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Garden tour host: 'This is the life'

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Oct. 16, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.
Updated Oct. 17, 2012 at 5:17 a.m.

Victoria Master Gardeners are hosting a garden tour across Victoria where people can pay a fee to tour their home gardens.

IF YOU GO

•  WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Six homes throughout Victoria. The highlighted plant sale at the Hiller House is Saturday only.

COST: $15

TICKETS: Available at Earthworks, Devereux Gardens on North Navarro Street and the Texas AgriLife Extension Office.

In a manicured flower bed near the entrance of Gail Dentler's home, a decorative stone reads, "Life Begins in the Garden."

But Dentler's front yard is a mere preview of the gardening artistry that blankets the yard in the rear of the home.

Winding desert-colored stones and a curved cerulean swimming pool offset the purples, reds, pinks, greens and blues blooming in harmony across the lawn.

"When we first moved here, there was just this rectangular patio," Dentler said, pointing to a modest patio area that was once encompassed by bare grass. "I laid out the design ... and we've been working on it for about four or five years."

With her husband and fellow gardening hobbyist, Dr. Stephen Dentler, the pair have opened their home, and more specifically, their gardens, to be featured in this weekend's 2012 Victoria Garden Tour.

Themed "This is the Life," Dentler's home garden is among six gardens in Victoria to be selected for the tour, which is expected to be visited by more than 700 plant enthusiasts on Saturday and Sunday.

"I was asked three times before I agreed to do this," Dentler giggled. "You always get a little nervous when you open your home for something like this."

Dentler's eye for landscaping and experience as a former member of the Victoria Master Gardener Association helped inspire the fusion of her garden's exotic flowers, such as her bat-faced cupheas, with more traditional plants and flowers, such as her purple lanterns and pink rose bushes. There's even a Meyer lime tree blooming near a second patio area.

"I think anybody can do this. A lot of it is making mistakes and seeing what will grow," she said.

Debbie Krueger, Victoria Garden Tour chairwoman, said each garden on the tour is unique and will help fellow green-thumbers come up with ideas for their own gardens.

"It's fun to go just to get different ideas and to see what works for somebody else that you may want to try at home," Krueger said. "Everybody likes a pretty yard. It's very inspiring if you like to see how other people's yards look."

Krueger said attendees are encouraged to take notes and ask questions while on tour, which will be guided by docents at each location.

Many of the plants will be labeled with corresponding number identifiers found in the tour booklets.

At the end of the tour, Hiller House will be selling some of the plants featured on the tour.

Proceeds from the $15 ticket sales, as well as the plant sales at Hiller House support the Victoria Master Gardener Association.

"We're excited about it," Krueger said. "The homes are beautiful. It's a short drive from each house, and the weather is supposed to be pretty."

Agreeing with Krueger, Dentler said, "It's a good way to support the community and the Master Gardeners."

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