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Backyard bliss

Jun. 15, 2013 @ 11:20 PM

IRONTON -- Huntington is just getting started with its Huntington in Bloom campaign but Ironton has been involved in the program for several years now.

One of the projects Ironton in Bloom embraced is a garden tour of beautiful backyards in town.

"It is our major money maker for the year and it is well attended by the community," said Jan Wolfe, one of the event planners.

Lots of people have beautiful front yards but they have found that the backyards are just as interesting and more personal.

This year's tour will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 23. This well organized group has even planned for the weather and set a rain date for June 30. Tickets are available at Weber's Floral, Dick's Music Shop and Merle Norman all in Ironton. Tickets will also be available at the Lawrence County Museum the day of the tour.

One of the six backyard gardens on the tour is the creation of Tyler and Julie Walters. Julie described the progress of their oasis, "We bought this house 14 years ago from my Grandmother and it has been an ongoing process through the years. The pool and was here along with the shelter, and we have added to it over the years."

They had some professional help with their project from Hurley Landscaping and Design in Wheelersburg, Ohio.

"We had expanded the concrete area but wanted to do more," Julie said. "We went to the WSAZ Home Show one year and talked to Bob Hurley. We didn't do anything then but kept their brochure for a year before I called them. They added the fence area, the fireplace and landscaping, then we added the screened-in porch another year and this year we added the waterfall and pond feature."

Under the shelter there is now a modern outdoor kitchen complete with grill, refrigerator and lots of granite counter space with high-backed stools. Tyler and Julie are both proud Marshall University grads and have a MU insignia carved into a granite tile in the kitchen area. Julie also said that their daughter will be attending MU next year.

The family spends lots of time in the backyard entertaining and just relaxing. An example one gathering was a graduation party for their daughter who is the valedictorian at her high school.

"My husband Tyler loves this fireplace and is always fiddling with it as we sit beside the pool," Julie said. "Both of our children Maria and Chase often have friends over for a swim or just to watch TV out here. It is just a family gathering place and it just didn't happen. It took us many years to get it to where it is today.

This yard will be a real treat for the public to see. It will provide others with some good ideas for their own yards. As the tour progresses you might want to take a break and stop by Weber's Flowers and Gifts on 6th Street. Owners, Shawn and Sherrie McDonald plan on opening their greenhouse to display some of their interesting plants.

"We thought folks might like to stop, have a bottle of water and see some of our displays such as the hanging mosaic balls," Sherrie said. "We have some interesting plants also like blue plumbago which is hard to find, mandevilla and braided hibiscus."

This is the fourth generation of this family to own the store that was started by one of their great grandparents in 1903.

This is a great opportunity to see how other folks design their back yards and get some thoughts on what might work in your own yard. This event is worth the drive and the time spent touring the yards.

Ironton In Bloom's 5th annual Over The Backyard Fence Tour

When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, June 23

Tickets: $10, available at Weber's Florist, Dick's Music Shop, Merle Norman Ironton Hills, any Ironton In Bloom member or the Lawrence County Museum the day of the tour.

Start: Lawrence County Museum, 506 6th St., Ironton. Tickets, maps and refreshments available throughout the afternoon.

Homes: Tom and Janie Smith, 1912 South 6th St.; Lloyd and Rosemarie Kavanaugh, 1501 Florence; Karen Marshall, 1638 North 2nd St.; Joe and Rhonda Hacker, 2101 North 3rd St.; Bonnie Donahue, 1526 Thomas St.; Tyler and Julie Walters, 1306 Navajo Trail.

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