Friday, July 19, 2024

Coeur d'Alene Garden Tour is July 7

Staff Writer | June 26, 2024 1:05 AM

Brilliant blue delphiniums towering over a shady green lawn, deep purple clematis climbing toward the sky, cooling water features, colorful yard art and other botanical delights are awaiting those who go on Coeur d'Alene Garden Club's 2024 Garden Tour.

“I know what I signed up for,” Marilyn Nenzel said with a chuckle Monday morning. “It’s fun. I enjoy it, I really do. I love talking to people about plants.”

Nenzel's roughly one third of an acre garden on North Drawbridge Court in Hayden is one of six Kootenai County gardens that will welcome guests from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 7.

Nenzel has made several changes to her yard since she moved into the home in 2003. She had a rectangle of lawn, a few trees and shrubs in a line and rock everywhere else, along with lots of landscaping fabric.

“It was like a sensory deprivation chamber,” she said. “The birds are the reason this whole yard started, to tell you the truth. It was a vast wasteland when I moved in.”

She continued to expand her horticultural work after her garden was first featured on the 2011 Garden Tour. Her yard is now frequented by squirrels, doves, quail, goldfinches and other critters that are drawn to the fragrant varieties of peonies, roses, zinnias, dahlias, phlox and more. A silver maple, golden spruce, red cedar, Colorado blue spruce, two curiously contorted crabapples and other trees provide cool spaces as they border the yard.

“I’ve been having fun learning how to garden in shade,” Nenzel said. "It's my happy place. I am out here as much as possible."

She said she's fond of her roses, particularly the ketchup and mustard rose, which has fiery red petals with yellow centers.

“It is so cute,” Nenzel said. “It’s just absolutely the sweetest little rose.”

Coeur d'Alene Garden Club President Rhoda King said she loves the variety Nenzel grows in her yard.

"She has some really interesting specimens," King said.

About 3 miles to the southwest, on West Kirking Way, Carolyn Summers' Coeur d'Alene garden is music to the ears of humans and creatures alike on a hot summer day. 

Golden daylilies add pops of color along Summers' cascading water feature, where a robin cooled its wings during a late-morning dip.

“It’s so fun to come out in the morning and sit with my coffee and watch all of them take their baths,” Summers said with a warm smile.

Columbines, berry bushes, flowers of deep violets and blues and a robustly foliaged kiwiberry arbor can be found in Summers' backyard, which is serenaded by the rushing water that spills over the stones in the water feature.

"I love the Jack Frost. I love the hydrangeas. I love anything with blue," Summers said. "I have some new plants I just did this year, and they're sweetspire. This particular sweetspire is called a Little Henry."

This will be Summers' first time participating as a Garden Tour host. Gardening is a peaceful pastime for Summers.

"You don't think about anything," she said. "You just go out and chill. It reminds me a lot of when I was a child up in the mountains, especially the aspen. It reminds me of my mom. It's definitely my love."

The Garden Tour will be held rain or shine. Artisan vendors will be in the gardens, as well as live music.

Proceeds from the self-guided Garden Tour benefit local charities and North Idaho College scholarships. Admission is $20 per person. Advance tickets are available at Seright's Ace Hardware, Mix-It-Up and Vanhoff's Garden Center in Coeur d'Alene; New Leaf Nursery in Hayden; Aspen, Northland and Petal Pushers nurseries in Post Falls; and Westwood Gardens in Rathdrum.

Tickets are limited. They will be available in the gardens while supplies last, cash or check only.

Visit for details.

    Marilyn Nenzel is seen Monday morning with her brilliant blue delphiniums, which are among many colorful plants and flowers in her Hayden backyard garden.
    Carolyn Summers, left, points up at her kiwiberry arbor Monday morning while chatting with Coeur d'Alene Garden Club President Rhoda King. Summers' yard will be among six local gardens to be featured July 7 on the 2024 Garden Tour.
    A wading bird sculpture and an array of colorful flowers and plants are sights to see in Marilyn Nenzel's Hayden garden.

    Vibrant purple clematis are making their way to the sky in Carolyn Summers' Coeur d'Alene garden.