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Garden Tour Offers a Feast for the Eyes
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A tourgoer takes a picture of a birdhouse tree at Jane Sturdivant’s.
   
Sunday, July 24, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

“You’ve got to see the walking onion,” Helen Stone said as she ushered a visitor through the assorted gardens at Buttercup Farm.

A 3-foot onion plant sat in full sun, its long branches curly and twisted. They are called walking onions because when the tops get heavy, they pull the stalk over to the ground where the fallen topsets take root and grow into a new plant, essentially walking across the garden.

The blue-green leaves are round, hollow and edible and the bulbs grow at both ends—in the ground and in the air.

 
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A fountain at the Johnson home provided a focal point amidst a luscious backyard garden.
 

“They’re quite different,” said Lorna Hazelton, who with Kelsey Hazelton converted two acres along  Buttercup Road from a horse ranch into a farm for cut flowers.

The Hazeltons’ lovely gardens were one of five private yards in the Hailey area opened to the public on Saturday as part of the 27th annual Garden Tour benefiting the Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

 One could have easily spent a couple hours examining each and every foxglove and strolling the bridal paths in Jane Sturdivant’s garden on Aspen Lakes Drive. And a few people admitted to that very thing.

The expansive estate was a feast for the eyes, with a bronze frog and dragonfly sitting amidst water lilies, birdhouses towering over delphinium, statuary of rams and the Loch Ness Monster and luscious color everywhere.

 
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The lily pond at Jane Sturdivant’s provided a cool respite on a warm day.
 

Sharon Barnes and Katya Burmester used an apps on their phones to identify a vivid yellow dotted loosestrife and then wondered which fork to take when they came to a fork mounted on a tree in the woods. Those who strolled the bridal paths found a variety of rustic birdhouses sporting everything from a windmill to a lighthouse perched on a village hanging from limbs, tacked to trees and even tucked away amidst foliage.

“It’s amazing,” said Roberta Heinrich. “Jane is so artistic and has such a great eye—it’s her passion. I loved everything about it but I particularly loved the lily pond. I guess the deer like the lilies so we’re fortunate they left a few for us to see.”

Artist Kim Howard concurred. She sat on the lawn surrounded by watercolor portraits she’d done of markets, chickens and farmhouses in the south of France hanging from the trees shading her.

“Jane is very supportive because she loves art,” she said. “She commissioned me to paint notecards that she could send to people.”

 
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Janessa Gilbert’s “SheShed” is covered with vines.
 

Laura and Craig Johnson’s yard in the heart of Hailey was tiny by contrast. But the foliage and flowers were thoughtfully planted so as to show off the home’s antique wooden shutters, and the raised vegetable beds stretched to the sky with produce.

A large fountain and planting nook added to the impact.

“I like the uniqueness and all the sitting areas—and they did it all themselves,” said Barb Sargent. “You go in saying, ‘Nice…nice…then wow!’ ”

“It’s small but it has everything in it,” added Carolyn Wicklund. “Rhubarb, strawberries, zucchini…”

 
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Even the front yard of one of the homes at Buttercup Farm is covered with beds of plants.
 

“A nice blend of edibles and plants,” added Karen Morrison.

Anne Winton nudged a clump of decorative grasses set in a gravel walkway with her toe, then exclaimed to her friend, “They’ve buried these in pots in the ground!”

The focus in Ben and Ann Young’s yard a couple blocks down the street was on the trees that tower over the two-story white Victorian home built in 1888. Among them was a towering cutleaf birch, whose outreached arms could have easily held a treehouse for the couple’s two children.

“Maybe a hanging swing!” said Ben Young.

He looked around the spacious yard—a virtual playground bordered by a low-reaching Norwegian spruce and other trees.

“Having these old trees is a bonus—and something I had nothing to do with. I’d encourage people to plant trees for people 50 years from now,” he said.

Visitors to Janessa and Andy kGilbert’s nearby garden were enamored by her “SheShed” hidden under a jungle of cascading vines.

“After garden tour we’ll get together and have spritzers,” Janessa said. “And I just started playing Ma Jong so we’ll play Ma Jong there, as well.”

Lorna and Kelsey Hazelton took their 6-year-old granddaughter and daughter Madison on a tour of other gardens before returning to their own. The little girl was dragging her feet until she saw Jane Sturdivant’s Fairy Garden with tiny houses planted in amidst giant toadstools and hostas.

“Now she needs a Fairy Garden here,” said Lorna Hazelton.

The question, of course, will be where to put it: Amidst the beds of hollyhock and dahlia past the wire arches? In the beds underneath the barn? Besides the greenhouse way back there? Or in the beds in front of the house?

“The amazing thing is how often I’ve driven Buttercup Road and never knew this was here,” said Stone.  “And it will only get bigger and better.”

DID YOU KNOW?

Money raised from the Garden Tour benefits the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, which is open to the public daily from dawn until dusk. The garden features several different gardens illustrating the alpine, lava and other habitats in the Sun Valley area, as well as a greenhouse featuring a variety of tropical plants.

Membership in the Sawtooth Botanical Garden can be applied towards admission in other gardens across the country.

COMING UP:

DISCOVERY KIDS, a free program for children ages 2 to 5 on Wednesdays through Aug. 10.

WALK AND WINE, an evening of spirits, hors d’oeuvres and music, will be held Aug. 18.

GIMLETS IN THE GARDEN “SPICY EDITION” dinner and fundraiser will be held Sept. 1.

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