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Hillside gardens will tempt strollers

Lynne Thornsjo prepares her garden for the tour, which takes place Sunday, rain or shine. (Bulletin photo by Toni Lambert)

Joyce and Don Piper and Lynne Thornsjo make hillside gardening look easy -- after the work is done.

Both gardens are part of this year's 13th annual South Washington County Garden Tour, which is scheduled rain or shine from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 28.

The gardens of all three, located near the Newport-Woodbury border, are mostly vertical.

"My husband didn't want to mow the hill," Joyce Piper said. "So, he suggested I plant it with flowers and hostas instead. We put in a sidewalk up the hill and the garden evolved around that.

"Gardening is a process," Piper said. "You start something, you work with the conditions you have and you learn as you go."

Piper has been working on her garden for 15 years, she said, with help from mentor, instructor and master gardener Lynne Thornsjo who lives up the gravel road from the Pipers.

Thornsjo, who moved to the Crackleberry Alcove neighborhood in 1985, said she took the master gardener classes to learn more about gardening and how to improve the landscaping of her home, which has steep hills in front and back.

In front, she tries to plant flowers that deer won't eat. In back, she's fenced off the plants that deer will eat.

Thornsjo said the beauty of flowers continues to draw her to gardening. Her dinner-plate size peonies are in bloom in colors ranging from white to fuchsia and deep purple. Her poppies should be blooming just in time for the garden tour and her hostas in back come in all sizes and colors.

"I'm almost obsessive about gardening," she mused.

If you go

What: The 13th annual South Washington Garden Tour is comprised of 10 gardens in Woodbury.

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 28

How much: Tickets are $10 if purchased in advance and $15 the day of the tour. Youth, 12 and younger, are free. Tickets can be purchased at city halls, Buell's Landscape Center, Whispering Gardens, Zywiec Landscape & Garden Center, Laurel's Floral, Sweet Pea Floral, The Bird House Too and Youth Service Bureau offices or at any garden. Each ticket includes directions to the gardens.

Purpose: Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Youth Service Bureau, which has offices in Cottage Grove and Woodbury.

Activities: Local artists and musicians will be displaying their work and entertaining visitors at many of the gardens throughout the day. Refreshments will be served at some sites and master gardeners will be available to answer questions at several gardens.

10 gardens on the '09 tour

All gardens that comprise this year's tour are located in Woodbury, including those of:

- Wayne and Valerie Heath, 2085 Lamplight Circle.

- Tom and Patti Nelson, 2087 Lamplight Circle. The Heaths and Nelsons share a rain garden.

- Kris and Tom Tott, 1684 Spinaker Drive. This garden is a nationally certified Monarch Way-station and Wildlife Federation Habitat Site.

- Kenn and Renie Herbert, 11479 Middleton Trail. Visitors will find a pond and waterfall in this garden.

- Phil and Ginny Kendall, 2992 Leyland View. The Kendalls have a European-style patio with raised bed walled gardens and fountains.

- Karen and Barry Johnson, 2963 Leyland Trail. The terraced rear yard descends to an oriental garden and pond.

- Steve Horan, 3674 Commonwealth Draw. Horan has a large collection of daylilies and ornamental grasses.

- Joyce and Don Piper, 6277 Crackleberry Alcove.

- Lynne Thornsjo, 6279 Crackleberry Alcove.

- Ralph Hogencamp and Sandy McDonald, 4705 Wild Canyon Drive. The garden surrounds two ponds, waterfalls and a stream.