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Lisle's Garden Gait walk takes visitors on journey to five suburban oases
By Joan Broz | Columnist

Sue and Dick Lamb's garden affords seclusion and surprises. The yard is part of the Lisle Woman's Club's Garden Gait walk.


Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

The Ancede garden, featured in the Lisle Woman's Club's Garden Gait, covers 2.75 acres with trees, lawns and flower beds.


Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

The Lisle garden of Diane Tuscher-Ancede and Alvaro Ancede began as a dense woodland. Now the venerable trees provide shady respite in the yard.


Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

Lisle homeowner Diane Tuscher-Ancede believes gardens are for sharing, and many of her plants are gifts from friends.


Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/9/2010 12:01 AM

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With long days, warming temperatures and vigorous plant growth, June is a wonderful time of year to experience a garden.

The Lisle Woman's Club's Garden Gait walk takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 13. Participants will tour five diverse gardens, each offering a potpourri of ideas that work well in local growing conditions.

Tickets are $17, $15 in advance. Visitors will begin at the Museums at Lisle Station Park, 921 School St., for tea with cookies, crafts and garden-related vendors.

Here's a look at the gardens you can visit.

Ancede Garden

The garden of Diane Tuscher-Ancede and Alvaro Ancede is a quiet 2.75-acre respite from suburbia. What began 13 years ago as a tree-dense lot with a little periwinkle and some lilies-of-the-valley now is recognized by the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat that provides shelter, water and plants for seeds that nourishes birds and small wildlife.

"Near the main house, there is a honeysuckle on an arbor that hummingbirds fight over," said Diane, who plans to plant more vines.

The couple has a garden design in progress with areas of grass, dense shade and islands of hostas, alliums, daises and sweet woodruff. A former one-horse stable was remodeled to serve as a rustic guesthouse. Joe-Pye weed has room to grow 10 feet tall. There are irises, spotted dead nettle, bee balm, cone flowers, lamb's ear, Veronica speedwell, obedient plant, Chinese lanterns and Cup plant. A couple of flamboyant peonies win attention.

To Diane, gardening is all about sharing.

"My garden is made up of so many special plants that friends have given me," Diane said. "I never knew a plant could do so much for people; they are both enjoyable and beautiful."

Jones Garden

The garden of Laurie and Stuart Jones uses curved beds of flowers to bask in full sun. The garden was just a dream when the house was built in 2000. A basic plan defined space for an obscured 16-by-16-foot vegetable garden, an ever-bearing strawberry and raspberry patch, trees, deck and brick walkways.

An American Hornbeam tree graces the front yard. A pair of holly bushes frame the front door, while foxglove and catmint prove bunny resistant.

Stone walls and raised beds help alleviate a drainage concern on the side yard. "Happy Returns" day lilies, Japanese painted ferns and variegated hostas complement each other.

Roses, irises, pink mallow, Siberian irises, Shasta daisy 'Becky,' black-eyed Susan and a "Summer Beauty" allium linger near the large deck.

In the far rear yard, white cone flowers, violet clematis and fuchsia double-knockout roses offer punches of color. Ornamental oregano is one of Laurie's favorites.

The fenced vegetable garden, set off with tall grasses, nurtures everything from parsnips to pole beans, potatoes to peppers.

Laurie's recipe for healthy plants includes plenty of compost.

"It is one of my great joys in the morning to come out and see how everything is growing," Laurie said.

Lamb Garden

Sue and Dick Lamb's garden is as much about seclusion and surprises as it is a small arboretum. With plenty of native trees, including a Hill Oak, pebble and bark paths lead visitors on an adventure.

Hemlocks, lilacs and an attractive clump maple frame the front driveway. An oak leaf hydrangea grabs attention.

Flagstone stairs lead to the rear yard past white variegated euonymus, a violet climbing clematis, bicolor caladium and pink weiglia.

The yard handles any concern of shade and visiting deer with aplomb. A bed of Solomon seal surrounds a sculpture of a little girl holding a garden hose. Overhead, a Seven Sons tree offers four-season interest and a fascinating bark.

Surprises along the path include brunnera "Jack Frost," a large jack-in-the-pulpit and cimicifuga bugbane. Walk to the far back of the yard where an opening to a horse farm affords an unexpected county scene.

Beds of astilbe, Liguria and bleeding hearts are tucked into areas, while a raised flower bed features phlox, liatris, poppies and lupines. A black lace elderberry bush is a newcomer, whereas the Japanese tree lilac was transplanted from a former house nine years ago.

"We learned to start with good soil and not be afraid to move things around," Dick said. "Don't worry about experimenting."

McLennan Garden

The garden of Jeanne and Joe McLennan is enchanting with miniature surprises tucked in should a visiting fairy or gnome come calling.

The garden design showcases the couple's favorites. There is a full-size bike draped in flowers in the front yard; Joe McLennan planted 900 bulbs to ensure a colorful spring; and climbing clematis grows up a metal bed post that the gardener in Jeanne saw as a trellis.

The couple brought 300 favorite perennials from their old home 16 years ago as specified in the contract. Among the plants moved were bearded irises, historic peonies and some heirloom larkspur seeds.

A gazebo covered in climbing roses and a huge ash command attention in the rear yard. Lamium "Purple Dragon" is an eye catcher, grown near a shrub with a horizontal growth called a Japanese snowball "Shasta doublefile." Periwinkle and purples play out in the Siberian irises, statuesque Baptisias, self-seeding "Love-in-a-mist," "May Night" salvia and "Viola Etain" pansy.

With six rain barrows, Jeanne sees the benefit of feeding her plants rainwater.

"There is something miraculous about a seed breaking through its container to come to fruition," Jeanne said. "(A garden) is a place where magic happens every day."

Zahn Garden

Judi and Mike Zahn's garden makes a steep rear yard a thing of beauty.

Judi identifies herself as more of a problem solver than a gardener. The longtime Lisle resident slowly changed from just taking care of a yard to planting, moving things and personalizing her garden.

When Judi felt her small front stoop needed a redo, she expanded the porch with pavers to accommodate planted pots to welcome guests. A new Hydrangea "Twist and Shout," Carlisi viburnum, prairie fire crab, Diablo ninebark, coral bells and sedum enhance the front landscaping.

The homeowner solved the dilemma of a long garage side wall with three climbing clematis highlighting a trio of decorative birdhouses. Terracing rock and stone took care of a sloping back yard and set off spaces for trillium, holly, bleeding hearts, hostas, pagoda dogwood, Japanese maple and hemlocks.

Two large Osage orange trees with fascinating bark are original to the property when it was part of a horse farm. Other notables are glossy ground cover "European ginger," a stunning shrub called "Bottlebrush Buckeye" and dainty "Nellie Moser" clematis.

"Make your garden your own," Judi said. "I look to see what grows well and put them in for a couple years and then see if they stay."

Tickets for the eighth annual Garden Gait are available in Lisle at The Nook, 4738 Main St.; Wild Birds Unlimited, 1601 Ogden Ave.; Trill Boutique, 6458 College Road. Tickets also may be purchased at Anderson's Bookshops, 123 W. Jefferson Ave. in Naperville and 5112 Main St. in Downers Grove.

• Joan Broz writes about Lisle. E-mail her at

If you go

What: Lisle Woman's Club's Garden Gait tour of five private gardens

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 13

Where: Start at the Museums at Lisle Station Park, 921 School St.

Tickets: $15 in advance, $17 at the event