Tahoe gardens come alive on tour
August 9, 2005
Tahoe best yards, lawns and gardens were celebrated as among the best on the South Shore recently during the second annual Lake Tahoe Historical Society’s garden tour.
Seven homes were featured on this year’s garden tour, each with a variety of plants and flowers arranged in fashions that emulate those done by professional landscapers.
— The first garden on San Francisco Avenue in South Lake Tahoe is owned and maintained by Steven and Peggy Bourland-Madison.
This summer marked the 30th year the couple have developed their perennial garden in the Al Tahoe areas. Shrubs, trees and expansive flower beds are unique to the outside of the fenced back yard. Behind a fence was a seamless expanse of lawn, mowed by a push mower, surrounded with a richly planted perimeter of lowers and mostly native shrubs.
More than 30 mature deciduous trees lower the tall pine canopy and cast for lacy afternoon shadows that add to the yard’s enchantment. Many birds have made this yard their own personal sanctuary. The homeowners say the design, development and maintenance of the garden is a labor of love.
— The second garden tour garden is on Winnemucca Avenue in South Lake Tahoe, and is owned by William “Bill” Ledbetter, who describes his garden as “lots of Tahoe.” The original home was built in 1954 on a slice of the Barton Ranch overlooking the Upper Truckee River meadows. Natural meadow grasses and trees make up the primary landscape. The front of the home has evolved over the years, with an assortment of decorative, annuals and perennials. Aspen trees line the home’s driveway, while ferns serving as an arc. The lawn on the south side of the house provides an entrance to the pool area and acts as a separation from the “wild area” where natural plants are nurtured.
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— The third garden is also owned by Ledbetter, and sits across the street from his first and primary home. It is an Alpine garden filled with trees, shrubs and plants that thrive in their Tahoe environment. The hardscape is in the form of natural boulders, San Francisco cobble and Tahoe-style decorative lighting with decomposed granite forming the pathway. The garden is peaceful and serene and a great place to wander.
— Garden 4 is located on Roger Avenue in South Lake Tahoe at the home of Dan Jensen and Karen Houser. The garden began more than 30 years ago with a few small aspens dug out of the forest. There was never a grand plant, according to Jensen and Houser; the garden has just evolved over time, they said. In fact, it is still evolving. The house is small and sits in the middle of a half-acre lot, giving the couple a lot of area to work with. The front garden is formal, with the back garden more of a natural work area. The couple enjoys the outdoors, so there are many small sitting areas around the garden to enjoy the sun and take in different views.
— Garden 5 on the tour is on Roger Avenue in South Lake Tahoe and is owned by David Hughes. When tour enthusiasts walked through the gate they will noticed the very large, 11Ú4-acre, well-manicured garden and natural curving lawn and beds of native plants and hardy perennials. There is a towering lodgepole pine with many trees and shrubs that are beautifully pruned and shaped. Also there are mature apple trees on the far side of the garden. The Hughes garden was planted with the help of his parents and is maintained by David Hughes.
— Gerry and Carol Parker who live on Cascade Road in South Lake Tahoe are the owners of a grand stone and log home nestled into old growth conifers. The home and guest house were designed for the Parkers by Ben Fagan, while landscape to compliment them was designed by John Fellows and installed over two seasons by the Aspen Hollow Nursery crew.
While today it is a serene and naturalistic environment, some of the installation required measures as grand as the house itself. Cranes and heavy loaders were used to move and place hundreds of tons of lichened boulders and specimen quaking aspen, incense cedars, mountain hemlocks and white firs up to 28 feet tall. Unique elements in the garden include perennial setting for large wildlife sculptures, and a custom stone barbecue and fireplace area overlooking the lake.
— The final garden on the tour is on Cochise Circle in South Lake Tahoe. This rustic garden is an ongoing work in progress between the homeowner and landscape architect. It features a path system that divides the garden into woodland, meadow, glade and wetland specific plantings. The removal of a large stump was the “hole” that inspired a fish pond and waterfall, while an opportunity to obtain trees being taken from a new home site led to the lodgepole gazebo and fence. Plant material at the garden, known as Woodland Retreat, are aspen, currant, dogwoods, and thimbleberry as well as ornamentals like Japanese maples, lilas and roses.