Touring secret gardens of Linthicum, Ferndale


May 05, 2002|By Rosalie Falter | Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHEN WE think of a garden, different things come to mind. It could be that the colors of flowers and shades of greenery make it a place of beauty and serenity. Or it could be that gardens are a place to grow vegetables and flavorings for the kitchen. They can also add a pleasant framework for our houses or provide a beautiful backdrop for artwork.

Whatever your idea of a garden, seeing what others in the community are doing with their yards might inspire you. With that in mind, you are invited to take a tour of the "Secret Gardens of North County" from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 18.

Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church and St. Christopher's Episcopal Church will sponsor the tour with the proceeds benefiting the FOUSE Center-House of Hope.

Take your time as you tour and enjoy six gardens - each one different.

Stephanie and Jason Pippen, 108 S. Hammonds Ferry Road, grow many old-fashioned plants that they like and that seem to thrive in their garden. Some, such as mock orange and spirea, have meaning to them because they were planted by Jason's grandfather many years ago when he lived there. They also like flowers, such as the peonies, that were passed on to them from Linthicum neighbors.

But it is not just the old plants the Pippens admire and love to grow. Flower Carpet Rose, a fairly new variety bush rose, should be blooming for the tour. They have the hot pink color that was developed on the Eastern Shore.

"It is unbelievable. It blooms from May to Christmas," Stephanie said.

When Margaret and Robert Nichols moved to their house at 6210 Medora Road four years ago, they had their work cut out for them to re-establish a yard that had been overgrown and sorely neglected.

"I had to remove 28 trees just from the front yard," Robert said. After that he designed the landscaping to include retaining walls, stone pathways, and patios for the front and rear of the house.

The design of the gardens takes into consideration the lay of the land, some of which is hilly, and to serve as a backdrop for the artwork the couple enjoys collecting. Seven pieces of original art are set among the gardens. The four in the front yard are the work of recognized American artists.

Hal Gomer, who lives at 6414 Orchard Road, started gardening about 20 years ago. As a teacher of interior design, it was a natural progression for him to create a garden of "rooms."

"Just like inside a home where one room leads to another, my garden has spaces that lead from one to another. You can't just stand and see the whole garden at once, you have to walk around," he said.

Gomer lets the sun and shade determine what he plants, but he designs the color scheme around blue and white with a little yellow. But his favorite flower is the tall bearded iris that he finds not only beautiful but dependable.

The back yard includes a 5-by-25-foot pond with koi fish.

Sue Latini has created a unique garden at her house at 18 Ferndale Avenue with an collection of more than 125 herbs. As a food historian, hearth cook and author of At the Hearth, a book on early American recipes, she knows the value of using fresh herbs when cooking. She needs only to walk out in her garden to find the perfect flavor for a dish or drink she is preparing.

Culinary herbs are only a portion of those she grows. Other herbs she has can be used for dyes, disinfectants, potpourri and decorations.

"People may not be aware that some plants we think of as just flowers are actually herbs and have medicinal properties," she said.

The backyard garden of Cindy and Bob Butz at 106 Andel Court in Ferndale has a serene quality. The focus is a waterfall that flows over rocks before cascading into a fish pond. During the tour, a harpist and guitarist will play by the waterfall.

The Butzes' terraced gardens feature perennials and annuals in various colors and textures. A butterfly garden, many birdhouses, and bird feeders are other attractions in the yard.

Steve and Loretta Cieslak of 502 E. Maple Road have planted a garden they can enjoy all year. There is color to look forward to each season, from pastel spring flowers to red berries in the winter. During the summer, not only flowers provide interest. The Cieslaks harvest tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Tickets for the event are $10 in advance. On the day of the tour, tickets are $12 and sold at each of the houses. To help locate the houses, each will be marked with balloons and signs. The rain date is May 19.

Information: 410-859-0096 or 410-859-8047.

40th anniversary

The Ann Arrundell County Historical Society recently celebrated its 40th anniversary at Snyder's Willow Grove restaurant. Dinner was followed by cake cutting, then a champagne toast. Guests included Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle and Cecilia Fabula, assistant to County Executive Janet S. Owens.

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