Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Garden Tour Features Gems of Old Hailey
An old plank shed adorned with skulls, rusty tools and even a ”Gieselmann” ski run sign is the centerpiece of Rob Gieselmann’s yard, which sports bombus-loving lavender plants and the standout Rocky Mountain Bristlecone pine.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021


Elizabeth Jeffrey and Rob Lonning weren’t phased by the rocky slope that plunged down to their Hailey home.

They went to work creating a non-irrigated lot that embodied the goals of a 5B Resilience Gardens, improving the health of the soil, filling it with Indian blanket flowers, red poppies and plants that attract pollinators and planting potatoes, squash, heirloom tomatoes, fruit trees and other foodstuffs.

It’s a non-irrigated yard, save for the drip irrigation they treat their vegetable beds to and the 25-gallon bags of water they wrap around fruit trees.

The kangaroo paw found in the Donovan garden is an Australian flower named for its paw-like claws.

This yard, colored by sunflowers and other plants donated by friends and neighbors, is one of seven gardens that will be showcased in the 26th annual Garden Tour presented by the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. The tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 2p.m. Saturday, July 24.

Garden experts, artists and musicians will be stationed at the gardens on the day of the tour.

This year’s tour sits in the heart of Hailey. It features big gardens and little ones--many with water features and nearly all with shade—a bonus in this long, hot summer.

“Some are old gardens and some are new. It’s a thrill to be in Hailey to see the creativity people have exercised in creating these unique spaces,” said Garden Tour Chair Cherie Kessler.

A handful of the gardens on this tour feature interesting sheds.

Easily the largest garden on the tour is the one fastidiously cultivated by Helen Stone and Ben Schepps on the lawn that wraps around their 1885 house--one of the oldest homes in Hailey.

Stone and Schepps have had it for just over 40 years of its 136 years. But they’ve spent that time turning it into a fantastical property filled with glass balls and birdhouses hanging from fruit trees, fountains and ponds that serve as Mecca for visiting birds, astounding displays of daylilies and little surprises, such as plants tucked away in a hollowed-out tree.

Even a fire hydrant that they rescued from the alleyway when the city was changing out its system, has become one focal point among many.

Maryellen Donovan’s yard on the other hand, is tinier, having been taken down to bare ground by Sawtooth Botanical Garden board member Dean Hernandez who, she said, breathed new life into her yard.

The Cowden Garden boasts bold colorful “horticultural eye candy” such as this dahlia.

Today the yard framed by a white slat fence features playful window boxes, fountains, hanging flower baskets and beckoning patio chairs. One of the more unusual plants on her property is kangaroo paw, an exotic bird-loving flower endemic to Western Australia. But her personal favorite element is a birdhouse given to her late husband, who was killed in the Twin Towers on 9-11.

Ketchum resident Lisa Adam said she loves the idea of touring Hailey gardens because the elevation and temperature difference means that some of them are sporting blooms that haven’t started yet in Ketchum.

”And I love seeing these older homes with gardens that people do themselves,” she added.


Helen Stone and Ben Schepps have hung whimsical birdhouses from one tree and a collection of old bird cages from another.

The Garden Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 24, in old Hailey. Tickets are $35 for members of the Sawtooth Botanical Garden and $40 for non-members, with the money going to provide for the upkeep of the public Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

Homes are within walking distance of one another. To get started, go to any one of these homes:

Rob Gieselmann, 211 N. Second Avenue; Kay Van Hees, 117 E. Carbonate St.; Ann and Robert Cowden, 415 E. Carbonate St.; Mary Ellen Donovan, 311 E. Bullion St.; Kristine and Jim Curran, 205 N. Third Ave.; Elizabeth Jeffrey and Rob Lonning, 201 N. Third Ave.; Helen Stone and Ben Schepps, 314 N. First Ave.


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