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Falcon’s Secret Garden Tour

On July 22, the Falcon Garden Club held its 16th annual Secret Garden Tour, featuring four gardens from various locations throughout Falcon. According to the clubís website, the purpose of the tour is to demonstrate how the members have adapted their gardens to the challenges presented by planting in Colorado, including low rainfall, hail, poor soil, high altitude and invasive animals like voles and rabbits.This yearís participants were Kevin Mutschler, Melody Wilson, Steve and Rose Kilima, and Dave and Jackie Hilaire.Kevin Mutschlerís garden featured many containers and pots used in different fashions to combat the poor soil quality and lack of moisture in Falconís arid climate. Beyond the main garden, Mutschler created a veritable farm in the back portion of his garden, complete with tomatoes, peppers, squash, swiss chard, lettuce, and apple and pear trees. Additionally, Mutschler created hay-bale beds in which he grows potatoes, and he also grows four different varieties of sweet corn.Wilsonís garden featured different integration techniques, which allow plants to coexist with one another in an organic, natural way. Most of the intensive gardening and landscaping was done on the front yard, but with plenty of space to work with in the back. Wilson said she is still deciding what else to plant. She handed out bulbs for the unique Egyptian walking onions, named as such because when the bulbs at the top of the stalk get too heavy, the stalk tips over. ìWhen they tip over, new plants sprout from the bulbs and the plant spreads,î Wilson said.Steve Kilimaís garden featured multiple terraced levels, a horse-shoe pit, a kidsí climbing structure and a wide variety of plants. He said when he and his wife bought the lot in 2001 and started to build their house on it, the property was completely flat. All the terrace work was done by hand, one shovel at a time, Kilima said. Although he said he does not have as much time to work on the garden as he would like, Kilima said there is always another project.Jackie Hilaireís garden featured several different types of gardening styles, from a fenced-off garden for raised beds to a natural, native plant area that provides a built-in wildlife berm. Inside the walled courtyard just outside her front door, Hilaire purposefully chose plants that require minimal water, including an herb garden. The large courtyard fountain is home to a school of koi fish that stay in their habitat all year long, along with the water lilies ó they have all thrived there for 15 years, Hilaire said.Sheri Lussier, a Colorado Springs resident, has attended the garden tour for a few years and said, ìI always enjoy seeing the diversity of plants and shrubs in creative and beautifully landscaped garden plots.î

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