Diverse gardens open for quilt tour
Last updated 6/28/2022 at Noon
The 25th Annual Quilts in the Garden Tour on Thursday, July 7, opens five very different and lovely gardens and two houses with stunning views, one nestled in the trees, to the public. Ticket holders can take a self-guided tour through the properties and stop for lunch at the Sisters Community Garden.
Lee and Jodi Krohn built their house four years ago on a lovely wooded lot on Wapato Loop, with Whychus Creek forming their rear property line.
Jodi’s love of gardening is evident from the minute you pull up in front. The large front berm is covered with a wide array of evergreens, shrubs, perennials, and grasses. The lush green lawn is Lee’s domain.
The backyard, which visitors will reach by going through the greatroom in the house, is an oasis of green and many brightly colored flowers and foliage. Inviting pathways beckon you to follow where surprise islands of plants await. One path off the back deck leads to a gathering spot on the creek bank; another curves around the side of the house.
Jodi received her love of gardening from her parents and grandparents and is passing it on to her two granddaughters, who lend a hand in the yard. She describes her handiwork as “Grandma’s Garden.” While designing the garden, Jodi walked through her Buck Run neighborhood to scout plants in her neighbor’s yards that seemed to grow well in our high desert environment, as her former yards had been in southeast Portland.
The main floor of the Krohns’ 2,600 sq. ft. home will be open for the tour, where visitors will be able to see the cedar finishes, rustic hickory table and doors, and an eye-catching juniper mantle over the stone fireplace. Jodi’s grand piano provides a hint of her musicality. The large glass doors provide a view into the backyard.
“I love rocks,” explained local glass artist Suzie Zeitner, whose live/work property in Sun Ranch will be part of the tour.
Gazing out the large windows from inside the house, the eye is drawn to the mountains in the distance and then settles on the large berm where a recirculating waterfall tumbles over rocks into a fishpond, surrounded by large irises. At the edge of the pond is a birdbath made from an old farm disc, just one of many art pieces created out of scrap metal from Swift and McCormick in Redmond and Suzie’s handcrafted glass.
Everywhere you look, front and back, be prepared to spy colorful glass art. The backyard fence, like the one around the neighboring Grand Peaks neighborhood, is constructed from scrap metal Suzie has found. The dirt for her berms came courtesy of Sisters friends Marcus Peck and Art Blumenkron to create varying topography on the flat one-acre lot.
Zeitner admits she has always aspired to be a master gardener, but her creativity and love of beauty more than make up for any lack of formal horticultural training. She also has the help of her partner, Paul Webber, who does a good deal of the yardwork.
Her glass studio, where she creates her art, is located on one end of the house. Inside the house are surprising touches, like the concrete floor, the unique front door, and the amazing master bath shower, as well as the impressive fireplace.
The gardens created by Monica Tomosy and Jim Green on their Fir Street property are a living classroom on biodiversity, planted with over 70 species of mostly native plants, 20 for which permits were required to take them from their native habitat. They use no fertilizer and no pesticides.
Jim’s and Monica’s mutual interests in nature brought them together 15 years ago. A graduate of Oregon State University, Jim studied wildlife science and worked for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for years. As a child, he had baby hamsters as well as snakes that got loose in the house. Monica earned her undergrad degree in biology and a master’s in natural resources. For 33 years she worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Forest Service.
Be sure and look for the Acopia Bird Savers on the house that prevent birds from colliding with the windows. Information on them will be available on the tour.
The entire yard, front and back, is planted in ecological zones, with plants in separate communities to target the birds who commonly frequent each zone. In this Garden of Eden, everything has been done for the wildlife – birds, insects, and amphibians (yes, there’s a salamander).
The front southeast corner, with the most sun, is an Eastern Oregon desert environment with sagebrush, California poppies, and cacti, complete with a cow skull found in Brothers. The Wetlands collects water off the roof into a shady area near the house where there are reeds and sedges. A stock tank water feature provides a place for birds to drink and bathe.
The north side is the Western Forest, which is shady, cooler, and moister, with Douglas fir, larch, hemlock, dogwood, bleeding heart, and ferns. This area requires drip irrigation only once a week. A strip along the driveway is called the Darwinian Garden, the site of “survival of the fittest” plants.
Jim explained that three species made it into the yard for strictly sentimental reasons — lilacs, peonies, and blueberries. Everything else was planted with intention — fruit and nectar for the birds, pollen for the insects. At the time of the visit by The Nugget, the property was home to seven families of birds. The caterpillar larva in the trees help feed the baby birds.
The backyard, behind the gate, is planted with what the deer like to eat, so it is safely fenced in. There is also space for badminton and cornhole on a small patch of lawn. There are more zones to see on this property, which was purchased in 2007 because of the trees. Only two had to be removed to build the house in 2017, after 10 years of planning.
A limited number of $20 tickets for the tour are still available at www.sistersgardenclub.com and at The Gallimaufry, 111 W. Cascade Ave.