Mars Garden Tours

Annette Heller, Leisha Belfiore, and Maria Badic’s Garden Tours
Location: Mars, PA
Date: Saturday July 13th
Time: 10am (We expect this tour to run ~4 hours, but will flow naturally from one garden to the next)

A local group of native plant and gardening enthusiasts has taken root in Mars, PA! This tour will follow an open house format. You may start at one of the gardens, but you will see all three! Annette and Leisha’s gardens are walkable, and then just a short (~7min) drive to Maria’s Garden!

Scroll all the way to the bottom to register!

From Annette:

Our native story started when our yard became an Audubon Certified Backyard Habitat. After years of adding a few natives here and there, last year we decided to convert our yard into a meadow, bit by bit.

This is a good example of the beginning of a lawn to native conversion. We had Gaiascape help us choose the appropriate plants and layout that would solve various issues we have with water erosion, poor soil and mostly shade.

Be prepared to see some wins and some failures in our yard. (Edit from the webmaster: Like ALL gardens! We love gardens in progress)

Leisha’s Garden

From Leisha:

My gardening hobby started thanks to my 2 grandmas and mom, but my native plant habit is due to my husband, Tyler. 

In 2018 he tried turkey hunting on a bordering 40ish acre family property with no luck. I assumed the land didn’t have resources the 3 flocks living on our road needed so I Googled how to attract turkeys. The article I came across had a very small section on native plantings. Those few sentences quickly led me down a rabbit hole to Doug Tallamy and we know where that ends up – shrinking your lawn, removing invasives, and adding natives. All this thanks to turkeys who, it turns out, were smart enough to just go into hiding during hunting season.

Roughly half of our 1 acre is a wooded area with a small meadow. It has a few of the typical invasives present (Multiflora Rose, Privet, Honeysuckle) which I am working to remove with my trusty Maddock. It’s a beautiful little natural area that we added a dirt trail to. We also have a trail cam set up to spy on the other residents – fat raccoons, coyote, deer, fox, rabbit, and squirrels are the usual suspects.

In our habituated area, I’ve been working primarily in our front yard to reduce lawn size. I have a few raised beds for vegetables (admittedly never my highest priority and usually end up as a seed starting area) and have added wildflower beds through the years. I’ve especially tried concentrating on roadside displays for neighbors who use our road to run or walk their dogs.

This year my main area of focus is the shaded backyard. I really want to create soft landings under the Black Walnut and Cherry trees. I’ve added shrubs and spring wildflowers already. I’m smothering areas this summer to be planted in the fall. I have a general idea of what plants I’d like to include and what it will look like. I’ll probably even draw a design that will likely be forgotten as I get distracted during the actual planting phase.

Maria’s Garden

From Maria:

Hello, I’m Maria and I love nature and mother Gaia. My dream of working and being able to run outside to enjoy the plants and tree came true when I moved my business in October 2020. There were already some beautiful plants and trees, but I wanted a lot more! I met 2 amazing masters gardeners who have been helping me transform the gardens to pollinator habitats. I have been removing all of the invasive bushes and any thing that doesn’t serve a purpose for the animals. The garden beds are all around the house and I am incorporating all native plants going forward. I have gotten some of the plants and seeds from my gardeners, also from the Audubon society. I’m looking forward to sharing the gardens with you all.💜🧚

2024 Garden Tour Registration – Mars Garden Tour
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