inspired by Lake Michigan in front and the Chiwaukee Prairie to the back.”
Van Vlissingen’s gardens have been “evolving over the last 15 years,” she said, and “continue to be a labor of love and a work in progress.”
Her front yard opens to Lake Michigan across the street, with a white picket fence — interlaced with several varieties of clematis — providing structure. Her yard also features a flagstone patio, with a bubbling fountain, along with a wooden deck.
The Garden Club’s Guy calls this “a classic ‘cottage garden’ look. It’s just so darn pretty!”
Home of Pat and Jodie Cascio, 9827 Third Ave. in Pleasant Prairie. The couple attribute the “whimsical creativity” in their gardens to their “past experiences, family and dreamed-up imaginations.”
Their garden “began almost 10 years ago with a blank slate, an enthused gardener and a sod cutter.”
Today, that “blank slate” is home to “hundreds of varieties of plants, several garden beds and a variety of trees decorating our yard.”
As the gardens increase in size, the Cascios have gone vertical to capture more space, including tall, self-watering planter columns.
Home of Kris and Randy Rich, 9902 11th Ave. in Pleasant Prairie. “We bought our house 14 years ago from a nice couple who enjoyed gardening,” Kris Rich said. Rich believed “it would be an easy task taking on someone’s existing gardens” but discovered “how wrong I was.”
The Richs have spent the past 14 years “pulling, moving, sharing and composting plants,” with Kris Rich, adding that “every minute has been a labor of love.”
Now, their huge vegetable garden “feeds my family, friends and families of friends — and what is leftover I can and preserve,” Kris Rich said.
Home of Ruth and Tom Clark, 6861 Third Ave. in Kenosha. “In the more than 30 years that we have lived in this home, our garden has changed and evolved many times,” Ruth Clark said.
She calls their garden a series of “happy accidents,” with plants shared by neighbors and a former sandbox morphing into their granddaughter’s vegetable garden. Those “happy accidents” also apply to Tom Clark’s mosaic pieces, created using broken china. Look for his art pieces throughout the garden.
Home of Heather Carnevale, 1709 79th St. in Kenosha. Carnevale calls her garden “January dreams,” talking about dreaming of creating an English rose garden after moving into the home in January of 2011.
Since then, the garden has bloomed and now features more than 100 roses, with varieties including English, hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, shrubs and climbers.
“My other love is lilies,” Carnevale said, and – thanks to her collection — “the smell of the lilies wafts through the neighborhood each summer.”
Home of Liz and Paul Dutton, 1923 81st St. in Kenosha. “This is my second time on the garden tour,” Liz Dutton said, “and since then, I have doubled the size of my yard.”
Working on such a large garden, she explained, “is not work; it’s how I play. Gardening centers me. It’s a grounding, comforting necessity for me.”
She’s been “planting this property for 30-plus years, and I keep planting.” Her aim is to “build a yard that keeps blooming from March through November.” Her style of gardening, she added, is “beautiful imperfection.”
Home of Pat Haun and Belinda Grantham, 8323 43rd Ave. in Kenosha. When they bought their home, the backyard was so overgrown, a shed was completely hidden, and a thistle weed “was so established,” Belinda Grantham said, “it had to be chopped down with an ax to be removed.”
Their goal, she added, “is to have our front yard look inviting and our backyard to be relaxing.”
The tour is the garden club’s main fundraiser each year. Proceeds are used to support community efforts and scholarships.