The Friends of eXtension, which raises money for Colorado State University Extension programs, has offered a popular Open Garden Tour since 2012, drawing hundreds of people each year to private gardens selected by master gardeners.
Some years, the focus has been on breathtaking showpieces, mini botanic gardens.
Chosen this year was the area near Patty Jewett Golf Course, one of the oldest golf courses west of the Mississippi, noted local historian Judith Rice-Jones. Mature yards and gardens of 10 of the beautifully maintained older homes were toured by 670 people on June 24-25, with the homeowners and tour volunteers on hand to answer horticulture questions. Plein air artists created works at each site.
It was another colorful success, and "people loved the smaller 'I could do this' size gardens," said committee member Joan Nusbaum.
The Thursday before the tour, a sneak peek evening gave the volunteers, homeowners, garden center personnel and tour hosts an opportunity to walk all of the sites. Notebooks came out for jotting reminders about unusual plantings and settings and the "where did you find that?" queries. Homeowners received decorative stones designating theirs as a tour garden.
Homeowners whose yards and gardens were on the tour: Sandy and Darrell Fledderjohann, Donella Berry, Lon and Noelle Rathmell, Dave Bennett and Caroline Williams, Kim Gortz and Rick Hibbard, Jan Prowell and Harlow Perrigo, Nancy Wilson, Ann Seymour, David and Pamela Brinker and Maria Standish and LaMar Todd.
Participating garden centers: Spencer's Produce, Lawn & Garden Centers' Tejon Street location, Don's Garden Shop, McCord's Garden Center, Summerland Center, Good Earth Garden Center, Rick's Garden Center and Phelan Gardens.
Proceeds from the 2017 Open Garden Tour went to extensionfriends.org through the Pikes Peak Community Foundation for the CSU Extension, 4-H Youth Development, Colorado Master Gardener, Building Gardener and nutrition programs.