After having to cancel in 2020 due to Covid, the Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners are excited to conduct the Garden Walk on June 26. The event will take place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. CST and feature four private homes, the Loda Prairie and garden themed vendors.

The first stop on the walk is at the Harlows. When asked to describe their landscape design, they responded, ‘Garden Bliss’. This home features ferns gracing a long fence at the back of the house. Numerous perennials, shrubs, groundcovers and trellises plus a variety of hydrangeas bring color and beauty to their garden.

The Gustafsons’ garden has a contemporary Oriental theme. Beautiful foliage stands out with a wide variety of sedums in different colors, textures and sizes. The owners enjoy the butterflies that are attracted to the different blooms in late summer. Special features include lanterns and statues.

The Buse garden began with plants brought from Kentucky and a family farm in the country. There is a wide variety of trees planted for Arbor Day many years ago. The theme of this garden is ‘Landscaping with an Artistic Flair’ inspired by landscaper, Jon Gross. Special features include statues of angels and animals, shade plants, antique clay pots and artistic brick landscaping by Jon Gross.

The Hageland’s garden has evolved over the last 30 years. They couldn’t travel and wanted the feel of a vacation retreat when they stepped outside. Favorite plants include hydrangeas, phlox, begonias, daylilies, sedum and roses. Special features include a small pond filled with lilies and a waterfall. Many of the rocks in and around the pond are from their grandfather’s farm.

In addition to the private homes on the walk, ticket holders will have a unique opportunity to walk through the Loda Prairie. The Loda Cemetery Prairie Preserve is a high quality mesic black soil native tallgrass prairie that contains 130 species of native prairie plants. It includes the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, a federally endangered flower. Special features of the prairie include a pond, sculptures, vegetables, native and heirloom plants. The Prairie Cicada has a presence here middle to late summer and there is an observation deck. Before the State of Illinois became a predominantly agricultural state, 60%-22 million acres-was once prairie. Today, less than 1% of the land is original prairie, mostly along railroad tracks and adjacent to cemeteries. The Loda Cemetery Prairie Preserve offers an opportunity to see how Illinois looked many years ago.

The Garden Walk is a lovely way to spend a summer day and gain inspiration for your own landscape. There is no fee to enjoy the garden themed vendors located near the registration table at Bayles Lake. Vendors will all be available from 9am to1pm.

Garden Walk tickets are available for purchase by cash or check at the Extension Offices in Onarga 815-268-4051 916 West Seminary Ave., Champaign 801 N Country Fair Drive, Champaign 217-333-7672 and the Vermilion County Extension Office in Danville 3164 North Vermilion, 217-442-8615.

Tickets will be available at the Doris Memorial Robinson Memorial Pavilion at Bayles Lake on the day of the walk from 8:30am-12:30pm by cash or check. Tickets may also be purchased online and picked up on the day of the walk at The Garden Walk is Rain or Shine. We are unable to offer refunds or mail tickets. Proceeds from the Garden Walk fund Master Gardener involvement and educational programs at community garden projects in Ford-Iroquois Counties.

The Doris Memorial Robinson Memorial Pavilion is located in Bayles Lake area. This is a great place to start the walk as you can purchase tickets here and visit the vendors. If you are coming North on 57 Take the Paxton Exit #261, turn East at the stop sign on Rt. 9. Follow Rt. 9 to the first stop sign and turn right. Go over the RR bridge and turn left at Rt. 45. Go North about 5 miles to Loda. Turn left at Washington Street. There is a sign indicating Bayles Lake. Follow this road west to the East Entrance of Bayles Lake and look for Sunrise Drive. If you are coming from the south on Rt. 57 take the Buckley exit to Rt 45 South and continue as directed above.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Vermilion County office 217-442-8615. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.

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