FMAAA’s annual Garden Tour Sunday

These artifacts are part of the Steve and Deb Hay garden at 3004 Avenue K. The garden will be featured as part of the FMAAA Garden Tour Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are still available. Courtesy photo


FORT MADISON – The annual stroll through the neighbor’s gardens is this weekend and the Fort Madison Area Arts Association has a full slate of activities for people to get out of the house.

Seven different homes will open their fence doors to allow the community to stroll through and take a look at the creative spaces, art, and horticulture in play on Sunday afternoon from noon to 4 p.m.

The homes and activities are listed below. Tickets are $10 in advance at Gate City Seed in Keokuk; Kempkers True Value & Rental, Inc, Hy-Vee, and the FMAAA in Fort Madison; and Zaiser’s Florist and Greenhouse in Burlington. Tickets can also be purchased Sunday in the Grigsby, Gilpin, and Fedler gardens for $13.

Bruce Grigsby: 3822 Ave L

Bruce has a dedication to housing tropicals in a non-tropic climate. He has some container pots that he has harbored for 30 years. Matching the plant with the container pot is key. Incidentally you don’t want heavy container pots for large plants! They winter in the basement going dormant, with LED lights on 10 hours a day and watering once per month. He has a rare Psalm of India that looks like an alien of sorts. It blooms once a year and smells like rotten flesh. Several palm varieties are in his collection, as well as Sego palm, Date palm, Ixora palm (live in Florida only), orange and lemon trees, Bougainvilleas, Bird of Paradise, Cycad, and Nigres Grass. The Sego palm self-generates new growths of pups. The pups can be cut off and grown. The more pups the better the litter.

Roger Becker & Rita Cashman Becker : 3111 Ave K

This couple met over 6 years ago when each was taking care of their spouses that had cancer. The spouses died 2 months apart and Roger and Rita joined forces afterward. The garden is a juggernaut with 10 raised beds and themes of Mandevillas as well as dog and cat garden décor. The front yard is symmetrical on both sides with Japanese maple, Rhododendrons, and Black Petunias. A gazebo on the east side of backyard creates an inviting atmosphere for relaxation and reflection. Rita has a liking for gazing balls and some great décor from her family. Roger just did some extensive brick reworking on the raised beds on west side of backyard.

Artist in the Garden: Carlene Atwater will plein air paint the scene..

Steve & Deb Hay: 3004 Ave K

The wraparound deck and pool was a multi-year project, starting with the overhead porch deck with ceiling fan, followed by the expansive deck, and finished with the burn pit for a 360 degree environment above the yard. The deck overall provides a pretty good place for a party. The waterfall pool element had to be moved from its initial location, as the acorn tree keep shedding pollutants in the pool. The garden has primarily shade varieties. The signature red knights serving watch on the property have been collected over time. Like everyone else Steve fights moles but has an immaculate grass covering. 

Perfect spot for the Scotts Miracle-Gro product raffle.

Ray & Judy Reyes :2407 Ave J

47 years of memories surround the garden which is half sun and half shade. The impressive pergola is 6 years old and a surprise on Mother’s Day. When the Reyes went on vacation, there it was! Judy gets many ideas from Garden Tours. She likes green with her abundance of flowering shrubs, but keeps annuals for continuous color. For her it has been “one bed at a time”. Judy makes the glass garden statues that adorn the garden after reading an article on it 5 years ago. The statue of St. Francis designates the pet cemetery bed. The newest bed under construction is in memory of Judy’s mother with a gazing ball from a friend as the centerpiece. 

Artist in the Garden: Jessica Kirby-Runge will begin her plein air path at this location.

Todd & Ellen Cullen: 2101 Ave I

So many neat elements in this garden that the couple have worked since 1998 with only the hostas being present in the beginning. Another garden that incorporates water fun with foliage landscaping. The pool gets winterized, but the hot tub made its way from the garage and is used all year. The pergola has a mister spray that emanates from the top for immediate cooling; in fact, the entire garden has underground water supply so Ellen has “no heat or mess watering”. Todd says the goal for the backyard is to eventually never have to mow again. A neat idea he picked up from the internet was incorporating marples into his fence to give off hints of light to the environment. He added all the pavers for the patio space. You can tell the Cullens know Bruce Grigsby, as tropical container pots augment the scene. 

Artist in the Garden: Claire Graham will be a wandering minstral, fiddling her way from garden to garden.

Randy & Jane Gilpin :3514 175th Street

This hidden garden has a bit of a horse décor theme as Jane has always owned and loved horses. The couple have lived here 11 years and brought the clematis with them from Burlington. The floral varieties are 50/50 perennial to annual. There are 2 canopied outdoor dining areas where folks congregate for music, food, and friendship. The LED lights around the fence and canopies add to the ambiance with plenty of pastel colors to enhance the feel. The front enclosed porch has a turquoise color them similar to the backyard. 

The Randy and Jane Gilpin back yard is on the FMAAA Garden Tour this Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Artist in the Garden: Stained glass gazing balls by Craig Wills on display and for sale.

David & Trish Eaves Fedler: 1930 303rd Ave

A water oasis in the country developed over 12 years. The size of the in ground pool has doubled since emplacement, housing koi, shubukins, and sarrasas. On the other side of the space, the deck&pool have been added in the last 2 years, replete with adorning rope from Dallas City Boxing Club, from Trish’s dad Lester. Many Niota transplants from her parents ended here including the outhouse. The pallet wood walk was installed by handy David. The split diesel tank veggie garden is quite unique, boasting zucchini, cucumber, and kohlrabi. The fire pit was installed in 2014 as Mother’s Day gift after Trish’s mother passed. David has done the landscaping by hand using items that were there and adding to the mix. 

Artist in the Garden: Glassblower Jim Topic bring sparkle to the space.

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