Manhattan Garden Tour 2018: Showing off the Manhattan community for 30 years

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An American Lady butterfly sits atop a purple coneflower at the KSU Gardens. The KSU Gardens host a garden tour each year in early June. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

In 1989, the Riley County Master Gardener Program began and since has trained 308 people to become master gardeners within the Manhattan and Riley County community, according to a handout given to the tourists of the 2018 Manhattan Garden Tour.

Since then, every year in early June the KSU Gardens Riley County Extension master gardeners volunteer to host the annual Manhattan Garden Tour, which features six different gardens. Five gardens are community members’ personal gardens, and the sixth is the on-campus KSU Gardens.

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The largest fountain at the KSU Garden entrance flows as the summer sun bears down on it. The fountain was one of the most significant things tourists saw as they went on their way to the KSU Garden Tour on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Gregg Eyestone, the Riley County extension agent for the KSU Master Gardeners Program, said on average, about 300 people participate in the garden tour every year.

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Talking with a tourist at the KSU Gardens, Riley County Extension Agent Gregg Eyestone explains what is growing well this season, and commented on how many visitors they have received so far. Eyestone volunteered to help with the Garden Tour again this year by staying at the KSU Gardens station on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

“Our volunteers [have] different chairs every year that take on this garden tour project,” Eyestone said. “We have master gardeners [who] have several projects across the community [where they] have a responsibility to provide outreach to the community.”

Two to three master gardener volunteers sat at each garden location for the garden tour. They answered questions, guided tourists and ran other on-the-site jobs.

Two of them, John Spangler and Lois Morrison, talked about their time as master gardeners and all the years they have volunteered for the Garden Tour and other program projects.

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Two Master Gardener volunteers, John Spangler and Lois Morrison, greet some of the tourists visiting a community member's garden. The Master Gardeners each had different stations during the Garden Tour on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Morrison became a master gardener 24 years ago, while Spangler received his training 13 years ago for his late wife.

“[It was] kind of a memorial for her,” Spangler said. “I enjoy working in my yard.”

This year’s Manhattan Garden Tour was the 24th year Morrison volunteered.

“People are so creative, it just amazes me,” Morrison said. “You can take the same plants, and it just depends what people do with them. I learn something new every year.”

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The Hibiscus flower continually blooms throughout the summer. This Hibiscus was located at one of the Garden Tour locations this year on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

One the gardens on the tour is owned by Charles and Kate Gillum at the Kimble Caste on Poyntz Avenue.

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A fountain at Kimble Castle spouts water in the summer heat. This fountain was located at one of the Garden Tour locations this year on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The Gillums purchased the Kimble Castle with the land it rested on. Charles said with the land provided with the home, it was hard not to develop a green thumb. Charles said their favorite items to plant are “roses because they’re continually blooming. We like the color.” He also said he enjoys hibiscus for the same reasons.

The Gillums said they have worked on their garden for 30 years. Most of their large projects are done for the area, so now most of their work will consist of maintenance.

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The gazebo at Kimble Castle is one of the many areas the Garden Tour participants could visit. Kimble Castle was one of the six various garden locations for the 2018 Garden Tour on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

“There are no more big projects left, [but] there are other things to do,” Charles said.

Kate said her favorite part of the garden is “probably the fountain and sitting patio, only because when we’re here at night relaxing with either friends or ourselves we just get to enjoy the ambiance of the whole estate.”

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Charles (left) and Kate (right) Gillum sit on their patio located in their garden along the KSU Garden Tour. The Gillums have worked on their garden for 30 years and said they were happy to share with everyone their hard work on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Three participants of the Manhattan Garden Tour commented on their experience while touring the gardens.

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Tourists Jenny Karr (left), Chris Herald (center) and Emma Detrixhe (right) read information on the garden they are currently touring. The three visited the various garden locations on the Garden Tour on Sunday, June 10, 2018. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Jenny Karr, Chris Herald and Emma Detrixhe are all three science teachers at Manhattan High School. Herald said she toured the garden tour in previous years, but this was the first tour for Detrixhe and Karr.

“It is always nice to see a variety of different gardens,” Herald said.

The garden tour is just one way the KSU Gardens volunteers and participates within the community. To learn more, visit www.k-state.edu/gardens/.

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