Summer garden tour set for July 12

A summer highlight is the Marshalltown Garden Club’s annual home garden tour. This year, the club returns to the theme of “Garden Spaces and Outdoor Places” for a five-garden tour on July 12. Cost of the non-refundable tickets is $10 per person, which may be purchased in advance from club members or from garden locations the day of the event. The tour includes a mix of town and rural gardens.

Proceeds raised from the tour and other club fundraising events are used to finance civic projects, contributions and club programs. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Jean Klosterman at 641-750-5716.

Joleen Ballard – 610 N. Second Ave.

The twin cobalt blue planters overflowing with colorful annuals that flank the front steps of Ballard’s home are just a hint of the mix of perennials, ornamental grasses, trees and shrubs that wrap around her home, fill the compact backyard and spill out onto the front terrace. “I just grew up with all kinds of plants,” said Ballard, whose parents owned a greenhouse business. Her favorite plants include coral bells, coneflowers and New Guinea impatiens. Even though she starts many of her plants from cuttings and seeds, Ballard is always on the lookout for new and intriguing specimens from greenhouses and garden centers. Two features visitors will enjoy in this outdoor space are a weeping hemlock and the wooden trellis designed and built by Ruth Walker.

Dave and Shirley Halverson – 2031 Vance Ave.

It’s been a few years since the Marshalltown Garden Club has included Turkey Ridge on its annual tour and previous visitors as well as new will be amazed at the vast variety of perennials grown by the Halversons on their 5.5 acre property. Their twin specialties are daylilies and hosta.

“We began working with daylilies 22 years ago” said Shirley Halverson, noting the property is home to 500 varieties of the plant and 300 types of hosta plus a wide selection of other perennials, which will be available for purchase. Several pergolas and other wooden structures constructed by Dave as well as whimsical and unique pieces of garden art add to the charm of the terraced site. This rural garden is located two miles outside of Marshalltown just off East Main Street.

Jim and Roxanne Lamb – 908 W. Boone St.

This year’s growing season has been and continues to be a surprise. The couple did discover a hydrangea bush, which Roxanne loves because she uses the dried flowers in the wreaths she designs. One of this garden’s special features is the hop vines Jim planted in their new backyard this spring. Hops are the prime ingredient in beer, which Jim home brews. Other highlights include ornamental grasses, the unique red and white enamel-ware garden, lots of primitives as garden art, a pergola-covered deck and a very “kid friendly” tree. “We garden because we love to be outside,” said Roxanne, who prefers to work with annuals because of their color. “And it’s therapeutic,” said Jim.

Carolyn and Howard Messerer – 2007 S. 4th Ave.

Gardening is essentially a year-round process for club member Carolyn Messerer. The majority of the vegetable and flowering annuals planted in tiered planter boxes, vertically and in-ground are the result of her late winter efforts. “I receive my seed catalogs in late December or early January and get my orders in so I can begin planting in February or early March,” she said. Carolyn planted 1,300 seed cells in her basement this past winter, eventually moving the seedlings to her small greenhouse around the first of April. She also extends the life of some of her plants by caring for them indoors during the colder months.

Ruth Walker – 402 New Salem Road

Custom woodworker Walker loves to garden with a twist. Her interest in plants and gardening began in her mid-teens after watching “The New Victory Garden” program weekly on Iowa Public Television. She developed her own material for the raised tier style of container gardening from plants she propagates under lights over the winter. She then uses those plants in her signature window boxes as well as in the variety of pots, vessels and wooden structures grouped throughout her yard.

Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or