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Art, music part of annual garden tour

The public can tour six beautiful local gardens during the 10th annual Red Wing Arts Association Garden Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 12.

Not only will visitors have an opportunity to see a half-dozen unique gardens filled with flowers, plants, outdoor accessories and yard decorations, but they also will be treated to live music, resource people and art in action.

Each location will have local musicians performing, plus Master Gardeners on site to answer questions.

At work in each of the gardens will be regional artists. They will create garden-inspired art work at each site. Those paintings and other works of art will be for sale. An auction is planned at 11 a.m. Aug. 15 at Smokey Row Cafe, 1926 Old W. Main St.

The Garden Tour is self-guided, so participants can begin at any of the gardens. Arts officials suggested that people who are unfamiliar with Red Wing may find it easiest to begin with the Container Garden at the Depot Gallery, 418 Levee St.

A sheet with driving instructions will be available at the Depot, suggesting a preplanned route. The map showing the location of the gardens is printed on the Garden Passport, which serves as a ticket.

Participating gardens follow:

• "A Rose is a Rose is a Rose." John Rich Park, wedged between East and West avenues, features winding rows of multicolored roses and symmetrical plantings of annuals to welcome visitors to Red Wing.

The flowers in this half-acre, classically designed park accent a fountain, a vine-draped pergola, limestone- stamped sidewalks, and granite benches. And just across East Avenue, plantings and containers decorate the entrance to Red Wing Public Library.

• Dave and Nikki Lewis have tucked an amazing variety of plants into their yard, tour spokesmen said. Even though their yard borders a nature preserve, they use multiple unobtrusive deterrents to discreetly protect their plants from deer.

"As you stroll from front yard to back yard to the edge of the nature preserve, notice the smooth transition Dave has created from beds to nature with paths through black raspberries, edible cherries, and blueberries," they added.

• Paul and Lois Christenson found that fences make both good neighbors and good gardens. Their garden design started with the common picket fence between their yard and their neighbor's yard. Both neighbors used the picket fence as a focal point for flower beds.

The Christensons have an English garden near the fence and a woodland garden further along the property, creating a private sanctuary.

• Falconer Vineyards not only features a scenic hillside of grape vines, but it also has numerous flower beds. Generous sweeps of plants grace a pond and waterfall. Walkways are lushly bordered with both annuals and perennials.

The Falconers have a nursery where they grow grape vines that are for sale. They also start over 500 annual flowers for use in their gardens.

• Charles and Regina Nicolosi's yard resembles a park -- a very productive park, spokesmen said. A 30- by 40-foot vegetable garden provides them with a wealth of produce.

"Start your tour at the front of the house with the perennial beds, then descend the hill along side the garage to view the wall gardens of perennials that run along a retaining wall system in the back of the house," spokesmen suggested. Further down the hill in the back is the vegetable garden. They have lived in the house since 1973, making their yard almost a lifetime project.

• The Container Garden at the Depot will feature both the permanent containers at the site, which have been filled by Sargent's Nursery and Hallstrom's Greenhouse and Florist, plus a one-day display of containers from the gardens of members of the Goodhue County Horticultural Society.

The containers feature plants for both sun and shade with varying colors, textures and forms.

In addition, author Susan Davis Price -- who wrote "Minnesota Gardens: An Illustrated History," "Growing Home: Stories of Ethnic Gardening" and "Northern Treasure : The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Horticultural Research Center" -- will be at the Container Garden from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Her books will be available to purchase.

Garden Tour tickets are $10; they are available at the Red Wing Arts Association and from local merchants.

For more information, visit the Web site, call (651) 388-7569, or e-mail The proceeds from ticket sales and from the sale of the garden-inspired art work will benefit the Red Wing Arts Association.