Gardens in Manhattan raise funds for Gardens at K-State

Visitors tour the Kansas State University Gardens during the 29th Annual Master Garden tour on June 11, 2017. The tour featured six residential gardens in addition to the K-State gardens. (Justin Wright | Collegian Media)

The Riley County Extension Master Gardeners held their 29th annual Garden Tour beginning at The Gardens at Kansas State University and five local Manhattan resident gardens June 11.

Attendees purchased tickets for $10. Children ages 12 and under were free. All proceeds of the Manhattan Garden Tour benefit The Gardens at K-State and other local gardening programing.

Gregg Eyestone, horticulture agent for the Riley County K-State Extension Office and Master Gardener, said about $45,000 has been contributed to this project over the 28 years that the organization has had the tour.

“The purpose of [the Garden Tour] is to get people out, see plant material that will grow in our environment [and give] people ideas on how to create their own landscapes,” Eyestone said. “For some people, it’s just an opportunity to get out and share the day with somebody that they like and see what’s going on.”

Micheline Fields, Master Gardener volunteer and Junction City resident, said gardeners of Manhattan look forward to this event every year.

“People from Manhattan look forward to this event every year,” Fields said. “They learn what does well here and what doesn’t do well, so they can go home and plant those flowers in their gardens.”

To showcase a variety of landscapes in the Manhattan community, the Master Gardeners asked local homeowners to share their gardens.

Juli and Gary Griffith volunteered to share their garden because they are part of the Master Gardeners and wanted to give back to the community that makes their garden possible.

“A lot of friends have donated plants over the years,” Juli Griffith said. “[The Garden Tour] is our big fundraiser for the K-State Gardens and all of the things we do.”

Marla Pyle, event attendee and Westmoreland resident, said she enjoys seeing all the different ideas people have used in their gardens. Pyle said several years ago she went through the Master Gardener program herself, so she wanted to continue to support the program.

Jeanee Dunbar, event attendee and Manhattan resident, said she appreciates everything the Master Gardeners do for the Manhattan community.

“[The K-State Gardens] are a true treasure for K-State state and for the Manhattan community,” Dunbar said. “The work and energy they put into making this as beautiful as it is, is so appreciated by K-State alums and the Manhattan community.”

Mark Robb, one of five homeowners who participated, said he and his wife accepted the opportunity because they were excited to show off their garden.

“You get a certain satisfaction just from your own from family and friends,” Robb said. “From all the work it takes to take care of a yard of this size and all the plants that are in it and have it look nice, it’s nice to know that someone else appreciates it too.”

Robb said he got into gardening because it was a nice change of pace from his everyday job and a chance to get outside and relax.

“Gardening is just a really satisfying, calming pastime,” Robb said. “I worked in businesses all my life, in busy offices with 50- to 60-hour work weeks. And if you can come home, get out in the yard on the weekend or evening, just forget about everything else and work on your lawn or shrubs or whatever you want to do, it just kind of takes the edge off of everything. I think more people ought to be more enthused about gardening.”

I’m Stephanie Wallace, and I am the assistant news editor of the Collegian, a contributing writer, and a copy editor. I’m a senior, majoring in English major and minoring in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. You may have seen me riding my scooter around campus as I rush to my classes and much too many clubs. Some organizations I work with include the English Department Ambassadors, K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors and The Burrow — K-State’s chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance.