Art Center to host annual Art & Garden Tour

Published 9:11 am Saturday, July 12, 2008

Seven local garden enthusiasts will open their gardens for the Albert Lea Art Center’s annual Art & Garden Tour Friday and Saturday.

Hours are from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $8 per person, and tickets may be purchased at the Albert Lea Art

Center, Addie’s Floral & Gifts, Celebrations, Ben’s Floral & Frame Designs and Doyle’s Hallmark.

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In addition to admission to the seven gardens, tour participants can attend a “garden party” hosted by the St. John’s Lutheran Home Garden Club at 901 Luther Place. There will be music and refreshments and artist Eloise Adams will exhibit her work. People can also check out the planter contest. Visitors are asked to enter from Luther Place.

Here are some brief glimpses at the homes and artists people will find on the tour.

Dave and Joanne Hutchins

This garden has everything — a series of ponds with three waterfalls, rock-lined paths and flowerbeds throughout the yard. There are water lilies, water iris, cattails, begonias, fruit trees, an authentic antique jail door trellis and a mix of blossoms in a tiny cat cemetery. Root beer floats will be available in the garden.

The featured artist at the Hutchins’ home is Carli Bailey. She is the third of four generations of artists in her family. She describes her work as “coming from the heart, soul.” There are many stories behind her ceramics, fibers, glass mosaics, fish sculptures and oil paintings.

Jack and JoAnn Jensen

An oak grove shelters the Jensen house, but the view is toward the pond, the horse pasture and beyond. Roses, beebalm, phlox, rudbecia and an assortment of annuals line the shore of the pond while hostas and ferns adorn the extensive rock terraces. Some areas in the yard are still a “work in progress” for these ambitious gardeners.

The featured artists at the Jensen home are Val Kvale and Betsy Schroeder. The pair recently started their own business: 1,000 Words. What began as a hobby has blossomed into the creation of bird baths, stepping stones and poetry stones that can be personalized. Using rhubarb leaves for design, their pieces are cast in concrete and reinforced.

Donald and Shirley Chryst

The Chryst home includes both a large berry and vegetable garden and an even larger perennial display featuring spring daffodils and poppies and summer lilies and clematis. Shirley starts most of her plants from seed. She makes her own seed starting containers from newspaper.

Emily Hartranft, age 15, is the featured artist in the Chryst garden. She has studied art for nine years, preparing to paint in the classical realism tradition. She works exclusively in pencil, watercolor and ink in the style of book illustrators of a century ago. Her maternal grandparents grew up in Hollandale.

David and Carol Paschka

Visitors enter the Paschka garden through a Charleston, S.C.-style entrance. Inside, there are terraced seating areas with perennials, annuals, herbs, fountains and garden ornaments. David has enjoyed incorporating bits of history throughout the garden. He used old bricks for patio flooring and built the oak split rail fence. The sand-cast decoration was originally part of Oakwood School, where he once served as principal. The couple has also incorporated interesting finds from their travels into the backyard design.

Barb Butler is the featured artist in the Paschka garden. Butler is living her dream of being a watercolor artist. Her works include floral, still life, architectural subjects and landscapes. She has studied under many renowned watercolor artists throughout the U.S. and shares her talents by teaching and giving programs and demonstrations.

Roger and Marlene Olson

A riot of color fills the Olson yard. Flowers, fountains and garden sculptures decorate the deck, arbor, trellises and two family-built pergolas. There is a planter’s nook, a shady mediation bench and beyond the colorful garden, a long view of Green Lea Golf Course.

The Olsons share garden work.

The featured artist in the Olson garden is Emily Faugstad. She will show oils, pastels, original magnets and note cards. “I feel a certain wonder and joy when I paint a landscape. My experience in farming-driving tractor, working up ground for planting, and chopping stalks-have all influenced my appreciation for nature,” she said.

Mike and Marlys Jenson

The Jenson and Olson backyard gardens blend into each other, divided only by a row of old bricks. The Jenson yard features hibiscus, hydrangeas, hostas and birdhouses. Notice the flower-filled pump, large wheeled cart and gates from the family farm. Next-door neighbors Marlys and Marlene share garden plants, ideas, chores and enjoyment.

Exhibiting in the Jenson garden is the Lens & Shutter Photography Club.

Members of the club meet monthly and submit pictures for competition based an varying subjects. Their creative and beautiful photos are exhibited regularly in various sites in the Albert Lea and Austin area. Several members are Midwest competition winners.

Ray and Lu Callstrom

Some artists show beauty in many ways. Lu is best known for her paintings, but she also has other artistic accomplishments. Lu has created a miniature garden within her sunny, white-walled patio. There are flowers in pots, boxes, on shelves and climbing both sides of the fence provide a cheerful retreat just outside her glass patio doors.

The featured artist in the Callstrom garden is Judy Gordon. She is from a family of artists, including her father, Sig Herfindahl, and uncle, Lloyd Herfindahl. Her first oil color of a clown was painted when she was 8 years old. She loves watercolor and is now spends time “absorbing” art — taking classes and traveling abroad — searching for her own style.