For two dozen years, the Sawtooth Botanical Garden has served as the Wood River Valley’s No. 1 stop for all things floral, all summer long.
As long as there has been a Sawtooth Botanical Garden, there has been the annual Garden Tour fundraising event. For the past 24 years, local plant life enthusiasts volunteer their gardens as stops along the weekend tour. Supporters, green thumbs and other interested parties gather for the four-hour event to enjoy some of the richest, best-groomed summer offerings in the valley.
This year’s tour features six gardens, all off state Highway 75 just north of Hailey. The event will last from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 13.
The first stop on the list is the garden of John and Cherie Morris, in the quiet Streamside subdivision of the Valley Club. Flowering trees, juniper, white hydrangea and rare Japanese anemones define the vibrantly colorful garden.
Also in Streamside is the home of Mona and Pete Prudden, whose flowerbeds burst with astible, Shasta daisies, hostas and lilies. Climbing red roses and purple clematis provide accents against willows and aspens.
Heading north and crossing Highway 75, garden-tourists will find the home of Aimee Eiguren and Robert Nocochea, who recently purchased the property from Bob and Claudie Goldstein. The new owners have preserved the essence of the Goldsteins’ perennial landscape while introducing a few elements of their own. French design, an aspen grove and a diverse host of flowers define the garden.
Just around the corner is the garden of Lynne and Stephen Heidel. Creeping jenny, cranesbill, columbine and poppies are just a few of the flowering plants in a garden that spans the full color spectrum. An impressive water feature surrounded by perennials acts as a kind of pièce de résistance.
Head south a short distance to the Zinc Spur home of Barbara and David Rognlien. Lilium Casa Blanca flowers, Russian sage, delphinium, cimicifuga, Knautia and more plot a journey across the globe. In one garden, attendees can experience the landscapes of many diverse countries.
Last, but far from least, is the Deer Creek garden of Kimberly and Kirk Peterson. Described by the former as evoking “lush privacy,” the spacious but secluded sanctuary exudes a distinctly Northwestern atmosphere. Japanese knotweed, Mohican viburnum and Sutherland gold elderberry contribute to the formation of this intentionally sylvan landscape.
“The connection between all of the gardens this year is that they are completely perennial, with the exception of a few annual pots,” said Jen Smith, executive director of the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. “We’ll see lots of interesting grasses, shrubbery, flowers and raised veggie beds. July 13 is relatively early in our growing season, so we’re hoping to see some peonies and things that bloom earlier.”
In preparation for the event, the Sawtooth Botanical Garden has printed high-quality glossy booklets, available for free at numerous garden centers in the valley. The booklets contain complete, lurid descriptions of the gardens. Local artist Pamela Street created striking paintings for the booklet, depicting the offerings of each garden.
The annual Garden Tour, set this year for Saturday, July 13, is the Botanical Garden’s second-largest fundraiser of the year, after the Gimlets in the Garden event at the end of the summer.
Smith anticipates upwards of 500 people taking part this year, based on turnouts for past tours.
“It’s always a big hit,” she said. “The garden tour is one four-hour period of time where people get to see six stellar properties in the valley. It’s a major fundraiser for us and a fun event.”
A host of 30 volunteers will work the event alongside the botanical garden’s small but dedicated staff.
Those in attendance will not only get to enjoy the scenery, soaking up the natural beauty of all the plants on display, but will also learn a great deal from the garden owners and knowledgeable volunteers. Questions about the plants themselves, garden design, growing seasons and any other relevant topics are welcome.
Some gardens will also feature art, sculptures and even music. Lynne Heidel, owner of the fourth garden, is a member of the Wood River Orchestra, and will join co-musicians to serenade visitors to her garden.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, ensuring its longevity and programming throughout the summer.
Tickets are available online or over the phone at 208-726-9358. Prices range from $25 for garden members to $30 for nonmembers, though those prices increase by $5 on July 11. Visit sbgarden.org to learn more.