July 5, 2009 in Features

CdA Garden Tour returns to Walker-Corsini’s masterpiece

Susan Mulvihill Correspondent
 
Kathy Plonka photo

kathypl@spokesman.com Gardener Paul Walker of Hayden, Idaho stands next to his tribute to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. His garden is part of this year’s Coeur d’Alene Garden Tour.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

If you go

Coeur d’Alene Garden Tour

When: Next Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 the day of the tour, available at Ace Hardware, Fourth and Harrison, Coeur d’Alene; Aspen Nursery, 6075 Commerce Loop, Post Falls; Coeur d’Alene Garden Center, 1619 W. Lee Court, Coeur d’Alene; Huckleberry Nursery, Highway 95 and Lancaster, Hayden, Idaho; Northland Nursery, Highway 41 and Prairie, Post Falls; Riverview Nursery, 6064 N. Government Way, Coeur d’Alene; Westwood Gardens, 15825 N. Westwood Drive, Rathdrum, Idaho; Stanek’s Nursery, 2929 E. 27th Ave., Spokane.

More information: (208) 664-0987 or (208) 772-3148

The garden of Paul Walker and Richard Corsini is so special, the Coeur d’Alene Garden Club decided people should get to see it again.

Located at 11185 Avondale Loop in Hayden, Idaho, this is one of five gardens being showcased in the 12th annual Coeur d’Alene Garden Tour next Sunday.

The Walker-Corsini garden was on the 2004 tour and has been brought back as one of the “best of the best” gardens, according to tour chair Bonnie Warwick.

“Paul’s eye for light, shade and texture, as well as his attention to detail, makes this garden breathtaking at every turn,” she said during a recent preview of the garden.

After Walker and Corsini purchased the home in 2000, the biggest challenge was the clean-up of logs, debris, weeds and forest underbrush.

“We began creating the garden as soon as we moved in,” Walker said, “but I had a five-way (coronary) bypass a couple months later that slowed me down for a bit.”

Now 82 and with two hip replacements, he has found that the garden helps keep him healthy and active.

Walker’s 57-year career as a wedding photographer is the primary reason why this garden is so appealing to the eye.

“I like to create a picture-perfect garden. Whatever I plant, I look at it as a picture and if it doesn’t look right, I change it,” he explained.

Repeat visitors to the garden will find that it is more lush and mature. Beds of hostas have been added, extensive collections of succulents grow among river rock and in containers, and Walker has created a tribute to 9/11 using leftover pieces of granite from a monument company.

He also uses salvaged materials like old grates from a Kirtland Cutter home, galvanized culverts and other materials to create sculptures and planters.

One of Walker’s signature looks is stacked, arranged rocks that edge planting beds or create a statement of their own.

Retired after working 30 years for Delta Airlines, Corsini enjoys displaying the garden art he has collected from around the world. He has pruned shrubs into “waves” that remind him of the ocean near his second home in Southern California.

In place of lawns, Walker and Corsini grow English and Irish moss, which are hardy for this region, soothing to the eye and create a soft carpet to walk on.

In the beds, most of the plants they grow are easily found in nurseries.

“We don’t have a lot of exotic plants in our garden,” Walker said. “We have run-of-the-mill plants that you can find anywhere. With a little planning, pruning and placement, any gardener can do what we’ve done here.”

Visitors to the garden have often asked for permission to take photographs, Walker said.

“I’d love them to, it’s very flattering,” he said. “I hope someone will enjoy our garden and go home with an idea to copy.”

Next Sunday, garden tour poster artist Ginger Rose will be on hand to sign this year’s poster.

The following gardens also are part of the tour:

•Dan Dolezal and Vern Harvey, 4405 Vista Loop, Coeur d’Alene – This garden is also labeled as one of the “best of the best.” Previously part of the 2005 tour, it features many specimen plants which are protected by the new addition of a deer fence draped with grapevines. Water features, garden rooms, emus and exotic chickens add to the experience.

•Bill and Pat Turner, 1020 23rd St., Coeur d’Alene – In addition to the many perennials and vines featured in this garden, the homeowners’ energy-efficient shop building with its solar collectors and other energy-conserving features will capture the attention of visitors. There will also be artisans and a marketplace of vendors selling garden-related items and plants here.

•Steve and Marj Croyl, 9311 N. Torrey Lane, Hayden – This garden has a waterfall and 50-foot creek, which can be crossed on Steve Croyl’s hand-built teak bridge. Plantings include ornamental grasses, dahlias, butterfly bushes and many colorful annuals and perennials.

•Tim and Teresa Laws, 801 E. Pearl, Hayden Lake – Billed as a woodland retreat, the garden has meandering river beds, lush plantings of ferns and hostas, a new potting shed and vegetable garden.

Proceeds from the tour will benefit local charities and scholarships at North Idaho College.

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via e-mail at inthegarden@live.com.


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