Garden tour offers plenty of surprises

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Vernon - posted Wed., Jul. 13, 2011
A variety of day lillies with a central gazebo create a colorful back yard garden. Photos by Annie Gentile.
A variety of day lillies with a central gazebo create a colorful back yard garden. Photos by Annie Gentile.

Dramatic garden art pieces, whimsy, and lots of color were on display on Saturday, July 9, during the bi-annual Vernon Garden Club “Garden Reflections” Tour.

The tranquil backyard retreat of Drs. Ellen Marmer and Harold Shapiro featured a one-of-a-kind, hand-carved native American totem pole that added a splash of color to its shady surroundings. Low-maintenance shrubs and ferns and a woodchip base created a cool and relaxing feel, and must be just what the doctor ordered after a long day at work.

A few other well-placed pieces of garden art made their home amidst the greenery, including a laughing Buddha and a fairy nymph, and, as a result of several feeders and a bath, the garden was alive with bird song.

“Everything pink follows me home,” said Beverly Marciano of her colorful garden on Huntington Drive. From the first step into her back yard, huge day lilies in bright, exotic colors and a central gazebo grabbed visitors’ attention and did not let go.

Marciano said she first started on her gardens about 23 years ago when she visited one of her sons in Ohio and was taken by his small perennial garden.

“That’s what started me,” she said, adding that she first began working only in one small section of the yard, but before she knew it, her passion simply took over.

Besides the abundance of day lilies, Marciano has filled her garden with an assortment of hostas and other perennial plants, as well as potted annuals to add color. Fairies, their tiny fairy houses, and colorful ceramic toadstools are nestled in the greenery along a winding walkway, adding a slice of whimsy to her garden. Additionally, a dramatic and colorful modern art sculpture takes center stage in one section of the yard.

Marciano’s garden has been featured several times in the National Conservancy of America Garden Tour, and she will be hosting a tour this year for the Hardy Plants Society of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Today, she estimates that she spends about four to six hours a day, six days a week tending her plants. “It keeps me outside and it keeps me active,” she said. “It’s a labor of love.”

The Claire Road home of Gayle and George Carroll incorporated a lovely water feature tucked into a corner area that allowed for ample recreational space, while still creating a peaceful, relaxing setting. The Carrolls utilized low-maintenance self-watering window boxes and planters that relieve them of unwanted chores, so they can spend more time relaxing and enjoying their backyard. A mix of striking red and white annuals against the blue of their home and outbuildings rounded out a patriotic-themed backyard perfect for any Fourth of July picnic.

The successful tour featured eight gardens, each a reflection of their creators’ unique tastes and styles. They all provided visitors with an array of gardening ideas that could be built upon in their own private settings.

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