Garden walk scheduled for Saturday

Event to showcase 12 gardens throughout McHenry County

A monochromatic container welcomes guests to this home.
A monochromatic container welcomes guests to this home.

The McHenry County Garden Walk will take place Saturday.

The self-guided tour, hosted by McHenry County College and the McHenry County Master Gardeners, will feature 12 gardens that will delight and ignite new ideas.

Edyta Greczek led visitors through her McHenry garden in the afternoon sunlight last week. The annuals around her front door glowed in the slanting late-day light.

“This year has been a little challenging for plants in the garden,” she said, pointing out some perennials that were not yet in bloom. “With the cold winter, spring rain and then the heat, some plants were not very happy.”

Greczek’s garden visitors nodded in sympathy, but few could see any evidence of adversity. In fact, her half-acre garden, which abuts a retention pond, looked lush, colorful and tidy.

Dale and Ellen Morton of Bull Valley also have worked exceptionally hard this summer to get their country garden into “tour” shape – and it shows. The couple even invited photography student Jackson Emmons to come over and chronicle the vibrant blossoms. It was obviously ready for its closeup.

Similarly, Karen Liston of McHenry can’t wait until the McHenry County Garden Walk on Saturday to show visitors her labor of love. “We started from scratch. We built our home on a cornfield, and planted every tree, bush and flower,” Liston said.

These three gardens, as well as eight other home gardens in the McHenry and Wonder Lake areas, will be featured as part of the McHenry County College and the University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners’ annual Garden Walk.

The event, running from 9 a.m. to
4 p.m. as a self-guided tour, promises something for everyone.

This year, 12 gardens will be on display: the Master-Gardener-tended demonstration garden at MCC, 8900 U.S. Route 14, Crystal Lake, off Parking Lot C, and 11 homeowner-tended gardens. The tour starts at the MCC demonstration garden and meanders through McHenry, Bull Valley and Wonder Lake.

As is McHenry County, the 12 gardens are diverse, ranging from farm-style country spaces to small city lots. One property is a country gentleman’s farm. Another space offers English-style borders and a stream. A third features a polished landscape featuring a swimming pool. However, all of these gardens are unique, and they give hints of the owners’ personalities.

As in years past, the U of I Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners and MCC are working together to present this educational event to the community. This is the Garden Walk’s second decade.

At each residential garden, hosts have labeled their plants and will be on hand to answer questions and share their secrets to success. In addition, Extension Master Gardeners will answer gardening questions, as well as offer educational materials.

Tickets are required to enter each garden. Presenting a ticket at each garden also enters visitors’ names into a door prize raffle. Buy your tickets on the day of the walk starting at 9 a.m. at the Extension Master Gardeners’ demonstration garden at MCC for $17.

All tickets are to be either bought or picked up the day of the event at the demonstration garden, just off parking lot C.

The walk will be held rain or shine. No pets are allowed.

For information, visit mchenry.edu/gardenwalk, call 815-479-7570 or email conferencecenter@mchenry.edu.

The University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners is a group of 128 volunteers sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension. Extension Master Gardeners complete rigorous training in horticulture and botany and volunteer a minimum of 30 hours a year. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please call 815-338-3737.

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