The Kandiyohi County Horticulture Society's 13th annual free garden tour is set for 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Atwater area.
Jo and Roger Holm, KCHS members from Atwater, let the word out they were looking for gardens and quickly had enough volunteers.
Several had their gardens open during the 2005 tour, but that was six years ago and gardeners are always changing things.
Maps will be available on the day of the tour -- held rain or shine -- at Schmitty's in Atwater and at each of the gardens. You may want to take a water bottle, umbrella and lots of bug spray.
The gardeners have agreed to open their yards for the tour. Visitors are asked to respect that and visit only during the scheduled hours for this year's tour.
Following is a listing of the gardens on the 2011 tour, along with a description of the gardens:
South of Atwater
1. Gary and Marilyn Larson, 18751 75th Ave. S.E. They are one-half mile west of 195th St. S.E. which is County Road 2. You enter through a long driveway lined with shade trees in a park-like setting and over a culvert that controls the water between the marshes on each side. A very large flower garden has raised beds of vegetables scattered throughout, along with numerous scarecrows with white bags in their hands to deter the deer. The rose garden includes sedums, Karl Foster grasses and Russian sage. The entryway to the house is stamped concrete.
2. Virgil and Dawn Nelson, 7050 195th St. S.E. The garden has changed since the 2005 tour as the tree root rotted away and Dawn let the perennials planted there take over its space. The major change is a new rock garden and some new arbors along with yard ornaments that Virgil made. The beds are lined with "farm-grown" rocks, and horse-drawn farm implements as garden art. The blueberries are still alive and doing well behind the potting shed/greenhouse.
3. Richard and Lorna Thorp, 51998 260th St. S. Go south of Atwater to First Avenue East. This turns into 260th at the Meeker County Line. Go about 1½ miles and it is on the left. What first catches your eye as you drive up is the grain elevator filled with pink Wave petunias. There is a lovely pond with fish and a waterfall and lots of very unusual hardscapes, including a raised bed made out of glass blocks and a "blue bottle" bush.
North of Atwater
4. Rosie and Herman Witte, 8955 195th St. N.E. This garden is totally different from the one you may have visited in 2005. Rosie used rhubarb leaves for the forms to make a new waterfall. And she still has a lot of wooden garden art that she made herself.
5. Dorothy and Elden Pickle, 2950 County Road 4 N.E. The Pickles have a large pond with a waterfall surrounded by numerous plants. They have many beautiful and unusual gardens. This is a busy road so is best to park on the county road on the north edge of the property and walk in.
City of Atwater
6. Peg Sackett, 207 Montana Ave W. Peg has a large raised bed area, and lots of perennials lining the walkways.
7. Russ and Janet Johnson, corner of Minnesota and Third Street. This huge corner lot has the house on the east end surrounded by raised beds of perennials. Roses are their specialty. The west side of the lot includes numerous flowerbeds, and the city announcement sign. This house is on U.S. Highway 12 with parking on the side and back streets.
8. Here you get two gardens in one stop.
Dave and Jean Ahl, 514 N. Second St. The "Ahl this and more" market garden is a well-cared for garden. Come and see what tender loving care is given to the produce you purchase. A good "bird's eye view" of their garden can be seen from the Holm's back deck.
Roger and Jo Holm, 516 N. Second St. The pair of master gardeners still have the "Upside Down Tree" in the front yard. Added this summer was a "smoke bush" to the right of the driveway in a small raised bed surrounded by bricks from the Holm Brother's store in downtown Atwater that burned down this spring. The back yard features raised beds for growing vegetables, a white garden, hostas and flowers. They hope you just come, look and ask questions.