See 6 Wichita gardens on a popular tour that’s back in person


The Allen House grounds, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, have been revitalized in recent years by master gardeners to complement the house design with native plants and even quirky plants. This is one of the stages of this year’s visit to the gardens.

File photo

After a two-year hiatus, the popular garden tour run by Sedgwick County Extension’s Master Gardeners program is back in-person and will include six area gardens, including one at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed attraction in Wichita that has been revitalized by volunteer gardeners.

The tour operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 5. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the Sedgwick County Education Office at 21st and Ridge Road, online at, or at any of the featured gardens over the weekend of the visit. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the volunteer master gardener program and its outreach programs, which include a gardening hotline and educational lectures.

Visitors can often get insights and see a variety of plants, which are usually labelled. Master gardeners and owners are also available during tours to answer questions.

Some of the owners have been preparing to welcome visitors to their gardens since they were identified as a potential visitation site three years ago, but COVID precautions have prevented in-person visits from taking place until this summer .

Last year, the garden tour took the form of a 30-minute virtual tour through the yards of four Wichita homes, including that of Mark and Anita Ward’s Eastborough Yard at 21 Lynwood Boulevard that people can visit this year in person.

The garden tour is planned a year in advance, allowing master gardeners to find and tour the gardens being considered for the tour and get photos of things in bloom that might not be in their full glory at the time of the visit. visit.

Visitors to Diane and Randy Rubenthaler’s Wichita West Yard, for example, will see several plants still in their early stages of growth, such as candlestick senna, also known as candlestick bush, bush. Planted in the northwest corner of the couple’s backyard at 125 N. Gleneagles, the plant currently stands about a foot tall with green leaves, a far cry from its mature 8ft by 8ft appearance when it ended. of summer, when it also exhibits pointed yellow flowers.

Visitors should look for a photo exhibit that the Rubenthalers will be making available on their terrace that will show what several areas in full bloom look like later in the season.

All of the gardens—except for that of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Allen House at 255 N. Roosevelt—took years, sometimes decades, to build by the owners. While the Allen House was completed in 1918, the grounds have been revitalized in recent years by master gardeners to complement the design of the house with native and even quirky plants.

Once her children grew up and didn’t need play space, Brenda Anderson began transforming her backyard at 3015 S. Glenn in 2000 from a small shady garden into a gardener’s paradise. Its backyard features over 300 plants and shrubs, winding stone walkways, and a large hand-dug koi pond and second water garden. It took the Andersons nearly five months in 2017 to dig the 15-by-7-foot koi pond.

“I worked hard,” said Anderson, who frequently posts photos of what’s in bloom in her gardens on a Wichita gardening Facebook group called Wichita Ks Backyard Gardens & Farms. “We started digging at the end of June and it wasn’t until November that we got water in there.” With the leftover materials from the creation of the koi pond, Anderson created a second water garden that is now a favorite haunt for birds.

She even converted her front yard into a garden. She left a small patch of what she calls “overgrown grass” as a bathroom for her four little dogs. If she had more land, Anderson says, she would plant more vegetables. Instead, she is growing tomato plants in pots and growing vine beans along a fence.

It took the Rubenthalers 37 years to reach their gardener’s paradise. Now retired, Randy has more time to create garden art, often repurposed from other objects such as glass insulators which he has transformed into a totem pole, an artistic tree and several works of art. metal art. Instead of hanging two stained glass windows on the fence, Randy made cutouts and installed them so they could be enjoyed from both sides. Visitors should look for a face he made in one of the trees in the courtyard.

Some of the hibiscus plants planted along Rubenthalers’ north fence are up to 35 years old, said Diane, who has been part of Extension’s master gardener program for 10 years. Nearby is a pollinator garden which attracts a variety of butterflies.

“My Brazilian verbena is my best butterfly magnet,” Diane said. The couple like to sit in front of the garden on a purple metal bench to watch the butterflies flutter around the plants, which also include zinnias and Mexican sunflowers.

While Diane tends to the flower gardens, Randy maintains the couple’s vegetable patch and herb garden. He set up a vertical metal structure for the vines of beans, cucumbers and melons to wind upwards. He turned chimney flues of varying heights into pots for the herb garden.

Gardens on the 2022 Wichita Gardens Tour

Here is the full list of stops on the garden tour, with some noted features:

125 N. Gleneagles Road. Look for a rocky river bed that runs along at least the north fence which helps with back yard drainage. A bubbling rock that has operated year-round for 17 years except for the occasional power outage is a soothing sound feature and a favorite watering place for birds. A small peace garden with angels and cross statues is in the southwest corner.

950 Toh-N-Hah Trail. Featuring a sunken garden, this backyard took 25 years to complete, said Brenda Aldinger. “We did it all ourselves,” said Aldinger, who has been a master gardener for the past three years. Her husband has four years of experience as a master gardener. This work included clearing a weedy patch that turned out to be a children’s sandbox, an area the Aldingers turned into the koi pond that visitors will see during the tour. Her husband dug the area by hand to create the pond, which is 5 feet 6 inches deep in one area. They replaced the terrace and the gazebo, created raised vegetable beds and installed a large bird fountain. Shady gardens to the rear and side of the half-acre property — including an area the Aldingers call the Woods — are filled with alliums, clematis, and hostas. They are members of the Hosta society. The Aldingers’ court art includes about a dozen vintage lightning rod balls.

3015 S.Glenn. Anderson has created various sections in her garden, which has been completely converted into flower gardens. It has a variety of pollinators and host plants to attract butterflies and birds.

6915 O.35e Saint-South. When their daughter Rachel died, Phyllis and Lee Fletcher decided to create a garden in her memory to help them get through their grief. Shasta daisies, Rachel’s favorite flower, feature prominently in the garden. Fifteen years later and a year after Lee’s death from COVID, Rachel still finds peace in remembering her loved ones. The garden served as the setting for the celebration of Lee’s life service. She has a photo of an older man holding a young girl’s hand in their memory. Look for peonies, hostas, ferns, soloman seals, elephant ears and coleus. The cedars that partially line the back of the property are the backdrop for faux blue indigo, coral bells, ajuga, and sedum.

255 N. Roosevelt. In 2016, volunteer master gardeners began helping transform the exterior gardens of this Wright-designed home that is now a museum owned and operated by the Allen House Foundation. The resulting gardens feature plants native to Kansas, plants favored by Wright and Henry and Elsie Allen, early residents of the house, and some contemporary plants.

21 S. Lynwood Blvd. The Wards front and back yards are the result of 28 years of problem solving. Occupying one of the smallest lots in Eastborough, approximately 95% of the yard is shaded, so visitors will see several succulents, hostas and other shade-loving plants. A west-side pergola provides a more aesthetically pleasing shade alternative to the metal awnings that were over the windows when the Wards purchased the house. Look for reused sewing machine feet and a 1910 stone monument from a building inside and near the pergola. As the Wards landscaped their yard, they piled the excavated clay soil to create holes for the shady plants they installed. Eventually, they used the clay soil to create the foundation for a berm that is now one of the few sunny spots in the Wards’ yard. Look for a vintage stone grinder, once used by Larry Ward’s grandfather to sharpen knives, now reused in yard art.

If you are going to

What: annual garden tour sponsored by the Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners Program

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday June 3 and 4 and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday June 5

Where: Six gardens located at 125 N. Gleneagles Road, 950 Toh-N-Hah Trail, 3015 S. Glenn, 6915 W. 35th St. South and 255 N. Roosevelt in Wichita and 21 S. Lynwood Blvd in Eastborough

Cost: $10, tickets available at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Office at 21st and Ridge Road, online at, or at any of the featured gardens during the tour weekend .

More information: 316-660-0200 or

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