2011-09-01 / Front Page

Residents show off homes in garden showcase

BY CARRIE RACOSTA
810-452-2652  cracosta@mihomepaper.com


A wooded retreat encompasses the vista of this property on Yarmy Drive, owned by Phyllis and Jim Robinson. The Robinson’s are one of nine community members selected to be part of a one day tour of area homes in a special MSU Extension tour slated for next July. 
Photo by Carrie RaCosta A wooded retreat encompasses the vista of this property on Yarmy Drive, owned by Phyllis and Jim Robinson. The Robinson’s are one of nine community members selected to be part of a one day tour of area homes in a special MSU Extension tour slated for next July. Photo by Carrie RaCosta SWARTZ CREEK — Nine gardens have been previewed and selected to be exhibited in this coming year’s Genesee County Master Gardener Tour highlighting Swartz Creek residents. Some of them may be your own neighbors.

“All of the homeowners are very excited,” said committee Chairperson Kay McCullough.

Many have asked McCullough “if it would be all right to have an artist friend paint pictures during the garden tour," "have my grandson play the violin," or "have jazz music playing in the background."

McCullough is quite elated about the botanical jaunt through the local landscape and thinks it will certainly pique the interest of the community, as it gives an intimate encounter with neighbors yard spaces.

She added the home of Ericka Hendrix just this past week.

“I didn't have to think twice about adding her to the tour,” she said. “When I drove up and looked at the front of her house, I immediately thought, Oh yeah, she's in."

Sites two, three, and four are all neighbors on Jennie Lane. It is the street on which McCullough resides, and she and her neighbors share a collective love of landscaping.

“We are all working out in our yards at 7:30 every morning. When one of us opens our trunk with a load of plants the others tease that we need to go buy some more as if it is a competition. Our love for gardening has bonded us in a unique way,” she said.

Sharon and Mike Shumaker's abode on Jennie Lane was a transformation that started four years ago when the two of them got married. A few weeks ago they put in a waterfall in the back yard to add to the community visit and home ambiance.

Every year McCullough starts a new gardening project at her own home by the Shumaker’s. Her sister and her planted a raised bed garden in the back yard nine years ago. She is especially proud of her many perennials.

The residence of Phyllis and Jim Robinson on Yarmy was beautified from their first movein date. They removed all of the grass in the back yard and hauled in mulch.

According to Kay, “they created a pathway of beauty.”

Marilyn and Ron Johns on Ford have only lived in their featured home for a year. It is a quaint city lot with appealing accents, that adds to the variety the committee was seeking.

The Anderson home on Greenleaf Drive has a pool landscaped with foliage and surrounding ponds. Interestingly, the backyard is without grass and utilizes plants and other elements to evoke what McCullough deems as a look that is “just so relaxing.”

Paula and Jerry Look on Oakhill have a home that stops traffic. Paula’s artistic flair led to a passerby stopping to ask if they could take a photo to use for a Christmas card image.

Sue and Jerry Ellis on Lansing Road have an astounding 35 garden beds, each with its own theme. They also have a dry river bed feature. “There is something interesting everywhere you look,” said Kay.

The last site on the stop is the I-69 rest area between M-13 and Morrish Rd. It is designed and maintained by master gardener volunteers. “Travelers delight in stopping at this picturesque rest area,” said McCullough, who thinks residents might be just as taken with its intricate beauty.

McCullough wants everyone to mark their calendars early for July 21 from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. for a day trip across the city. Proceeds from this event help to sponsor all of the MSU Genesee County beautification projects such as the I-69 rest area. Gift certificates will go on sale at Doors Galore on Miller Rd. in Swartz Creek on Nov. 1.

Details: Call 810-610-0545.

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