Five stops featured on this year’s garden tour

MARQUETTE – Creating a pollinator garden on a pile of sand is no small accomplishment, and the result can be seen on this year’s Marquette Garden Tour.

The Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee will host the 23rd annual tour from 1 to 7 p.m. July 28, rain or shine.

The tour this year will feature four gardens in Chocolay Township and one in Marquette

One of those gardens is on Timber Lane in Harvey, cared for by Tina Hall.

The main story about this yard, Hall said, is that when she and her husband moved in five years ago, the only plants in the front yard were a bush and a tree.

First, the yard was contoured again, and gravel added.

Hall said: “We put the border in, and I kind of drew up a plan of kind of how I wanted things to look, although one of the big lessons in gardening is that you kind of have a plan and you start with that, and it just goes organically.”

Five years later, she can create new beds off the volunteers, or “babies,” of all the “moms and dads” she originally planted, she said.

The theme in Hall’s garden is pollinators. Already that theme is working, with bumblebees attracted to the huge mounds of catmint in her front yard.

She also pointed to the airy blooms of Jupiter’s beard.

“I grew all of this from seed,” Hall said, “and the butterflies love it.”

Hall has grown many types of Monarda, a type of mint.

That is a botanical experiment in itself.

“They don’t always behave, stay in their own village,” Hall said. “If you have a purple one here, and next year it hybridizes and is now a pink one instead of the purple. you’re never sure where it shows up.

Tall grasses, yarrow, Allium “Globemaster” and lamb’s ears are other plants that fill her garden.

The biggest challenge, Hall acknowledged, is what lies beneath.

“We are standing on a sand dune,” Hall said.

She overcame that challenge by bringing in compost, which has a bit of limestone mixed in, from Avalon Farm Alpacas in Skandia as a base, as well as manure from Heritage Hills Horseback Riding in Ishpeming.

“Once a garden’s established, you can kind of run off your own compost,” Hall said.

As with many people entrenched in the hobby, Hall’s garden keeps growing.

“I keep saying every year, ‘No more new beds,'” Hall said.

Her dislike of lawns plays a part in that.

“Maybe someday when I’m not putting in more beds and having flowers, I’ll care a little bit more about the lawn,” Hall said, “but pretty much, the lawn gets in the way of the flowers.

She also grows vegetables at her home.

“She’s got an amazing yard,” said Carol Fitzgerald, whose garden was a stop on a former tour.

Tickets are $10 per person, with children 12 and under admitted for free. Tickets are available for purchase prior to July 28 and at each site the day of the tour.

Advance tickets can be purchased at Forsberg’sA New Leaf in Marquette; Garden Bouquet & Design, Marquette; FlowerWorks, Marquette; Lutey’s, Marquette; Nagelkirk, Harvey; the Landmark Inn, Marquette; and All Seasons Floral and Gifts, Ishpeming

For more information, contact Sue Hefke at 249-5308.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.