July 02, 2014 - For Patsy and Jim Carlson of Independence Township, their garden has been a refuge and little bit of Up North for the past 30 years. People will have a chance to check it out themselves during this year's Garden Walk.
"We like to sit out here with all the birds," Patsy said. "We enjoy it. It's very peaceful."
Patsy filled the entire back and front yards with the garden, watering everything by hand every day to make sure each individual plant gets the right amount of water. Flora includes ferns, fir, lilac, pine, twisting vines, hydrangea, buckthorn, bottle brush, trillium, hosta, dogwood, and a host of other trees and plants, with paths winding to and fro.
"There are paths everywhere," the gardener said. "The paths make it look bigger."
Giving the garden a sense of whimsy are metal and stone sculptures of the Cheshire Cat, fairies, Cat and the Cardinal, Pan, frogs, owls, deer, and other creative creatures acquired from all over the state and country.
"Some of it is weird. I like weird," she said.
She also checks out more unique art opportunities such as a chimney stack from England, cupola from the old Pontiac State Hospital, bricks used to paved streets of downtown Toledo in the early 1900s, corner stone from a building in New York City, lighted globes, drift wood art, and other pieces.
People may need to tour the garden a couple times to catch everything.
"The secret to a good garden is some of the art is hidden," she said.
Wildlife is always welcome to her garden, especially birds.
"There are bird baths everywhere," Patsy said. "They're well used. I like to watch robins splash water everywhere."
The Carlsons moved to the Clarkston area 40 years ago. Before, the property was part of a horse pasture with pine trees.
"Linda Meadors and I used to show horses together – she got me into gardening in 1986," Patsy said. "I love it, there's something about putting my hands in the dirt and just watching things grow."
This is her second time participating in the garden tour. She was also in one, eight years ago.
"It's changed since then," she said.
Clarkston Farm and Garden Club's Garden Walk, which features six Clarkston area gardens, is Wednesday, July 9, from 12-8 p.m. It includes music and art, and an Artisan Market, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., on library grounds
Tickets are $15 in advance at KH Home, 27 S. Main; Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce, 5856 S. Main; Bordine's, 8600 Dixie Highway; Birdfeeder, 7150 N. Main; and Clarkston Country Store, 21 N. Main. Tickets on the day of the walk are $18 at the library, 6495 Clarkston Road. Call 248-620-2984.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.