Industrious and ambitious might be two apt words to describe the gardening efforts earlier this spring of Alpena residents Cheryl Rosbeck and Tom Piper.
Rosbeck ordered 500 tiny seedlings of various annuals that the couple babied in their basement during the months of March through May. Because the woodburning fireplace in their house creates dry conditions, they watered the seedlings three times a day with a turkey baster.
"It gets really hot in our house, up to about 85 degrees," said Rosbeck, co-chair along with Nancy Smithem of this year's Shelter, Inc. Garden Walk.
When the seedlings grew to an appropriate size, she then transplanted all 500 into styrofoam cups and moved them into a greenhouse where they stayed until the last week in May. She also started a number of other plants from seed, such as moonflowers and hollyhocks.
After all danger of frost passed, Rosbeck planted the annuals including coleus and begonia into the many beds surrounding her property at 3547 French Road.
"It was fun and something different," said Rosbeck, who enlisted the help of her 89-year-old mother, Marian Gennrich, to do the actual bedding.
Rosbeck's gardens are one of seven that will be featured on this year's Garden Walk. She herself has been a gardener for 45 years and it shows with her fruit trees, hundreds of perennials, vines, shrubs and pond. In 2005, the property even was named a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat.
"Our yard is very informal and eclectic with no set rules to follow," Rosbeck said. "Gardening projects don't always turn out how you expect, but it is fun to be flexible and enjoy the unexpectedness of it."
The 12th annual Shelter, Inc. Garden Walk is scheduled for July 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at Alpena Community Credit Union, Bushes & Blooms, Neiman's Family Market, Roger's Nursery and Walmart.
This year's gardens include:
3547 French Road
Sixteen years ago, the main back area of this couple's property contained only an aging cherry tree. Today it features several fruit trees, hundreds of perennials, vines, shrubs, decks, an arbor, fencing, three ponds and tons of accent rocks.
2147 Hamilton Road
The Kunzes home and surroundings have always been maintained with children in mind. They like to think in terms of color, texture and keeping it very natural.
Additionally, they enjoy featuring birdhouses, feeders and bird baths to entice a variety of birds to visit their lush and sometimes wild-looking haven.
3444 French Road
A walk through the Mills' property showcases several raised flower beds with an array of perennials surrounded by a variety of stones.
A water feature creates a soothing area to relax and enjoy. Colorful birdhouses, a unique potting table and a private backyard seating area with more tucked away beds are a few of the other highlights.
3557 French Road
This couple always seems to be planting flowers and making new beds that are a mixture of annuals and perennials. Upon her retirement 10 years ago, Mary Ann Colby expanded her small annual area into more plantings, including raised beds.
110 Kensington Court
This yard features a lot of rock, including boulders, low stone retaining walls and stone paths.
The front yard is sunny with a flower garden of bright perennials.
The back and side yards are shaded by mature forest trees and are under-planted with smaller ornamental trees, shrubs and perennials.
Many features in the Donovans' Serenity Gardens evolved from their own faith walk, including ponds, waterfalls, 12 different spots that offer a reflective message and are graced by many different styles and sizes of angels, plus a large cross. The flowers in the gardens come from Sandra's mother, Mary Carey.
301 Long Rapids Road
The gardens at Tendercare Alpena were professional designed with a family focus and routine intergeneraltional involvement in all aspects of gardening. The main garden includes a gazebo and water fountain. There also are garden areas for quiet conversation and opportunities to enjoy nature, all with wheelchair accessible pathways.