A tour of Victorian house and cottage gardens will be offered in Pierce City from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 14. The tour will begin at the bandstand at Commercial and Walnut across from City Hall and proceed to eight locations. Maps will be available at the bandstand.
|The first stop on the garden tour will be First Congregational Church at Washington and Walnut. The Congregational Church, the oldest in town dating from the 1870s, has foundation plantings and landscaping that were begun in 2004, following restoration work after the May 4, 2003, tornado. The landscape work was a gift of the late June Williams. Plant additions are made on a seasonal basis.|
|The "railroad garden" of Harold and Marion Merritt at 503 N. Walnut will be the second stop on the tour. This garden includes a mini train, water garden and many traditional plants.|
Across the street at 503 N. Walnut, the grounds of Jay and Betty Bierkotte's Victorian home is the next stop. The structure was the original home of Pierce City founding father, L.L.L. Allen. The Bierkottes have maintained plantings in a Victorian style for several years. Their efforts include fountains and water garden.
|Next door at the Victorian home of Larry Bartkoski at 505 N. Walnut is where the tour stops next. The owner is restoring his home and beginning to plant a garden befitting of the setting. This stop offers insights into getting a garden project off the ground.|
|John and Carmen Archer's 1903 farmhouse at 801 N. Linzee Boulevard has a garden that has been active for around 100 years. Plantings there include shade plants, herbs, butterfly beds, irises, day lilies, roses and annual beds.|
|An interesting new addition to the garden is a grand piano that John Archer has recycled into a planter. Bought at a garage sale, he found that repairs to the piano would be too costly so he decided instead to remove the metal pieces and use the cabinet for plants in his garden.|
The piano cabinet is placed under an overhanging tree so he is trying to determine which type of plants will survive better, those that prefer a sunny location or those that like it shady.
"I am experimenting with sun-loving plants and shade-loving plants," Archer said.
|Another new feature of his garden is a patio made from marble recycled from the old armory building in Pierce City that was damaged in the 2003 tornado. Local resident Cory Sooter also has some of the marble pieces, Archer said.|
The sixth stop on the tour will be at Maura Sparks' home on the north side of the old Larkin farm at 5343 Lawrence 2220 (Powerline Road). The garden offers luscious beds of perennials and roses around the property. The rose garden features a Victorian trellis designed by the Sparks.
|Richard and Judy Scheihing's garden at 3094 Lawrence County 2216 is the next location on the tour. The Scheihing garden is a wooded area at the back of the house. It features shade-loving plants including hostas, hydrangeas and many others.|
|Stan and Janet Bell's farmhouse garden is the last stop on the tour and features a variety of mature plantings in an area "away from it all" in the heart of the Dry Valley community.|
|The eight different locations on the garden tour are all wonderful places, Archer said. Each garden has a different character. The tour will go on rain or shine, Archer added.|
|Additional information about the tour is available by contacting Archer at 417-476-3523. There is no admission charge.|