Greenfield - Joan Stevens, who has been around flowers all her life, still remembers the first time she saw the magnificent gardens at the William Radler home in Greenfield.
"I was overwhelmed," said Stevens, who is director of the Greenfield Beautification Committee that is sponsoring a tour of the Radler and four other Secret Gardens of Greenfield. "It was stunning."
That opinion was shared by many on the last Secret Gardens of Greenfield tour who clamored for it to be on this year's tour.
The July 21 tour will raise funds for community activities that the committee sponsors, including the major Arbor Day tree-planting projects, Landscape Awards and the Holiday Lights contest.
Not held every year, tours have been scheduled when gardens hit their peaks, Stevens said. The last one was in 2009.
Even the Radler garden isn't the same as it was on the 2009 tour, she said. Radler, who is a retired director of the Boerner Botanical Gardens, has expanded and upgraded since then.
"You could spend hours there. It's a tour in itself," Stevens said.
Not only are there thousands of brilliantly colored roses and splashy annuals, but a huge collection of the more subtle perennials, she said. All are labeled, and there will be someone to answer questions.
In fact, the garden owners and University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardeners will be at all five gardens on the tour to answer questions.
"No two gardens are at all alike and people can learn," Stevens said.
The other four gardens are all new to the tour.
However, the Villani garden isn't new to the committee which gave it a Landscape Award last year. With a rock wall garden, arbor, fireplace, pond and waterfall, visitors will get to see how to use these elements well and in balance, Stevens said.
"It's an example of gracious living," she said, adding that it creates a place of serenity where you can see yourself sitting on mild summer evenings.
Wildflowers that have always called Wisconsin home are part of the Boucher-Youngbluth garden - a bouquet of native wildflowers and grasses.
"It's outstanding," said Stevens, and ever-changing through the year.
At the Fabian garden, people will see everything you can do with a shady yard, Stevens said. It offers a huge variety of perennials and shows how to cleverly screen a yard from neighbors using a series of trellises and vines.
The final home on the tour is that of a young family whose garden shows how children's play areas can harmonize with the whole landscape, Stevens said. Not only that, but the Bruno home has brought beauty to both the front and back yards despite both being shady, she added.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT:Secret Gardens of Greenfield Tour
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 21
COST: $10 in advance and available in person at the Greenfield City Hall recreation department, 7325 W. Forest Home Ave., or online via PayPal at GBCINFO.ORG , or by calling (414) 421-2213; or $12 the day of the event at a booth outside City Hall.
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