Lifestyle

Eyes get prize on garden tour

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

The view from Ken and Kim Schiewetz's backyard would be harder to look away from if their landscaping wasn't so eye-catching.

What was once a steep yard with a swingset and a lot of blackberries and weeds looking over the Puget Sound is now a terraced piece of horticulture art. The front yard has perennials and bulb plants spilling around the outside of swatch of lawn. An arbor and newly laid walkway accent the front.

The Schiewetz's and four other families are opening their yards to lovers of all things plant, flowers, trees and landscaping for the Federal Way Symphony Garden Tour on July 16. Weyerhaeuser's Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection is also a stop on the tour. Ticket sales go towards the operation of the symphony, and this is the sixth year of the tour.

Transforming their backyard started after the original deck on their house was replaced. The swingset took a hike since their four children had long outgrown it. The blackberries were also wiped from the yard and the couple hired a contractor to install a series of terraced retaining walls. Another company installed a pond and waterfall.

Then the planting began. A financial planner and homemaker respectively, Ken and Kim aren't formally trained in horticulture. In fact, their method to choosing plants is finding what they liked and planting it in the yard where they thought it would survive.

While Kim prefers the bulbs and perennials, Ken leans toward the exotic and hard-to-find plants for the backyard. It's still his responsibility and Kim said it's not unusual to find her husband of 28 years pulling weeds or picking debris out of the pond each morning.

"I used to play golf," he said with a grin.

A goal of this year's tour was showing people how yards and landscaping are used for different purposes, said Janice Burgess, a spokeswoman for the tour.

At house No. 4, Steve and Tama Fulton included the swingset in their yard for their children and tires in the ground to help getting into the swings. Coming from warmer areas of the country, the Fultons wanted to make their yard an outdoor entertainment area that would be used even in bad weather. They installed a large park shelter on the side of the house with a hot tub, barbecue, dining area and overhead gas heaters.

House No. 3 goes another direction. Lanell Stailey's creation is a garden that makes use of limited space and incorporates rustic decor made by herself or her father.

The last garden on the tour belongs to Charlie and Julie Morss. While Stailey has little space to work with, the Morss have a lot. Their vision is a garden that's a series of rooms with themes. An Asian-oriented portion of the garden has simple lines and plants from the Orient. There is also an English garden section.

The tour starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. and tickets are available at a number of locations. With the tickets comes a guidebook and description of the gardens and directions how to get to each place. At the bonsai gardens, Master Gardener Marianne Binetti, the tour's speaker, will speak from 2-3 p.m. on the topic "Garden Ideas from Around the World".

Organizers are already thinking about the seventh garden tour. Many people have already been placed on 2007 list of gardens to tour.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565; mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

GARDEN SPOTS

What: Federal Way Symphony Garden Tour

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 16

Where: Federal Way area

Cost: Tickets are $18.

Buy tickets at: Furney's Nursery, Oriental Garden Center, Jan's Plants and Gifts, Metropolitan Market, Marlene's Deli, Edgewood Flower Farm, Molbak's Nursery or the Federal Way Symphony

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