Spring Garden Tour features one made in the shade

By The Active Age | May 1, 2024

Everett and Michelle Price have revamped the former Brown Nursey property in west Wichita . Courtesy photos

Skilled gardeners prove you can pull up roots and still be successful.

The last time Everett and Michelle Price were on the Sedgwick County Garden Tour, in 2014, they showed off a sunny yard in Haysville. Now they live on the former Brown Nursery property in west Wichita, where they inherited about 65 trees, including pecan, persimmon and aromatic red cedars.

“We’ve kind of switched and we’re basically a shade garden,” Everett said.

The garden is one of six on this year’s tour, which takes place May 31-June 2.

The Prices moved three years ago and realized there were “lots of projects” to be done at their new place. That started with clearing off 60 truckloads of yard waste. With a shovel and broom, Everett then began uncovering a beautiful flagstone patio and walkway. It turns out the original owner had salvaged thousands of pavers from Wichita streets that date back to the late 1880s.

Under the canopy, Everett said, “We primarily focus on shade plants, a lot of hostas, Japanese maple trees, just a lot of shade-loving plans.”  There’s also a koi pond, waterfall and several bronze animal statues.

“It’s a big hobby,” Everett said of the garden. “A lot of our neighbors tell us that we work too much, but honestly we enjoy being out there.”
      And picking up after the trees has its rewards.

“We have a large chiminea and our trees constantly feed us with little branches to put into it.”

A lover of all things natural (even snakes), Diesa Snyder created the informal garden for her Crown Heights home.

Diesa Snyder

Similarly, Diesa Snyder gardened on 20 acres in Derby before moving to Crown Heights in 2021. “This is a third of an acre, plenty to take care of,” she said.

Unlike the Prices, though, she “pretty much had to start from nothing in my beds. But it gave me a blank slate to start with, so I really enjoyed that.”

She’s surrounded her Cape Cod house with “just a bunch of things I like to grow.”

“I’ve just kind of got flowers everywhere. It’s not a super formal garden.”

Because she’s “really big on feeding the bees and other stuff out there,” she’s put in coneflowers and lots of day lilies. She grows tomatoes and peppers in raised beds.

Snyder, a master gardener since 2013, has traveled to Arizona during the winter since retiring and often brings back Mexican pottery to hold some plants. 

Asked about gardening challenges, she said, “The heat is number one. The other thing is trying to be water wise. If I’m not careful, my water bill can be outrageous. I try to put in things that can tolerate the heat, and I’m trying to do more of that because I think it’s going to be more important.”

For that reason, she’s also on a mission to get rid of her grass. But a couple old tree stumps can stay, she said.

“I’ve left it there because I like it,” she said of the taller one. “Someday I might like to get it carved — maybe a Keeper of the Plains. Right now, it’s just a cool, old-looking stump. It’s got these knots all over it. I’ve got bird feeders hanging from it.”

2024 Garden Tour

When: Friday May 31, 9-5; Saturday June 1, 9-5; Sunday June 2, 9-4

Tickets: $10, kids 12 and under free. May be purchased at any garden with cash or at the Sedgwick  County Extension Center, 7001 W. 21st St.

Featured gardens:

Cottage Garden with a Southwest Flair, 209 N. Battin St.

Antiques Garden Show, 3356 E. Bellaire St.

Stroll Through a Woodland Garden, 7712 Harmony Ct.

Plant Collector’s Paradise, 1332 N. Dry Brook Ct. (Derby)

Levels of Garden Beauty, 7061 Mark Twain Dr. (Derby)

Growing a Neighborhood Garden, 802 Amidon

Everett and Michelle Price