Thursday, August 13, 2020
Sawtooth Garden Tour Boasts Fabulous Art Among Spectacular Flowers
Christine Warjone’s greenhouse boasts sitting tables among the plants.
Sunday, July 19, 2020


Two years ago, artist Christine Warjone wowed garden enthusiasts on the Sawtooth Botanical Garden’s annual garden tour with many garden delights wrapped around her Warm Springs home.

This year she’s back with a series of garden nooks wrapped around her new home in Aspen Hollow, which sits down the hill from the botanical garden.

Did this creative genius move just so she’d have a new canvas on which to work?!

The Warjones built raised gardens on part of their large patio that they knew they would never use as patio space.

Warjone’s new creative odyssey includes a unique Weeping Cherry Tree in a striking blue pot and special “rooms” that includes hubby Jim Warjone’s Hugelkulter, or mound of organic material for planting squash.

It includes a lovely pond built by garden guru Dolores Aparicio with a majestic bronze eagle in the center, scads of hydrangeas, Casablanca lilies, grapevines and apple trees. The Warjones even built a garden on top of part of their patio that they knew they wouldn’t use.

“We bought the greenhouse through Costco,” Warjone said, nodding to a quaint little greenhouse made in Belgium tucked away in the shade. “They set it up in a day and the family spent Christmas eve in there with heaters and candles.”

Garden lovers will be able to revel in this garden on Saturday, July 25, when the Sawtooth Botanical Garden hosts its 25th annual Garden Tour.

The flowers are spectacular, but wait until you see the patio at Ernie and Judy Getto’s home.

The socially distanced outdoor event will showcase private gardens in Golden Eagle, Gimlet and Aspen Hollow, ending up in the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, which is rife with colorful flowers right now.

The tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets—a commemorative 25th anniversary bandanna, which tour goers are encouraged to wear as a face mask—are $30 and $35 if purchased ahead of time. They will increase to $35 and $40 on Thursday, July 23.

Tickets are available at SBG at Highway 75 and Gimlet Road any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. today—Sunday, July 19.

The tour is a perfect one for biking, with a tunnel underneath Highway 75 connecting the two gardens in Golden Eagle to the others. People can park at the East Fork parking lot or at the garden and bike from there. Masks are required per the Blaine County mask ordinance and hand washing stations and hand sanitizer will be found at each stop along the tour.

Mark Statz created this artfully designed rebar fence in Lesley Andrus’ yard out of rebar used for a shopping center in Middleton.

The SBJ is also offering a Park & Petal Tour led by past SBG Board Chair Marty Lyon and his wife Mila and another led by Board member Bill Josey. The $100 tour includes their personalized expert commentary, as well as lunch from the KB’s food truck, which will be parked at the garden.

“We feel that six locations in all-outdoor and wide-open settings is ideal for following COVID health and safety guidelines,” said SBG Executive Director Jen Smith, noting that two medical professionals served on the steering committee. “We are thrilled to offer up an event that allows for social distance gathering while still socializing in gorgeous landscapes.”

One of the gardens is that of Lesley Andrus who thinks of her garden as a living art gallery.

Her Rod Kagan sculptures are reflected on one of the doors of her Spanish Mediterranean house. And a magnificent fountain sits outside the front door and a massive pergola shades the dining space where clematis and Virginia Creeper wind themselves around the columns and lattice.

Hakuro Nishiki willows line paths in Anita Weissberg’s yard.

“I like to improvise. I had extra stones so I built a short wall around the hot tub,” said Andrus. “I find plants that don’t work and I find plants that work better. It’s been a fun journey.”

A short walk away is Anita Weissberg’s garden. It was a “boring lawn” when she purchased it. She kept one large rectangular turf area as a soccer field and source of endless entertainment for her grandchildren. A handsome fenced vegetable garden full of raised beds boasting tomatoes and strawberries among gravel paths fends off unwanted diners like elk with its tall fence.

And then there’s the back yard where a path framed by Hukuro Nishiki willows leads to a pond where a kayak and canoe await. Every where are large flat boulders which serve as seats—so many that Weissberg calls her abode Casa de las Rocas. Lurking coyote sculptures are meant to scare the geese who used to leave unwanted droppings on Weissberg’s lawn.

“I used to have alligator heads in the lake pond to discourage them. The ducks were fearless—they would flip their heads,” said Weissberg. “Jan Lassiter was having trouble with geese at her Lane Ranch so I gave them to her.”

Judy and Ernie Getto’s lovely estate in Gimlet is reachable by crossing over a plank bridge boasting white hydrangeas planted in whiskey barrels. The expansive home with lovely barn doors is framed by ferns, barberry, rose and hydrangeas.

The yard dotes on wooded areas of maples, Swedish aspens and evergreens. And the sheltered brick patio has a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace for cool evenings and a state-of-the-art barbecue, all highlighted with by bugle weed with its striking purple flowers and more.

Carol Swig has filled a walled front courtyard filled with purple clematis, delphiniums, flowering trees,  bright orange-red Maltese cross and an herb garden boasting rosemary and other herbs.

At patio on the side of the house looks out to a Basque sheep wagon where Carol loves to lounge while watching her grandchildren play. Her backyard sports yet more multi-level concrete patios ringed by berns featuring a pollinators feast of gaillardia, Echinacea and more. A large dining table evokes the many Vintner dinners Swig has hosted.

“We try to get a variety, a diversity each year,” said Cherie Kessler, longtime board member of the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. “And this year’s tour incorporates everything from the use of huge boulders to elk-resistant planning.”

For more information, call 208-726-9358 or visit



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