HOT SPRINGS – Keep Hot Springs Beautiful will host their 2021 Garden Tour on Saturday, July 17th, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at any of the gardens on the day of the tour for $8 (Cash or check only). Directions to the gardens are available at www.KeepHotSpringsBeautiful.org. The tour will feature four gardens in town and one in Red Canyon off Highway 89. All five show the owners’ creativity and passion for their gardens. Master Gardeners will be on hand at each garden to answer questions. Visitors are asked to wear sturdy shoes and leave their pets at home. KHSB thanks the homeowners/gardeners for opening their gardens for this event, which is a fundraiser for the organization. Proceeds from the event support the replanting of the downtown street corner pods and the organization’s other activities aimed at keeping Hot Springs beautiful.
#1 Giving Garden:
Keith Rabin, 27388 Spirit Canyon Road
Hidden in Red Canyon is a reward at the end of a scenic drive. Starting seasonally in 1996, Keith started building his garden. Utilizing a greenhouse on the property, he starts almost all his plants from collected seeds. Keith uses a regenerative organic approach to his gardens, where everything is reused or composted, and no chemicals are used. He grows tomato, kale, lettuce, onion, garlic, his favorite pollinators comfrey and lovage, dozens of types of peppers and more. Keith donates all of his produce to the Hot Springs Food Pantry. The one exception to his seed starting program is his Sweetgrass. Originally harvested in 1976 from Lakota Camps in Canada, it has been moving with him ever since. He has shared plugs with gardeners from all over the world.
#2 Passion Project:
Rose Bestwina, 402 North 20th Avenue
Rose grew up hauling water in jugs from the river to help with her mother’s extensive garden. So for her, “Gardening is not a job, it’s a passion.” When Rose and her husband bought their house in 2015, the landscape had little to offer besides grass. With a new project every year—she slowly worked on her yard, adding raised beds, dry washes, covered vegetable beds and multi toned rock landscaping that catch the eye of anyone passing by. Besides her favorite flowers, Lilies, her yard is filled with an assortment of annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs. This includes Salvia, Dianthus, Barberries, Peonies, Roses, Mums, Phlox, Rhubarb and more. Special features include: a water fountain, fun garden signs, curbside benches, and over 30 hanging baskets and planters.
#3: Future Food Forest:
Scott Shannon, 1741 Summit Ave
On the hill overlooking downtown, sits the Fred T. Evans house. Over a century ago it housed a man on a mission, now it houses one again. Just over a year ago, Scott started implementing a plan to turn his yard into a “food forest”. Gone is the grass to the right of the house. In its place are rows of Lettuce, Onions, Strawberries, Potatoes, Goji Berries, Raspberries, Aronia Berries, Kale and more. Newly planted apple and cherry trees await their turn to shine. Scott relies on a no till, no chemical, self-seeding plan. Taking advantage of his chickens and the natural compost his yard has to offer, he provides organic nutrients to his plants. At the back of the garden, a geodesic dome houses large pots of tomatoes and a hydroponic grow system.
#4 Rock Retreat
Barbara & Ron Engelbrecht, 307 South 4th Street
When Ron & Barbara bought their house in 2017, it lacked outdoor appeal. Thankfully, they had a vision and no fear of hard work. Embracing their love of rocks, they hauled in tons of locally sourced product and used them to create retaining walls and borders that follow a gravel path around their property. Not to be completely overshadowed, plants spring from raised beds throughout. Scattered around the yard are Salvias, Marigolds, Petunias, Russian Sage, Junipers, Canna Lilies, and Hostas. Wood Vine drapes over the wood retaining wall, while over by Ron’s workshop, multiple seating areas offer rest with a view. The pine covered hillside to the back of the house has been dug out, in order to accommodate additional areas for plants, seating, and antique equipment. Sure, the plants are beautiful, but at this garden the rocks rule.
#5 Pollinator Paradise
Fall River Master Gardeners, 2005 Library Drive
The mission of The Master Gardeners Program is to provide horticultural training to the public. When the new Hot Springs Library was built, it was the perfect location for demonstration gardens. Established in 2005, the beds were originally filled with native species but later revamped. After improving the soil, the Master Gardeners replanted them to attract pollinators. The West bed is filled with Iris, Salvias, Vervain, Cranesbill Geraniums, Buffalo Berries, a Currant Bush and more. A bee hotel under a shade tree and a mud-puddling dish for butterflies encourage the pollinators to stay awhile. The East bed features Herb islands, Daffodils, Sumac, Russian Sage, Viburnum, Rabbit Brush and more. These two beds provide an oasis for pollinators and an excellent learning environment for gardeners of all ages.