Ornamental and vegetable gardens on the summer ‘Tour of Homes’

CLINTON—Instead of the customary Christmas Tour of Homes, this year the DeWitt County Restoration Association is holding a summer tour, partially because the holiday season is so hectic for everyone and partially so they could include two beautiful gardens in their prime.  One is a vegetable garden owned by Dottie and Joel Hendricks, and the other is a series of ornamental gardens arranged by Betty Kline, a retired Clinton biology teacher.

Cost for the tour is $10 per person.  The tickets, including maps, are available at Brady Realtors, Graves Stationers, and the Chamber of Commerce.  The tour is Sunday, August 6, from 1 to 5 p.m.  Participants can view the four buildings and two gardens in any order.

Betty, who lives south of town west of the country club, is particularly pleased with the variety of her plants.  “I just wanted one of everything,” she said.  None of her gardens are formal, but she has several “cottage gardens,” as she calls them.

Several areas of her rural property are devoted to different types of gardens, ranging from a pergola with climbing plants as a backdrop, showy flowers framing her deck, a charming raised herb garden, a goldfish pond with verdant arrowhead plants, and a wide variety of flowering trees.

She has over 20 magnolias, with 18 of them distinctly different species.  One has leaves that are an amazing yard long.

The expansive vegetable garden belonging to Dottie and Joel Hendricks is on the corner of Macon and Jackson.  They had grown vegetable gardens on the properties of friends for years, but longed for one near their own home.  When they tore down a rental home they owned next door, they put in the garden they’d always longed for.  Now, Dottie says, she can step outside, gather some kale, and make a fresh smoothie for breakfast.

She began with a variety of heirloom seeds she got for her birthday, and started most of her plants from seed.  With the help of Chris Hoke, she has created trellises for cucumbers, climbing green beans, and three kinds of dried beans.  Arches support butternut and spaghetti squash, pumpkins and watermelons. 

A variety of heirloom tomatoes, including black cherry and Abraham Lincoln (developed in Rockford, Illinois) are supported by cages.  Landscaping fabric between rows keeps the garden practically weed-free.


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