Thursday, June 22, 2000

Neighbors build garden

Efforts showcased in tour of wide-ranging efforts

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        LEBANON — What started as a problem-solving exercise blossomed into a sense of community for garden-loving neighbors.

        Three years ago, new residents of Hathaway Commons wanted to screen their back yards from the nursing home that bordered their property. Rather than erect a fence, they decided to use natural elements to create a more pleasing barrier. They extended that concept to their garden spaces, and the result is a floral panorama that extends across the back yards of seven residences.

        The public will have a chance to see these gardens and more this weekend when the Lebanon Council of Garden Clubs presents its 10th Garden Tour. From a signature wedding garden to a “wild garden” in the city, the six tour stops offer a range of ideas, terrain and plantings.

        Thanks to the efforts of several couples, the landscape behind the seven Hathaway Commons homes has gone from untamed growth to visual delight. But it took some doing.

        “We decided we ought to (screen the property) strictly by nature,” said Donna Crisenbery, who moved to the community in 1997. “We had the brush cleared, then we planted 31 spruces in three hours.”

        The Crisenberys' grandson Casey, then 9, remarked, “Grandma, you need a pond,” and set to work designing their tiered waterfall that splashes into a pool where fish and frogs reside.

        Shelby and Clarke McLaughlin, who will serve as tour hosts at Hathaway Commons, watched their neighbors place stepping stones through the swath of cultivated landscape edging their yards.

        “I said, "I'm going to join your stepping stones and make a lifeline,'” Mrs. McLaughlin recalled. Her concept of a life chain spread to other neighbors, who chose to keep their backyard vis tas open and to plant varied and colorful perennial species.

        “The plants bloom in different seasons so at different times you get a different prospect,” said Newell Thompson, whose home adjoins the McLaughlins'.

        The self-guiding tour begins at Garden Club headquarters at the Lebanon Station. One of the other tour stops is within walking distance of the depot.

        What: Historic Lebanon Garden Tour.

        When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

        Where: Tour begins at Lebanon Station, 198 S. Broadway.

        Tickets: $5 adults; children 12 and under are free.

        Information: 932-3430 or 932-5992.


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