‘Cooler Near the Lake’ is theme for Garden Walk

The annual Port Washington Garden Club Garden Walk on Saturday, July 14, will follow the theme “It’s Cooler Near the Lake.”

The event, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature six gardens at homes along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The gardens feature a wide variety of annuals and perennials, climbing vines, water features, creative hardscapes, sprawling vistas, cottages, statuary and native plants and grasses.

The club has been eyeing the featured gardens for several years, but the gardeners weren’t ready until now, Garden Walk Chairman Kathy Popp said.

“Several gardeners approached the club last year and offered to be features,” Popp said. “We’re ecstatic because of the Lake Michigan backdrop and because visitors will only have to park once.

Visitors will park at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, 4970 Country Club Rd., and take a shuttle bus to the gardens.

Jumping worms, an invasive species, have been spotted in the neighborhood, so the club is providing lightweight shoe covers for those touring the gardens. Club members will help visitors take them off and on at each house.

“Other garden clubs have canceled their garden walks, but we decided to proceed and take precautions with shoe covers,” Popp said.

The measure was encouraged by the featured gardeners, who didn’t want to cancel the event, she said.

“They are proud of their gardens, have worked hard since the fall and are looking forward to it,” Popp said.

The featured gardens include:
    • Barb Frenz’s garden, which has evolved from primarily shade plants into a sunny perennial garden. The gardens flow around the yard and house, accentuating a two-tier patio. Frenz rejuvenated the west property line with junipers, hydrangea, carpet roses, grasses and unique bushes.
   • Jim and Maria Kiesow’s yard is primarily sunny with shade borders. The gardens evolved when trees were taken down and grass dug up. Small paths lined with beach stones wind past a water feature and fountain with views of hostas, irises and peonies. Many of the plants were shared by friends, providing the Kiesows with a living photo album.
    • Yuki and Larry Nyhan have tried to restore their property to its award-winning garden, honoring the original intent and footprint in landscaping the Japanese and lakeside gardens. A minimal palette was used. A key point in the garden is the hydrangea arbor with a reinstalled bluestone patio that was hidden by overgrowth when the couple bought the house.
    • Jill Kunsmann, whose property is registered as an official monarch butterfly way station, has found her gardens to be a refuge, and she designed and dedicated three of them to loved ones. They have changed from perennial beds that require intensive work to easier to maintain places with trees and shrubs that provide year-round interest and are easier to care for. There are at least 21 unique species on the property. A vegetable bed and containers filled with herbs and salad fixings line the second-floor deck next to the kitchen.
    • Barbie Hughes bought and designed her property when she was living in England, and she used many native plants to attract birds, bugs and butterflies. A rear patio on the lake side includes rugosa roses and lavender. Much of the statuary came from the United Kingdom or Lake Michigan.
    • Jon Sorkan, a long-time figure skating coach, planned and hand dug large and overflowing gardens to add to the beauty of the lake. They feature paths that make visitors feel like they’re part of the garden and statuary that was given to him by the former owner of the property, a renowned artist.

Tickets to the garden walk are $5 and may be purchased at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve. Admission is free to students and children.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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