Sewickley garden tour full of variety
Backyard inspiration will be sought and found on the Sewickley Garden Tour, which offers a range of gardens featuring greenery and those overflowing with flowers.
“We have six very different gardens that people actually live in. Some have backyard grills, and one even has a trampoline,” says Carolyn Smith, vice president for the event's sponsor, the Sewickley Civic Garden Council. She is also chairwoman for the tour.
The tour celebrates the 50th year since the council formed to bring together all of the garden clubs in the Sewickley and Edgeworth communities. It started with women in 1963 who were concerned about the deterioration of the Sewickley business district. Its annual fundraiser, the May Garden Mart, started in 1965. The tours began more than a dozen years ago. Proceeds provide grants for projects in close communities, including Ambridge and Bellevue.
An air of French elegance greets visitors as they walk paths leading to three terraces behind a 1950s French Provincial cottage in the “Topiary Folley” garden of Anne and David Genter. On the final tier is a dramatically different woodland garden amid old growth forest bordering the garden that was once part of the John C. Oliver estate.
As visitors enter the gate, they see a perennial garden on the left, climb stairs to view three tiers of topiaries, and then walk through a woodland path. The topiaries are professionally designed and tended. Anne Genter remembers when she and her husband moved into the home seven years ago. The garden was mostly perennials.
“They never bloomed at one time, and it was a mess,” she says. “These shapes are interesting all year round. It's even pretty with snow on them.”
Their garden is shared with six grandchildren and two dogs. One is the stone statue of a French bulldog, as well as their real French bulldog, Anna Mae.
“It's a great garden for children to explore, and our dog loves it, too.”
At one time, the space where their house stands would have been a side yard to the Oliver estate. That garden is also on the tour from a different street entrance. “It's just beautiful to look up at that. It is such a contrast in the gardens,” Genter says.
The tour garden with the greatest contrast to “Topiary Folley” is the “Secret Garden” at the home of Sewickley Mayor Brian Jeffe. It's the only garden not within walking distance and is unseen from a road that makes a bend by the backyard.
The hillside garden overflows with more than 500 vibrant perennials, each having a season from early spring to fall.
“This is great stress relief. It's my therapy. If I have spare time, this is where I'll be,” Jeffe says. He and his wife, Kate, have been in their home since 1999. Then, they had five growing children and a St. Bernard for a pet.
“You want kids and dogs to play in the yard. We all had to co-exist — I struggle more with deer than with dogs,” he says with a laugh.
There are no annuals, and many plants came from end-of-season nursery clearances or plant divisions he's made with friends. Each fall, he plants about 200 bulbs with his children.
“It's a tradition,” Jeffe says. “My parents loved the dirt, and it's something I want to pass on,” Jeffe says.
Jane Miller is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Foreign influx in Allegheny County at ‘tipping point’
- Confident rookie quarterback Manziel erratic early with Browns
- Steelers hope group of low-budget cornerbacks can deliver
- Steelers WR Wheaton wants to produce after injury-plagued rookie year
- Steelers notebook: Ben believes rookie WR Bryant can contribute
- Inside the ropes: Roethlisberger may have his big receiver
- Business Gallery: July 27, 2014
- Local golf notebook: Fox Chapel graduate to play in Junior PGA event
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle, Huntington on same page
- Outdoors notices: July 28, 2014
- Construction of $500M power plant in South Huntingdon stalled