Garden Walks: where to tour Montana's glorious gardens
August 20, 2010
By Amy Grisak
Take time in the summer to enjoy our beautiful Montana gardens. Here's a list of special tours throughout the season, or gardens open to the public on a regular basis. Grab your good walking shoes and a water bottle, and make a point to see the gardens in full glory. (Unless otherwise noted, please leave your pets at home.)
During the turn of the century, the city of Great Falls designed and planned for gardens at Gibson Park, where people could gather and enjoy the area. Now visitors can stroll, bike, or skate along the walkways to view the incredible flower gardens filled with thousands of annuals. Gibson Park has seen many changes over the last 100 years, and is in the process of major renovations. To keep with the historical precedent, more perennials are being added to the gardens, plus a rose garden was established in 2003. Another addition to the flower garden area is the "Vinegar Jones Cabin," the first house granted a building permit in the City of Great Falls in the 1884. After surviving fire and potential demolition for over a century, it was saved in 2001 and moved to the park where it is being used as a display. Visitors are invited to enjoy Gibson Park, located on Park Drive between Central Avenue and 6th Street, seven days a week from dawn until dusk. There is no admission, although the park is available to rent for weddings and large gatherings. Please keep your pets on a leash.
For more information contact the Great Falls Park and Recreation Department at 771-1265.
SUPPORT THE GARDEN
Join the supporters of the Paris Gibson Square Museum's annual "Gardenwalk" fundraising event for the museum on June 25-26. Six local homeowners are going all out once again inviting visitors into their gardens, acting as host and guide, and answering questions. Participants purchase their maps at the Paris Gibson Square Museum, located at 1400 1st Ave. North, on Friday, and are encouraged to walk the Museum's grounds, which are maturing into their own show, to begin the tour. The hours are Friday 5p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Phone 727-8255.
For over 15 years the Bibler Garden Tours in spring and summer have been the highly anticipated home and garden lover's gathering and a key fund-raiser for the Conrad Mansion.
Enthusiasts from throughout the state can expect the same entertaining tours of Bibler's history-filled home and spectacular gardens, as well as exciting new features in the gardens this season. Dates and cost will be announced towards the end of April and middle of July. Tickets can be purchased at the Conrad Mansion. Phone 755-2126.
Gatiss Gardens invites visitors to enjoy their perpetual botanical show with the ever-changing landscape from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Created at the turn of the century by Bob Gatiss, Paul and Elizabeth Siblerud now lovingly maintain the homestead plants and continue to improve the grounds for future generations. Visitors can take a self-guided stroll along the graveled paths that wind throughout the peaceful gardens and around Mill Creek. Wheelchairs can access much of the area. Pets are permitted if they are controlled. Weddings and group tours are available with advanced notice. Gatiss Gardens is located approximately 10 miles east of Kalispell at 4790 Montana Highway 35.
The talented artists from the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center join avid gardeners to celebrate the glorious summer in the village on Flathead Lake for the 16th annual garden tour on July 17-18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Art and Cultural Center fund-raiser opens four to six private gardens within a five-mile radius of Bigfork for self-guided tours while artists take the opportunity to capture the summer bloom in paints and pastels. Swan River Nursery helps coordinate the effort and offers a gift certificate in a raffle, with the proceeds contributed to the Art and Cultural Center. The ticket that serves as a map, are $8 for members of the Art Center, $10 for non-members and free for children under 12, can be purchased at the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center at 525 Electric Ave. or Swan River Nursery at 715 Swan River Rd.
For more information contact the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center at 837-6927.
In 1946 the first rose was planted in the little city park at 700 Brooks Street to commemorate the soldiers who gave their lives in World War II.
Visitors now enjoy over 2,500 rose bushes in the Memorial Rose Gardens created for all of the Montana state veterans. A 12-foot bronze statue for fallen police officers has recently been added to the display.
Caras Nursery is hosting their third annual garden tour during the second weekend in July.
Six to eight gardens, including the grounds at Caras Nursery will be available for self-guided tours. A range of gardening styles will be selected to make it an educational and enjoyable day. The tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Caras Nursery or locations throughout the area. The tour begins at 10 a.m., and everyone is invited to a reception with food and drinks at the end of the tour at Caras Nursery at 2727 South Third Street.
Bring the youngsters to the third annual "Kids in the Garden" at the beautiful grounds of the Daly Mansion on Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
The event is geared to promote interest in the gardening and the outdoors while having a great time. A number of activities are planned to give the kids a hands-on experience with lots of goodies to take home. There will be musicians, storytellers, performances and informative speakers to entertain the children as well as adults. Admission is free, just bring your imagination and enthusiasm. The Daly Mansion is outside of Hamilton on Montana Highway 269. For more information contact Karla Wienciek at 961-0107 or the Daly Mansion at 363-6004.
What started as a patch of cosmos planted to choke out noxious weeds has grown into botanical jewel tucked in the Elkhorn Mountains.
There are more than seven display gardens covering three acres featuring thousands of annuals and perennials, including over 400 roses, and more than 25,000 bulbs that welcome visitors in May and June. The half-mile long trail winding through the gardens is 90 percent wheelchair accessible, and there are four-wheeled scooters available for free use for those who have difficulty walking. The gardens are open April through September, Tuesday -Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Fridays until 9 p.m. Admission is $4 per person, and children under five are free. Their annual fund-raiser for a charitable organization is Aug. 14, 2004. The grounds are available for weddings and special occasions, and visitors can swing by the gift shop for garden related products. Located 18 miles south of Helena, take Interstate 15 to the Jefferson City exit #176. Turn east to Highway 282, and travel south one mile to the gardens.
For more information, call Richard Krott or Belva Lotzer at 933-8789. www.tizerlakegardens.com
The seventh annual Beall Art Center Garden Tour invites artists and gardeners to join together July 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for walks in several Gallatin Valley gardens with proceeds being contributed to arts education programs. This is the time to ask your generous hosts, who offer their gardens and knowledge to interested folks, any gardening questions you might have. Participants can also watch local artists capturing the beauty of the gardens in paintings and drawings. The tour begins at the Beall Park Art Center at 409 North Bozeman, and after the tour, everyone is invited to Cashman Nursery on 2055 Springhill Rd. for refreshments and a raffle for garden goodies. Tickets are available at the Beall Park Art Center and Emerson Center located at 111 South Grand Ave. The cost is $5 for members or seniors ( age 60+), or $8 for non-members. Children under 12 are free. You can pick up a map of the gardens at 8:30 a.m. on the morning of the tour at the Beall Park Art Center, where there will also be a folk art exhibit of local Bozeman artists, Willem and Diane Volkersz. For those who can't get enough of gardens, there is an additional tour of the beautiful gardens at the Beall Art Center and Emerson Center. The cost is free to members and $5 for non-members.
For more information contact Ellen Ornitz at the Beall Park Art Center at 586-3970.
If you need to unwind, visit the Lewistown Community Labyrinth Garden located in Frank Day Park at the end of 4th Street on the south side of town.
Labyrinths have been used as an age old form of mediation for centuries, and visitors are invited to stroll the approximately one-quarter mile grass path as it leads through the seven circuits to the center. The garden is 90 feet in diameter and planted with colorful annuals and perennials lovingly tended to by volunteers. The Community Labyrinth Garden is available for everyone every day of the week. Contact Creek Housing Lodging for more information.
Moss Mansion hosts its annual fund-raising garden tour sponsored by the Yellowstone Dermatology and Skin Cancer Clinic in July 2004. Six private homeowners open their gardens to the public over this weekend-long event to offer a variety of gardening styles where people can discover fresh ideas for their own backyard projects. Tickets, which serve as maps for the self-guided tour, can be purchased at the Moss Mansion at 914 Division Street for $10.
For more information, contact the Moss Mansion at 256-5100.
Dan Jellison created gardens for his personal enjoyment 10 years ago, but was coaxed into opening DanWalt Botanical Gardens to the public after being featured in the Moss Mansion garden tour. There are now two fully landscaped acres with paths meandering through garden boasting over 150 perennial varieties for people to enjoy. Jellison also raises exotic chicken and frogs from throughout the world. He uses his collection and knowledge in a series of workshops, such as the "Frog Walk," which is a hands-on experience explaining the significance of frogs in the ecosystem. DanWalt Botanical Garden is located at 720 Washington Street. The hours are Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the admission fee is $6. per person. You may call to schedule private tours, weddings, or workshops.