28th Annual Wachiska Audubon Backyard Tour
by Anne and Lynn Senkbeil, Committee Chairs
Wachiska Audubon’s Backyard Garden Tour will once again be held on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For 28 years the most diverse and interesting wildlife habitat gardens in Lincoln have been open for the public to see. Please set aside June 18th to see the great gardens of Lincoln.
Home owners will be on hand to answer questions as always. Visitors can start at any location. Maps and brochures are available at each site. A donation of $7 is suggested and children under 12 are free.
The tour will include the following gardens:
3425 Otoe Street – Linda Hillegass and Jim McKee
This pie-shaped lot has a large backyard for enjoying the birds. A very large red oak, half a dozen crabapple trees, a hackberry, and several yews provide cover for the birds. The yard also features many viburnums, including Rusty Blackaw, Winterthur, Judd, Mariesil, Arrowwood, Trilobum, and Allegheny. Water is provided year-round and a number of birdfeeders are kept stocked throughout the year. All of this results in great numbers of birds which, in the winter, Linda and Jim find more interesting than television. The yard also includes many flowers, mostly perennials.
6832 Deerwood Drive – Terri and Ted Lannan
The backyard started out as a sterile water-eating bluegrass nightmare. The first year most of the sod was dug up, three large pine trees were brought in, and a pond was dug with a stream and a waterfall. The grass areas have given way to perennials, ponds, rock gardens, and wildlife habitat. There are three water features (with 100 feet of stream and a bog area), several large deciduous and pine trees, fruit trees, grapes on an arbor, and many bushes planted for their berries. Bird feeders and several types of houses abound, with special plantings and feeders for hummingbirds. A pair of mallards visits in the spring. Last year they made daily visits for over six weeks to play in the pond and eat the corn left for them. They became tame and stayed while the homeowners worked in the yard.
1220 Rose Street – Steven Dean and Jeremy Simonsen
Landscaping began with annuals, moving on to various perennials and shrubs. This garden features hostas and hydrangeas situated on both sides of the gate, as do miniature crabapple trees. A waterfall sits near a Larch, Weeping Beach, and several Rose of Sharon on one side, while a Weeping Sweet Pea, Japanese Maple and Oak Leaf Hydrangeas are shaded by the Burr Oak tree. You will notice another hydrangea opposite a Weeping Mulberry and Birch tree as you enter the back yard. A Contorted Black Locust in the middle of the yard is surrounded by boxwoods. Wisteria climbs the pergola from one side with trumpet vine on the other. The pond has a bog with a larger waterfall. Weeping Blue Spruce frame a waterfall and a Weeping Pussy Willow sits in the opposite corner. Penny Wort, Creeping Jenny, and Donkey Tail soften the edges of the pond, while water lilies provide cover for the Koi. Birds are frequently observed bathing in the bog.
1428 C Street – George Spicha
This perennial garden was designed by Judy Gerlich. It has matured with time and Mother Nature. It has a profusion of color and scent, spring to fall, and is a wonderful attraction for birds, bees, and butterflies. Featured are many varieties of daffodils, tulips, lilies, hosta, clematis, and peonies with many bushes including roses, spirea, and lilacs. This garden needs very little water and no mowing.
7135 Englewood Drive – Diane Tharnish and Dan Holland
Diane and Dan have a wide variety of garden plants, which provide a friendly habitat for birds and wildlife in their backyard. There is a terraced retaining wall and pondless waterfall with a patio. The plants consist of several spring blooming bulbs, azaleas, hydrangeas, hostas, and several other varieties of plants. Bird visitors are blue jays, cardinals, wrens, finches, orioles, woodpeckers, and owls.
2031 Surfside Drive – Cindy and Frank Wimmer
With a lot of hard work and love these homeowners now have a haven for wildlife that comes to take advantage of Capitol Beach Lake across the street. On a very large lot they have built a Koi pond with 10 Koi, a gazebo, a small bridge, and quite a few other structures. They have packed the yard with many annual and perennial plants and shrubs. There are also many antique finds in seating areas with bird baths, bird houses, and many bird feeders.
1690 Pawnee Street – Leroy and Julie Monroe
Leroy and Julie started gardening five years ago. They developed a love for tropical plants, especially Banana plants. Every year they incorporate something new. They also like to make it animal and bird friendly.
14th and Lake Street – RhizoCity Farms, Skylar Falter and Matt Pirog
RhizoCity Farms is an urban gardening project dedicated to transforming under-utilized urban spaces into bountiful gardens. This vacant lot turned urban garden is a sanctuary for vegetables, native plants, soil diversity, beneficial insects, and community engagement. As a “no tractor farm,” RhizoCity puts soil health first in order to cultivate highly productive and nutritious food. Visit rhizocity.farm for more information.
17th and Harrison Avenue – Stransky Park
Stransky Park was conceived and designed by Leonard and Angeleen Stransky as part of a $1.5 M donation to the Lincoln Parks Foundation. It is their thank you to the people of Lincoln for their patronage of the Lincoln neighborhood grocery stores the Stransky's operated from the1950s to the ‘70s.The park is nestled in the Irvingdale neighborhood and features a manmade mountain with a three-tier waterfall, a large gazebo, and a fenced playground.
The park is one of the most visited small parks in Lincoln. It is the chosen space for weddings and is the home of the popular Stransky Park Concert Series, created by volunteers of the Irvingdale Neighborhood Association. This annual summertime event has been played by hundreds of local musicians, and is a tradition now carried on by volunteers of Lincoln’s community radio station KZUM on Thursday evenings May 25 through August 3.