Garden Tour Fundraiser
The Garden Tour is an annual fundraiser for the Springfield Museum. For more information, contact the Museum at (541) 726-2300 or send us a note.
A Guide to the Garden Tour
Patty & Bill Sage
736 C Street
The house was built in 1910 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The garden is only 20 years old. Although, it features a lilac tree planted in 1925. A previous owner imported Concord Grapes from the logging town of Wendling. There is a huge tulip tree and holly trees. Bill Sage is a glass blower and has decorated the garden with his “wonky” ones, that is, the glass bowls that aren’t perfectly flat on the bottom. He also has created colorful, fun mobiles and strewn them about the garden. One of his latest creations is a fountain, which his wife Patty calls “an architectural water feature.”
612 Sixth Street
Hallie Wells’ late husband, Gary Wells loved to garden, so for the last three years, Hallie and her gardener Cesar Arellano have planted and manicured and composted and the result is their own delightful corner of the intersection of 6th and E Streets. Wells’ garden features marjoram; Mexican Orange, and many plants moved from her mother-in-law’s garden in Boise, Idaho. There are trees which drop leaves and from which she makes her own compost. Along one side of her lawn is a very high and deep Bay Laurel hedge which makes a private outdoor room in the summer, where she can sit under a huge birch tree, gaze at the roses and smell the jasmine. The next two stops on the tour are also at the same corner of 6th & E Streets.
606 E Street
Her house was built in 1907. When she moved in, in 2004, the roses were all there. Today, they abound amid many clumps of colorful and fragrant lavendar. The garden is terraced, with a grass walkway in between beds for strolling and ease of gardening. The garden leads up to a generous porch, inviting the visitor to sit, relax and enjoy the view of the neighbors’ lovely gardens. While the front yard evokes thoughts of a melodic English garden, the back yard invites tranquility and meditation, underneath huge old maple and walnut trees. The large patio and deck are worth a view to see what one can do with all salvaged materials.
Lisa Wojcik and Jane Russell
556 Sixth St.
The third house on the corner of 6th and E streets is “The Mallory House,” circa 1905. Lisa Wojcik has planted the parking strips with maidenhead and sword ferns, Corsican mint interspersed between stones, rushes bought at a hardy plant sale, and many, many more. In the small back yard, she grows vegetables in raised beds. Next to this space is a garden shed created from recycled materials and decorated with a large clematis. Lisa makes decorative wreaths from the dried, woody clematis vine. Next to the shed is a small patio area which, although in close proximity to the neighbors, affords great privacy due to the abundance of growth of the shrubs, vines and trees.
752 F Street
Sylvia Hawley practices what she calls a modified permaculture method of gardening in front of her 1910 mill cottage, abutted by a 100 year-old barn in back. “The cottages were made for working folks,” said Hawley. Hawley says the idea behind permaculture is that the plants sustain each other. They feed off each other. She mixes up different types of plants together, instead of planting row after row of the same vegetable. “It’s an eco-system,” said Hawley. One delightful feature for neighbors is the strawberries Hawley has planted in the former parking strips for the very purpose of passers-by to eat and enjoy.
JoAnn and Kyla Miller
804 C Street
They bought the Valentine House, built in 1914, former home of Emma & Isaac Valentine. The Millers’ goal is “to create a tiny farm” in back, with the addition of chickens, among the herb gardens, raised beds of vegetables, berries, fruit trees, even a grape arbor of pinot noir grapes. They have a lovely brick patio area for entertaining and enjoying their large back yard.
Melinda and Jim Paz
870 C Street
The Smith Mountjoy house will once again be open to the public for viewing. This charming house filled with antiques gives one a sense of times past. There are whimsical touches, with the bottle tree in the back yard, the 60 foot long Virginia Creeper, one plant in total! The yard is loaded with trees, apples, pears, even a large palm tree. With any luck, Melinda’s pet squirrel may show up looking for a handout. Don’t miss the Umbrella Pine tree, very tall and sparse and not an everyday sight.
420 D Street
The Morrison House, built in 1910. “These were all working class homes,” said Moore. “They call it a Victorian.” Moore has gardened since she was young. A walk through the garden with Moore is an event filled with gardening advice. “Take anything people give you,” she said showing off some inherited pants. “Color is really important to me…creative vignettes of color that work together.” A pair of discarded andirons provide a formal entryway into her very deep beds, filled with stepping stones, seatless white wire chairs now supporting giant peonies. This is her “anniversary” garden. She and her husband buy each other new plants for the garden to celebrate their wedding anniversary each year.
Nancy Gronfeldt and Keah Taylor
630 E Street
The contrast witnessed at The McPherson House, circa 1910, is gigantic. Miniature conifers, such as Alberta Spruce, miniature cypress or Red Star Juniper sit at the feet of three extremely tall (five stories?) 100-year-old Douglas Firs, fronting Gonfeldt and Taylor’s yard. One of these giants appears to be supporting two smaller trees growing straight up out of its branches. Like all the historic houses on this tour, The McPherson House has a porch meant for sitting, relaxing and enjoying the ambience of the herbs in the window boxes, the hanging baskets, the magnolia trees. “I come home and sit on the porch and all my stress slips away,” said Gronfeldt.
Pat and Michael Downing
649 F Street
The Downings’ garden features interesting sculptures made with surgical instruments welded together. This is a marvelous opportunity to see an example of espalier, which is when an ornamental shrub or fruit tree has been trained to grow flat, as against a wall or fence. In this case, it is a 25-year-old apple tree. Also featured in the garden is a lovely pond with water plants.