The skies cleared recently when the Bud 'n Bloom Garden Club visited Burton's Breezewood Acres in Stockton owned by Linda and John Burton. Linda is a retired extension specialist and John is a tree expert with a background in horticulture.
The garden club was amazed at the extent of the gardens. John explained that they were able to purchase plants from local nurseries that had gone out of business. The Burtons have lived on the farm since 1980. They started gardening in 1990 and had their first tour in 2006. This garden was included in the Buffalo Garden Bus Tour last year.
The gardens can be described as four very different garden rooms. The first garden "room" was located at the edge of a sunny field. Here the vegetable garden was found to be quite advanced for this time of the year. Eight raised beds contained strawberries, onions, peppers, and broccoli. Nearby 300 feet of 2 foot tall peas were growing. Nearby was the Bride's Garden planted with flowers for an upcoming summer wedding.
The next "room" was the Shade room. About 25 evergreen trees had afforded the necessary shade for mulched paths, mounds and hundreds of hostas and shade plants. Huge rocks from area farms were hauled in by John and placed perfectly to create a woodland setting beyond belief. As the club members meandered through the curving paths they were delighted with ground cover plants creeping over the rocks and soil. Sunny spots afforded accents of color with bleeding heart bushes, pink delphinium spires, snappy red nicotina plants and fuzzy white lamb's ear and feathery astilbe plants. At the end of the forest glen was a patch of lupine-purple, white, lilac and pink steeples swaying in the breeze. Peachy coral 4-foot-tall peonies grew next to lime green hostas, making for a great contrast.
Coming out of the shade, eyes had to adjust for the colorful sunny third "room" of the Burton's Creation. Flowers were planted in pots and beds. Geraniums, daisies and golden marigolds filled pots. Lovely lilies, patches of lime-green lady's mantle and pink sparks of columbine graced some beds. Covering a third of one side of the farm house was a vigorous green climbing hydranga with white lace-cap blossoms. Finally in the semi-shade the visitors found a much needed sitting area. Here the guests were joined by Sadie, the welcoming Black Lab hoping for a head rub. Pots of multi-colored coleus and pink begonias filled the ceramic pots. A large white orchid was brought out from the Burton's orchid room to share with the company. A photo of an 8 inch white Cereus bloom was shared. The plant opens at 11 p. m. and is only open for six hours. A pot of hens and chickens plants rested in a pot of turquoise, white and green glass gems. All of these visual treats were greatly appreciated
The last area was the sloped gardens seen off of the raised deck built on the side of the house. Here one could see flowers planted all the way to the fence surrounding the horse pasture with a bubbling creek nearby. Rows of bright pink peonies and orange poppies were in full bloom. Two beds of assorted roses had plenty of sunshine and the Castor Bean bed had dappled sun. A huge trumpet vine had to be propped up due to its size and weight. A bed of Oriental lilies were ready to bloom in the near future. Old maple trees afforded shade in areas. Ferns, ornamental grasses and berry bushes were located in the rear area of the house. Three horses poked their heads out of the nearby barn as the tour was near completion. Large 6-inch pots of plants were shared by the Burton couple. Garden Club members took home Iris, ladies mantle and other hardy, large plants compliments of the Burton couple along with an invitation to return to view other seasons in the gardens.
From there club members traveled a very short distance to the Bear Lake Cottage of Marty Wiser. Wiser met the group and directed them to join her on the hillside next to her cottage to view the sparkling, tranquil lake. Here tables and chairs were arranged in the shade for a brief meeting.
Members were reminded of the Barker Library flower arrangement and garden maintenance schedules. The recent plant sale was discussed. A larger check than the previous year's check was sent to the local Literacy Volunteers. Wiser served a delightful dinner of lasagna, green salad, fruit salad, cream-stuffed strawberries and a fruit torte with iced tea and coffee. Begonia plants graced the head table in fruit-shaped ceramic pots.
Wiser's co-chair ladies were President Sue Drag, Judy Wilcox and Kathy Litz. Begonia plants graced the head table in fruit-shaped ceramic pots.
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