Douglas County Master Gardeners: Join us this weekend for garden inspiration (Announcement)

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Note: The Lawrence Times is offering some space for area organizations and organizers to express their views, provide updates and attempt to reach other folks who might share their mission. This post is contributed content (i.e., not produced by the Times staff). See more in our Community Voices section, or see how to submit your own piece.

Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners invite you to join us for a weekend filled with garden inspiration including a Garden Tour, Native Plant Sale, and Garden Art Sale.

The Garden Tour will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 3, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 4. All the gardens are in the Lawrence area. Tickets are $15 per person. Purchase online at, or in person on tour days at the Douglas County Extension Demonstration Gardens, 2110 Harper St. in Lawrence.

The Native Plant Sale and Garden Art Sale will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — or until the plants and garden art are sold out — on Saturday, June 3 in the Open Pavilion at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

About the garden tour

There’s a wide variety of esthetic and philosophical approaches, but each garden is well adapted to its own very local circumstances as well as regional growing conditions.

Diane Oakes, co-chair of the tour committee, said the tour would offer something for everyone.

“A beginner can see basic approaches to a variety of settings,” she said. “Experienced gardeners love to look at other peoples’ gardens for ideas. And people with no interest in gardening can just spend an afternoon looking at lovely yards and flowers.”

The tour will start at the Douglas County Extension Demonstration Gardens, on the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Here, more than 10 themed garden beds highlight plant diversity and offer ideas about maximizing your landscape, no matter your circumstances.

Experienced volunteers will be on hand to answer questions on plants that support pollinators, deciduous and evergreen shrubs, bird gardens, daylilies, native grasses, plants for sun or shade or both, and more. The Demonstration Gardens are always free and open to the public, but tickets are required to visit the remaining six gardens.

The Garden Tour includes:
Contributed photo

The home of Lawrence’s first mayor, built in 1867, formerly a heavily shaded lot planted with shade-loving plants. When a huge walnut tree recently came down, it opened things up for sun-loving perennials and annuals, and the homeowners have taken advantage.

An oasis set within a 5-acre woodland and designed to bloom April through October. The owners make special efforts to attract pollinators and birds, especially hummingbirds. The grounds also include a water garden. The owners fenced out the deer, but they built a water feature outside the fence just for them.

A freeform “cottage garden” accented by more formal areas and artwork. Linger near meditation gardens, a pergola, and an inground pool surrounded by native grasses and hanging baskets of annual flowers. Look for metalwork spiders and a Kokopelli figure hiding in the tall grasses. Be prepared for a Zen moment or two.

An urban yard dotted with “mini-gardens,” each with its own distinct view. The gardener considers shape, color, contour and design, and encourages viewers to look in all directions, including up. This garden also contains a unique memorial.

A garden built using recycled secondhand materials and objects collected over years to transform an established yard into a Japanese/English garden. White lilacs accent the spaces, and swaths of liriope and daylilies pull it all together.

A central Lawrence yard planted to minimize water use and maintenance time. The mix includes flowers, vegetables, herbs and a collection of potted cacti and succulents. Peonies rescued from a nearby yard bloom faithfully after 70 years.

All the gardens will be in pristine condition, in part because of the efforts of Master Gardeners.

“Our volunteers work on prep teams for months with the owners,” Oakes said. “We do cleanup, plant new plants, sometimes assist with design —whatever they need to get their gardens ready for this tour.”

Native Plant Sale and Garden Art Sale

All native plants are locally grown and pesticide-free, and 29 new varieties will be offered this year. Prices are $5 each or three for $14.

Garden art items for sale include clay pot wind chimes, mosaics, painted gourds, bird houses, outdoor garden pillows and a wide variety of other items crafted by our creative Extension Master Gardeners.

— Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners are people who love to garden, learn about gardening and share what they learn with others. They are a community of gardeners who share a curiosity for learning, a passion for conservation, and a sense of obligation to enrich our community through outreach, education and beautification. They are volunteers trained in all aspects of horticulture, and their mission is to provide research-based gardening information to help Douglas County residents.

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