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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Blooming artistry on display

  • Plants with historic meaning and beauty might be in your own backyard.
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  • Plants with historic meaning and beauty might be in your own backyard. Whether you're planting a well known flower or one that is unique, the Master Gardeners could of told you a story about it during their first tour.
    The Master Gardeners of Leavenworth displayed several gardens this past weekend at their Garden Tour, each having a different story behind it. Gloria Sturges, project manager for the Carroll Mansion Garden, is extremely proud of the work that has been done in the garden. The mansion's garden was selected as the award-winning garden for the state of Kansas in 2009.
    "No one in Leavenworth has ever had a garden like this one before," Sturges said. "I went to Kansas State and presented this garden to over 500 Master Gardeners and we won the award of the year."
    She said the other projects just couldn't compare to the work the Leavenworth Master Gardeners put in to the Carroll Mansion Victorian Garden. The garden at the mansion was built by the gardeners in 2008. Sturges said they moved more than 4,436 bricks that the city gave them to create the garden.
    "We put them in the back of our cars and trucks and we laid these bricks," Sturges said.
    The garden is separated into different sections to make it easy for those who come to visit. There are salad, fragrance, butterfly, shade, kitchen. medicine, vegetable and tea and herb gardens. Each garden has a unique story behind it, especially the Tea and Herb Garden for which the gardeners have stories behind the plants.
    "During the Revolutionary War when they were going through the tea party, they didn't have tea," Sturges said. "They had to take and dry the mint leaves and that's what they used when the English were keeping the tea away from them."
    They dried the leaves which had various flavors from pineapple, orange and Earl Grey. The Master Gardeners displayed this garden to show others how plants and herbs were used back during wartime and the tea making process. Sturges said the garden was a lot of work since she took it over in 2008, it was just a little rectangular herb garden in the back of the mansion.
    "The Master Gardeners helped me with everything." Sturges said. "They've done a tremendous amount of work."
    Each of the garden locations had a different theme: the Wizard of Oz garden, Gerges's Garden and the Butterfly Garden, which was first planned to bring those from the nursing home over to participate in the garden process.
    Candy Dial, Master Gardener for the Butterfly Garden, said the garden started out as an enabling garden for people in wheelchairs or handicapped in some way.
    "We have these raised planters which were built for those who are handicapped to garden," Dial said. "We have nursing homes all around us, so we built it and they didn't come."
    Page 2 of 2 - The reason why was because the nursing homes were across the street and it would be too dangerous for them to cross the roads themselves. The gardeners had to quickly come up with a new direction for the garden.
    "The University of Saint Mary had a program where they wanted to do something with gardening," Dial said. So we built the Butterfly Garden for the kids, the flowers for the Master Gardeners and it seemed like a good marriage there."
    The first garden tour brought in several individuals to tour the numerous gardens that were on display. President Katherine Gerges and Vice President Mikey Stafford, of the Leavenworth Master
    Gardeners, were impressed by the large numbers of groups who came to tour their gardens.
    Stafford said they are asking for new locations to be part of the tour next year. She said if anyone knows a location which has a beautiful garden, to contact any of the Master Gardeners. The gardeners have a goal to extend their tour next year and hope to add more attractions on top of the current ones they had this year.
    "We are looking to extend the garden tour south into Lansing next year," Stafford said. "It's just been wonderful, the houses were gorgeous and the gardens were beautiful."
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