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TS06 – Escape to Eastern Kansas, Where Delightful Gardens Abound

June 19, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 4:30 pm

$105

A visit to beautiful gardens always creates an extraordinary time.

The first stop on the tour is Susan Rendall’s Garden on the outskirts of Lawrence, Kansas. Susan’s garden is what happens when dreams come true. She had her heart set on creating a country garden in a massive way on the prairie,and she did. Come and see what’s possible when a gardener is not restricted by a city lot and her heart is free to create. It’s a showstopper.

Topeka is up next. There are some gardens that make you want to run home and do the same thing, and Bob Saathoff’s Garden is one of them. It’s a magnificent woodland shade garden with a creek to boot. Like most gardeners, Bob didn’t know when to stop. The more planting he did, the more his gardening passion grew. His garden is home to a rich profusion of shade-loving plants. Walk the garden with Bob as he gladly shares what he’s learned about shade gardening.

After lunch, enjoy the beauty and tranquility of two public gardens in Topeka:

The 2.5-acre Ward-Meade Botanical Garden is home to over 500 varieties of flowers, shrubs and trees, many labeled with their botanical names. The garden also features large collections of daylilies, hostas and conifers. For you history buffs, wander over to Old Prairie Town in Ward-Meade Park and see a fully-functional replica of a frontier Kansas town in the 1800s.

The day winds down with a nature walk at Ted Ensley Gardens perched along the shore of a small picturesque lake. See nature at its best as you meander through beautiful gardens, groves of trees, waterfalls, streams, ponds, and bridges crossing over to this and that. Peaceful. Colorful. Relaxing.

BONUS: If you’re a collector of state capitals, mark Topeka, Kansas off your list. You’ve been there!

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Max Participants: 44 

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Included 

  • Water on the bus 
  • Lunch 

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What to Bring 

Wear comfortable walking shoes. Sun hat recommended. 

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Accessibility 

  • Rendall Garden: Tour goers with a wheelchair will need assistance. The garden is one level but has some elevation. Mulched paths.
  • Saathoff Garden: Mulched paths. Twenty feet of stone steps with no rail. Guides are on hand to assist anyone needing help with the steps.
  • Ward-Meade Botanical Garden: Tour goers with a wheelchair will need assistance. Mulched paths. Two small footbridges with wooden-rail floors. Lunch area is flat and lightly mulched.
  • Ted Ensley Gardens: Concrete walkway the length of the park. Some entries into garden areas from the walkway are lightly mulched. 

ITINERARY

The morning starts with a 45-minute ride to Lawrence, Kansas.

Susan Rendall’s Private Garden (Lawrence, KS)

Susan Rendall’s garden is what happens when dreams come true. She had her heart set on creating a country garden in a massive way, and she did. In 2001, she and her husband Doug bought a house on five acres of prairie and got to work. Come and see what’s possible when a gardener is not restricted by a city lot. Today, this one-acre garden is a showstopper against the backdrop of four acres of whispering prairie and open sky.

Because of the sheer size of the garden, Susan chooses natives and flowering plants, shrubs, and trees that thrive without a lot of extra tending to. What’s especially noteworthy about this garden is how Susan went about designing it. As a costume designer (she heads up the costume shop for the Theater Department at KU), she took her natural sense of color, shape and texture and applied them to garden design.

For Susan, creating a garden is like costuming a show and creating scenes in a play.

  • Each individual garden has a star, which varies by season, a chorus line (drifts of similar plants) and casts of supporting characters (plants that enhance but don’t dominate the scene).
  • She mixes drama and color with a bit of magic.
  • The “scene” separators are winding pathways, arbors, a pergola and dry-stacked walls.
  • There’s a strong connection between the well-tended garden and the wilder landscape around it.

Susan directs a show that, season after season, gets a standing ovation.

Robert and Cheryl Saathoff’s Private Garden (Topeka, KS)

Next, head west to Topeka. There are some gardens that make you want to run home and do the same thing, and Bob Saathoff’s garden is one of them. It’s a magnificent woodland shade garden with a creek to boot. Step through the wooden arbor and be transported to a woodland paradise. Like most gardeners, Bob didn’t know when to stop. The more planting he did, the more his gardening passion grew. A retired civil engineer, Bob does all the landscape design, plantings, hardscape, and water features himself, including an extensive irrigation system.

His garden is home to a rich profusion of shade-loving plants.

Astilbe Azaleas Beauty berries
Boxwood Brunnera Buckeyes
Conifers (85+) Coral bells Ephemerals
Epimedium Ferns (50+ varieties) Golden wood poppy
Grasses Ground covers Hepatica
Hostas (600+ varieties) Hydrangeas Japanese maples (70+)
Ligularia Pawpaw trees Pulmonaria
Solomon’s Seal Trillium Viburnums
Wahoo trees

Walk the garden with Bob and learn more about:

  • The many ways to add color to a woodland garden and keep it going from spring onward.
  • Planning and design considerations.
  • Choosing plants that are most likely to succeed.
  • Plants to stay away from.
  • Shade garden mistakes to avoid.
  • Plants that are easy to divide to expand your shade garden economically.

This is the ultimate made-in-the-shade garden. Soak up the sights, sounds and smells!

Ward-Meade Botanical Garden (Topeka, KS)

Time for lunch. Hop back on the bus for the short ride to Ward-Meade Park and its Botanical Garden. Enjoy a tasty meal in a beautiful and peaceful setting.

We’re here for about an hour. Relax and visit, or explore the 2.5-acre Botanical Garden with its many display gardens and plant collections. It’s home to over 500 varieties of flowers, shrubs and trees, many labeled with their botanical names. The garden also features large collections of daylilies, hostas and conifers

If you’re a history buff, you may want to wander over to the other parts of Ward-Meade Park.

  • Explore Old Prairie Town, a fully-functional replica of a frontier Kansas town in the 1800s.
  • Walk through the Ward-Meade Victorian mansion, the largest home in Topeka in 1870.
  • See a replica of a Native American village, which tells the story of Northeast Kansas prior to the 1840s.

Ted Ensley Gardens at Lake Shawnee (Topeka)

The day winds down with a nature walk at Ted Ensley Gardens perched along the shore of a small picturesque lake. See nature at its best as you meander through beautiful gardens, groves of trees, waterfalls, streams, ponds, and bridges crossing over to this and that. Sit on a bench and take in the panoramic lake view. Although the gardens are extensive (37.5 acres), the walking path is perfect for leisurely strolls. It’s short, paved and flat.

Peaceful. Colorful. Relaxing. You’ll see why Kansas Citians take a day trip to Topeka just to walk the gardens.

As John Muir says, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

After a full day of gleaning ideas and filling your senses, it’s time to board the bus for the 70-minute ride back to the Convention Center. We should arrive around 4:30 p.m.

 

 

Details

Date:
June 19, 2023
Time:
7:30 am - 4:30 pm
Cost:
$105
Event Category: