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Garden tour filled with surprises

Paula Runze and woodcarver Dean Williams stand by the Hawaiian Tiki god he made for the Runze garden. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Jan Purcell puts the finishing touches on beds at the back of her home. (Bulletin photo by Toni Lambert)2 / 2

Visitors to the 2010 South Washington County Garden Tour -- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 27 -- will see 10 special gardens in Cottage Grove. At many of the gardens, artists will display their work, musicians will perform and refreshments will be served.

At each site, visitors will have an opportunity to quiz gardeners on design, planting and maintenance techniques.

Gardeners with bad backs will want to talk with Jan Purcell about developing a new garden without using a shovel. She calls it the lasagna method.

Purcell, who lives at 9499 79th St. in Cottage Grove, has been a master gardener since 2005. "I like gardening because it's relaxing and it's a connection with nature," she said during a recent walk around her yard.

She prefers rain gardens and aquatic ecology. Her yard has two rain gardens, not at the curb -- the traditional location -- but in her front yard where they catch water coming off the roof in two locations.

Purcell, who has interspersed perennials with vegetables, fruits and herbs, has a back yard that's split in half by a pond. The slopes running down to the pond are covered with thick grass and a series of oval gardens. On one side, she has created a steppingstone labyrinth.

Northwoods style

with exotic touch

A totally different style garden can be found at the home of Paula and Paul Runze, 11931 Lofton Ave. S. In the woods surrounding the home, paths meander past a statue of Pan playing his flute and around a Koi fishpond. Dean Williams of DSW Log Designs in Cottage Grove designed and carved a replica of a Hawaiian Tiki god especially for the Runze garden.  

If you go

All proceeds from the tour will go to the Youth Service Bureau, which has an office in Cottage Grove. Tickets for the tour are $10 if purchased in advance. On tour day they cost $15 and can be purchased at any garden. A description of each garden is printed in the ticket brochure, which also includes a map and directions. Gardens are located at the homes of:

- Tom and Jean Nowicki, 8418 Greenway Ave. S.;

- James Ross, 8331 66th St. S.;

- Wayne and Sue Gale, 7609 74th St. S.;

- Myra and Roger Peterson, 8284 Indian Blvd. S.;

- Jeannie and Jerry McCleary, 8169 76th St. S.

- Jim and Joy Abts, 8296 Jeffery Ave. S.;

- Jan and Ron Purcell, 9499 79th St. S.;

- Joe and Sue McDowell, 8348 Kimbro Ave. S.;

- Leslie and Jay Schmitt, 1160 Kingsborough Trail S.; and   

- Paula and Paul Runze, 11931 Lofton Ave. S., Hastings.

The ticket also lists bonus sites at raingardens in St. Paul Park, the South County Service Center and All Saints Lutheran Church, and the labyrinth garden at Zion Lutheran Church.

Advance tickets can be purchased at Youth Service Bureau offices in Cottage Grove and Woodbury/Oakdale. They can also be purchased at city halls in Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park and Woodbury; Buell's Landscape Center, Sweet Pea's Floral, Whispering Gardens and Zywiec's Landscape and Garden Center.