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Monday, September 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In the Garden: 17th annual Coeur d’Alene Garden Tour

Anna and Ben Rolphe have created their own private sanctuary in Hayden, Idaho.

Their beautiful garden is the result of a 36-year collaboration between the Rolphes, with Ben designing it, and Anna – a Kootenai County Master Gardener – determining which plants would meet their needs.

“I sketched out many aspects of our garden – the pond shape, hills, berms, beds and buildings – but Anna had to figure out if it would become a reality,” Ben Rolphe said.

The end result is an attractive, 10-acre landscape that is a delight to explore.

You will have the opportunity to see this marvelous garden, located at 12582 Strahorn in Hayden, by attending the 17th annual Coeur d’Alene Garden Tour on July 13. Five gardens will be showcased between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The key feature of the Rolphes’ yard is the 558,000-gallon pond. It ranges from 4 to 9 feet deep, has waterfalls, and houses large-mouth bass and blue gills. The pond is so natural-looking that ospreys regularly stop by to pick up a fish lunch.

“It has become a fishing pond for our grandchildren, too,” Ben Rolphe said.

Many aspects of the garden were designed for their grandkids to enjoy. There’s Granny’s Teahouse – a charmingly rustic cottage – and a fire pit where the kids can roast marshmallows on summer evenings.

The Rolphes enjoy attracting birds, as evidenced by Bird Island, a thickly-planted bed containing 15 different birdhouses. New this year is the gnome garden, complete with tiny houses and bridges, and planted with miniature conifers and roses.

The formal brick patio is edged with planters overflowing with white lobelias and colorful petunias.

A 20- by 30-foot greenhouse is used to produce thousands of annuals for the landscape. There is a vegetable garden nearby as well.

Shade gardens contain heucheras, hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts and rhododendrons, while sunny perennial beds house peonies, irises, Oriental poppies, delphiniums, cranesbills, phlox and coreopsis. A natural area filled with pines and native plants makes one feel like they are wandering down forest paths.

The entire property is surrounded with deer fencing to protect the plantings.

To assist with this sizable landscape, the Rolphes have what many gardeners often wish for: staff. They employ four full-time gardeners during the growing season, including a horticulturalist and a groundskeeper. They will be on hand during the tour to answer questions and identify plantings of interest to visitors.

The following gardens are also a part of the tour:

• Pat and Rusty Baillie, 915 E. Deerhaven Ave., Dalton Gardens – Visitors will enjoy seeing hedges of rugosa roses and grapevines as well as many deer-resistant perennials and shrubs on this 1-acre lot. The owners follow organic practices to grow a variety of vegetables, tree fruits and berries.

• Jean Kinda, 514 E. Garden Ave., Coeur d’Alene – A delightful garden surrounds this 1908 Dutch Colonial-style home. Features include a large brick patio for entertaining, a pergola, fountains and many trees, shrubs and perennials. Other highlights are fragrant lavender plants and a raised-bed vegetable garden.

• Ron and Lynn Houck, 4354 Schilling Loop, Post Falls – Nestled in a tranquil, woodland setting, this garden is lush with perennials, colorful annuals and roses growing on trellises. All of this is protected by an effective deer fence that also keeps out elk, moose and bear. Other features include a workshop for projects and well-used greenhouse.

• Jan Schmitt, 2987 N. Jenicek Court, Post Falls – Enjoy exploring this 1-acre garden chock-full of diverse plantings of flowers, shrubs and ornamental grasses, and two large ponds that attract local birds. One pond has a meandering stream, the other a waterfall, each with pleasant sitting areas nearby.

There will be artisans and vendors selling garden-related items at each of the gardens. All proceeds from the tour will benefit local charities including North Idaho College scholarships.

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via email at
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