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St. Clair Shores

July 31, 2013

Flowers, leaves and ideas grow on the Garden Tour

By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer

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Karen Crouchman stands under an arbor, covered with sweet autumn clematis and honeysuckle, in the backyard of her home on Ridgeway.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — A lot can change in nine years — at least in the garden.

That’s how long it’s been since Karen Crouchman’s Ridgeway home was last featured as part of the St. Clair Shores Yardeners Garden Tour, which this year is set for Aug. 3.

“I put in a new, short, picket-type fence along the driveway,” she said. “I put in an arbor along the gate … a lot of new flower beds, a lot of new plants. I still have a pond, but I’ve changed the flowering around that,” she said.

The 45-year resident of the home said she works on her gardens every day. But with many of the perennials well-established, it only needs “a little bit here, a little bit there.”

“The more you have in your garden, the less weeds you get because there’s just no room for them,” she said.

There are more than just plants in Crouchman’s garden. Small faces peek out from rocks and trees, light glints from small mirrors blowing from tree branches in the breeze, and statuary of fairies, frogs, turtles and more hide in and around the flowers and leaves.

“There’s a lot of little stuff you have to really look for,” she said. “To me, I like an eclectic garden — it’s not a formal garden at all.

“I like it that way.”

The 20th annual St. Clair Shores Yardeners Garden Tour is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 3 at a cost of $5 per adult; children are free. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Selinsky-Green Farmhouse Museum behind the St. Clair Shores Public Library, and the gardens close at 3 p.m.

Eight gardens will be featured this year. They include a yard with themed gardens of Disney roses, a pink garden honoring breast cancer survivors and a raised quilt block flower bed; a garden designed by a Detroit Tigers fan with vignettes and handcrafted items throughout; a garden with several water features; and Jefferson Middle School, which has a vegetable garden built by a former student to grow produce for the community.

Joyce Janicki, a founding member of the Yardeners 20 years ago, said many people look forward to the annual tour because it’s one of the least expensive around.

“We like to try, as much as possible, to showcase eco-friendly practices and gardens because we do live right on the lake,” she said. “Everything we do in our gardens … is going to end up, eventually, in the lake, and so we try to showcase as many lake-friendly, eco-friendly practices as we possibly can.”

She said the garden tour is great for getting ideas for your own garden, as well, since most of the gardens featured are cultivated by the homeowners, not a landscaping company.

“We also encourage people to be on our garden tour who may not have totally finished one of their garden projects,” Janicki said. “It’s also fun for other gardeners to see what’s involved, maybe, when they want to add something new … to their yard.”

The event goes on, rain or shine, and usually attracts at least 300 people.

“For the past 20 years, we’ve had wonderful weather, so we’re hoping our luck holds out,” Janicki said.

For more information, look for the Yardeners of St. Clair Shores on Facebook or email scsyardeners@gmail.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Kristyne E. Demske at kdemske@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1041.