Carol Biondo stands in front of a vertical garden constructed of PVC pipes.

Carol Biondo stands in front of a vertical garden constructed of PVC pipes.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Garden Tour showcases eco-friendly techniques, local yards

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 28, 2021

 Birdhouses are sprinkled throughout Biondo’s yard and garden on Lakeland Street.

Birdhouses are sprinkled throughout Biondo’s yard and garden on Lakeland Street.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Lavender grows abundantly in Biondo’s yard, attracting bees with its pollen and nectar.

Lavender grows abundantly in Biondo’s yard, attracting bees with its pollen and nectar.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Looking for ways to rediscover the beauty of your yard? Look for inspiration in the neighborhood during the annual Garden Tour, hosted by the St. Clair Shores Yardeners.

The St. Clair Shores Yardeners annual Garden Tour is returning from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 7. The annual event will showcase six gardens in the city, highlighting earth-friendly gardening techniques and ways to attract pollinators to local yards.

“It’s great that we can be doing it again,” said Laurel Fowler, of the St. Clair Shores Yardeners.

The 2020 event was transitioned to a virtual tour of some gardens on YouTube.

“We had some pictures and videos of a couple of the gardens that were going to be on last year’s tour,” she said.

This year’s tour includes a few gardens that were scheduled in 2020 and a few new gardens.

“Since we live by Lake St. Clair ... we do promote earth-friendly gardening,” Fowler said, with yards “that would make people aware of things they can do in their garden, about things they can do to keep the lake healthy.”

The gardens are scattered throughout the city, from Marter Road up to 14 Mile Road, she said, and all of the 2021 gardens promote pollinators.

“A lot of the gardens are done (in a way to) draw birds and butterflies into the area,” she said.

Carol Biondo’s home on Lakeland Street is a haven for those with wings.

“I have a lot of living walls which have roses on them for privacy and to attract the birds and butterflies and bees,” she said. “I have a lavender fence, which is for the bees, mostly,” as well as a living honeysuckle wall that attracts hummingbirds.

Biondo has been working on her garden for the past three years.

“My goal was to make it a retreat for myself,” she said. “I just love sitting out there and watching everything.”

Along with the living walls — made from wood charred using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique — Biondo has a vertical garden constructed from PVC pipe, arbors, and a garden gate. She uses garden nannies, which are terra cotta spikes attached to wine bottles that water the beds from under the ground as needed, as well as an underground PVC pipe watering system.

Birds enjoy making their homes in various bird houses throughout the yard, too.

Biondo works full-time, but she said she enjoys spending time in her yard on the weekends to keep it tidy.

“I go in there after work. I might just putz, pull a few weeds. Maybe once a week, I go out there, put in a couple hours keeping it tidy. I enjoy that, so it’s not work,” she said. “A lot of it takes care of itself now, so I can enjoy it.”

The self-guided Garden Tour costs $5 for those age 12 and older. Participants can pay and receive their map to the gardens at the Selinsky-Green Farmhouse Museum, located behind the St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 E. 11 Mile Road.

Fowler said the gardens are selected from suggestions sent to the Yardeners, homes they have seen driving around town and, sometimes, even by the proud homeowner.

The event is sponsored by Soulliere’s Garden and Landscape Center and Wild Birds Unlimited in Grosse Pointe Woods. There will also be vendors on the museum grounds offering gardening-related items, such as honey, lavender or wind chimes, for purchase.

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

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