The Garden Club invites you to visit six beautiful Port Washington gardens
The Port Washington Garden Club’s annual Garden Walk will be Saturday, July 9.
Six gardens, featuring lush floral displays, artistic pieces, vegetables, water features and even a railroad, plus the Port Washington-Saukville School District’s summer-school garden at the Harbor Campus, will be open for tours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Admission is $5. Tickets may be purchased at any tour garden the day of the walk or at the Port Washington Pebble House Visitor’s Center, 126 E. Grand Ave., between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The proceeds will be used for community projects and horticultural scholarships.
More information and a map to the gardens are at www.portgardenclub.org.
Visit these gardens on the walk.
Ellen and Steve Broyles
751 N. Milwaukee St.
This is the third time the couple has invited visitors to their gardens, but what a difference 20 years make.
The entire back yard has been turned into three large and distinct garden rooms separated by shrubs, fences and decorative gates that Steve made, incorporating ironwork Ellen found into the designs.
Ellen not only loves gardening, but also searching for old items with character at the city yard, rummage sales and antique shops. Most of the items end up in their gardens. Spray paint transformed some things, but others are cherished for their flaws.
The back yard features a brick patio with a vine-covered pergola and garden seat.
The Schowalter family (from left) son Jake, 17, parents Mark and Cathy and daughter Mikayla, 13, enjoy the waterfalls and pond filled with lilies, fish and frogs
Photos by Sam Arendt
A cafe table is a favorite spot for the couple to sit and sip coffee while watching birds flitting to and from feeders, flowers and bushes and splashing in the fountains.
Steve built a half dozen small fountains using old bird baths, urns and bowls.
Water trickles from brass faucets of a Victorian porcelain sink filled with colored glass. The water flow is adjusted by turning the hot and cold faucets.
Step through a gate and there is a calming Japanese garden featuring a circular planting area with a large Japanese green maple. Smaller red and green Japanese maples are in side gardens along with hostas and plants.
The walkways are made of reclaimed brick and concrete slabs. Many came from the city yard.
“I’ve never met a brick I didn’t like,” said Ellen, who was delighted to learn from Ozaukee Press photographer Sam Arendt that the concrete slabs with embedded rocks and colored glass she found at the city yard were made by his grandfather Frank Niederkorn, who lived on Franklin Street.
“I love learning about the treasures I find and sharing the stories,” Ellen said.
The far garden has a potting shed and a large raised vegetable garden, rose beds, blue iris that date back to Ellen’s great-grandmother, as well as other floral displays.
A vegetable garden, which was planted by their next-door neighbor Marge Henkle, is enclosed by a wrought-iron fence.
“We share the work and the produce,” Ellen said. “Our gardens blend together. You can’t tell where one begins and the others ends, and we don’t care.”
Beyond the fence and gate that leads to the alley is the “garden of last chance.”
“If we or Marge have a plant that’s not doing well, we take it to the garden, talk to it sternly and say, ‘This your last chance. Thrive or perish.’ They all seem to thrive,” Ellen said.
Sue and Steve Orvis
761 N. Milwaukee St.
1. Ellen and Steve Broyles in Japanese garden. 2. Jim Bartelt in his railroad garden. 3. Alyssa and Chase Ortis checked vegetables they helped plant in the front border garden. 4. Bev and David Bartelt like the unusual trunk of a tree in their shade garden. 5. Deb Anderson with garden art. Photo by Sam ArendtThe Orvises, who both grew up in Port Washington, always loved the house at the corner of Milwaukee and Walters Street and feel privileged to raise their family there.
Being on a corner lot with an alley behind, the couple wanted an inviting entrance with public boundaries.
That’s beautifully done with a wrought-iron fence and four-foot-wide border gardens on Milwaukee Street. The fence continues along Walters Street to the back yard. There a privacy fence extends the length of the lot with blackberry and lilac bushes in raised beds on the street side.
An avid vegetable and flower gardener, Sue taught her children Alyssa, 11, and Chase, 8, to garden.
Not wanting to take away much play, she and the children planted vegetables among flowers in border gardens in the back yard and on the street side of the wrought-iron fence in front.
Peas climb the iron railings and tomato plants grow on trellis stakes.
Soon beets, carrots, lettuce, leeks, peas, beans, brussels sprouts and cabbage will be ready to harvest. Even pumpkin vines are growing there.
More vegetables are tucked into flower beds that border that back-yard fences.
Alyssa and her brother pick strawberries from the berry patch she planted near the back patio. There are also blackberry and raspberry bushes on the deep lot. Fruit that isn’t eaten fresh will be made into jam.
Steve built a two-level pond with a waterfall that is home to several goldfish and frogs that provide a chorus at night.
Catherine and Mark Schowalter
206 W. Walters St.
Water lilies bloom in the large pond that the Schowalters installed in 2005 when a black walnut tree had to be taken down.
The tree was struck by lightning and a branch damaged a corner of the house.
Mark preferred grass, but acquiesced to Cathy, who wanted a pond.
“I thought it was going to be smaller after discussing it with the contractor,” Mark said. “But Cathy and the contractor (Doug Hurth) talked and it got bigger.”
He admits it is spectacular with a multilevel waterfall. Large koi and goldfish freely swim under a footbridge and frogs sun themselves on lily pads and rocks.
“This is my favorite place,” Cathy said. “It’s so peaceful to sit here and watch all the wildlife that comes to the pond. Birds love splashing in it.
“I love working in my garden. I could stay out here all day.”
Mikayla, 13, likes to garden almost as much as her mother. She turned the sandbox under an old play structure into a shade garden, filling it with begonias and hostas.
The girl also painted bowling balls to look like bumblebees and ladybugs (her nickname is Ladybug). Copper feelers were glued into the finger holes. The bee’s wings are made from copper screening.
Perennials provide a floral display from spring to summer around the pond and along the lot lines.
To keep track of her plants, Cathy keeps tags that come with the plants in a binder, noting the date she planted them and their progress.
Bev, David and Jim Bartelt
313 S. Spring St.
Many people drive past the Bartelts’ green house each day, but most would be surprised if they stepped into the back yard.
Jim, a member of the Metro Model Railroad Club in Port Washington, has developed a 75-foot-long railroad garden for G-gauge trains at his parents’ home.
He has several steam engines and 15 freight cars.
Two sets of tracks crisscross each other, wind through villages and farmlands, over ponds with fish, across a trestle bridge his father David built, past an Amish farm his father built and through a basement window onto a shelf for the night.
All the street lights and buildings — except the Amish ones — are solar powered, providing a soft glow through the night.
Bev, who turned what had been an overgrown lot into a beautiful yard with lush flowers and bushes, landscaped the railroad garden.
She also put curtains in all the windows, except the Amish house, which has green shades.
Jim’s extensive train collection includes HO-scale model trains.
The house belonged to David’s parents, who moved into the house next door when he married Bev.
The couple used to have an extensive vegetable garden, canning and freezing the produce, but now Bev grows mostly herbs, tomatoes and a few other vegetables.
Deb and Dennis Anderson
205 S. High St.
A highlight of the school year for Deb, a second-grade teacher at Port’s Dunwiddie Elementary School, is the garden party she holds for her students at the end of the year.
She walks with them to her home, a few blocks from the school, where they eat ice cream and get to dig in the dirt.
Students were encouraged to take home as many maple seedlings as they wanted.
“One little boy took 16. I wonder if he planted them and what his parents thought,” Deb said.
The Andersons’ garden showcases their collections, including a rock collection from travels throughout the United States and garden art.
The gardens have grown larger each year, Deb said. She and her sisters exchange plants.
The plantings thrive in the composted dirt. A former dog kennel was turned into the compost area.
Trees abound on the property, including some that grew from sticks Deb stuck into the ground.
“I love trees,” she said. “I even hate to pull the red maple seedlings (even though there is a bumper crop this year). I feel that little tree wants to grow into something.”
Children’s Garden at Harbor Campus
425 W. Walters St.
A grassy field on the south side of Harbor Campus, a senior living and care complex, was turned into vegetable gardens during the Port Washington-Saukville School District’s summer-school program. The class is intended to encourage healthy eating, teach students where their food comes from and show them how to grow their own food.
The program started last year with 23 students and grew to 90 students this year. Teachers and a few students will be on hand to discuss their venture.
The garden was featured in the April 28 edition of Ozaukee Press.