Garden tour

A large but intimate-feeling landscaping masterpiece, a densely planted city oasis and a family’s joint gardening venture will all be highlighted during this year’s Marietta Garden Tour.

The annual event, presented by the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Marietta, takes place Sunday and will feature three private gardens and two public ones, said Caroline Putnam, a member of the garden committee.

“I consider this a very interesting array of gardens this year,” she said.

Private gardens will include that of the Biehl family at 325 Forshey Road, Marietta.

The garden has been a work in progress for six years, said Lyndsay Biehl, 30, who has lovingly manicured around 8,000 feet of bed space at the home, which belongs to her parents Brad and Stephanie Biehl.

“I have close ties to the house. My grandfather lived there and when he passed away my parents bought the house. So I kind of grew up in that house,” she said.

Landscaping is much more than a hobby for Biehl, who holds a Bachelors of Science degree in landscape horticulture from The Ohio State University.

“Gardening is how I unwind. I can work all day in the landscape and still come home and feel recharged by it,” she said.

What visitors might notice most about the garden is that although it is large in square footage, it feels extremely intimate. That feeling was created by dividing the garden into several areas that still feel small, Biehl said.

She also does a lot of container gardening on the property, a trend which has been taking off in recent years, Biehl noted.

“People can take away a lot of ideas for their own yard,” she said.

Also on this year’s tour is the city garden of Charlotte Hatfield at 426 Fifth St., Marietta.

Walking into the small city garden will make visitors feel like they have stepped into a garden in Williamsburg, Va., said Putnam.

That classic feel is exactly what Hatfield was attempting when she began planting a garden eight years ago that would mirror the feeling of her 160-year-old home.

“I was looking for a garden that matched the style of the house and so it is an old-fashioned garden. There are a lot of roses and lilies…lots of pinks and lavenders,” said Hatfield.

Though she has gardened since the early 1980s, cultivating this particular garden has been a learning process with a lot of trial and error, she said.

“Here, I had three really large, wide-open empty flower beds. It was a process of how do you get scale right when you’ve got nothing to compare it to,” said Hatfield.

The garden is still constantly evolving, but visitors Sunday will have plenty of early summer blooms to enjoy, she said.

The final private garden on the tour is just across the river in Williamstown, said Putnam.

Sylvia Miles’ 109 E. 5th St. garden is a labor of family love, said Putnam. For the last 15 years, Miles, her three sisters, and their mother have spent Labor Day weekend working on projects throughout the garden.

“Each sister’s personality and the mother’s has really come out,” said Putnam.

The years of effort have resulted in a garden brimming with unique plants and features. A raised deck provides a sweeping view of the garden’s offerings and attendees are sure to be awed by clever little gardening surprises, said Putnam.

“It never occurred to me to use a carport as a garden, but they do,” she said of an adjoining carport that houses a shade garden in the summer.

Finally, the Marietta Garden Tour encourages visitors to take in the Kroger Wetlands and the Harvest of Hope Community Garden this year.

Located behind Kroger on Acme Street, the wetlands consist of several ponds along with wildflowers and is an excellent site for spotting animals, said Putnam.

“That’s where I see blue heron,” she said.

The wetlands are an underappreciated treasure, complete with approximately a mile-long loop of walking trail, and a guide will be on site Sunday to help share information, added Putnam.

The Harvest of Hope Community Garden, located at the corner of S. Sixth and Hart streets, rounds out the tour. There, visitors will be able to glimpse an array of vegetable gardens tended by several different community members. It even features a rooftop garden, said Putnam.

Tickets for Sunday’s event cost $7 in advance and are available at Twisted Sisters Boutique, Greenleaf Landscapes, Williamstown Pharmacy and Thomson’s Landscaping.

Tickets can also be purchased for $10 the day of the event at the The First Unitarian Universalist Church at 232 Third St. or at any of the gardens.

All of the proceeds go directly into a building fund for the upkeep of the historic church, said Putnam.

Gardens will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. The church will also be holding a plant sale and serving free refreshments from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.