KETCHUM • Norm Halliday lives in a 1941 log cabin a stone’s throw from Idaho Highway 75 as it heads into Ketchum. But hidden from view behind the locked fence at 101 Topaz St. is a magical potted garden of snowball-like hydrangeas in a variety of colors, accenting a series of patios that serve as outdoor living and dining rooms.
“It’s a nice place to be,” said Halliday, pausing near a tiny swimming pool with a waterfall. “We have a living room patio on one side of the house, a dining room patio on the other. And we’ve turned a wing of the house that used to be a garden shed into an outdoor bar where we can hand drinks out the window.”
Halliday’s garden certainly fills the bill for the Sawtooth Botanical Garden’s 17th annual Garden Tour, with the theme “Secret Gardens.” The tour, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 28, will feature seven gardens scattered on the outskirts of downtown Ketchum — a few of which are hidden from view.
“It’s a nice mix of gardens that are both professionally maintained and owner-done,” said Kathryn Goldman, executive director of the botanical garden. “There’s a lot of good contrast, and tour-goers can walk to all the gardens from downtown, if they like.”
Linda and Barry Staum bought their large log home at 220 Crystal Court 20 years ago from a Hollywood celebrity. They took out a stand of cottonwoods in the backyard and bought a little more acreage to build a terrace of stone and flowers that blends into the back side of Dollar Mountain with its arrowleaf balsamroot and other wildflowers.
A “bramble bed” sits in an arch created by raspberry bushes. An old jeep road has been paved over with flowers.
“It is a secret little spot,” said Linda Staum as she stood near an alcove where she and her husband built a rock enclosure to hide a hot tub.
Perhaps the two most colorful gardens on the tour are those of Mike Fishman and William and Deb Bohrer.
Fishman’s home at 100 Baldy View Drive features columbines, orange poppies and other flowers spilling down rock terraces next to Dollar Mountain and all through the front yard, which looks out onto Baldy.
For Deb Bohrer, her backyard garden along Trail Creek is an extension of her painting — the more color, the better. Deep purple calla lilies contrast with flowers sporting orange, yellow and red in a yard that was carpeted with little more than blue forget-me-nots when she moved in.
“It’s a magical garden. I like to set things out and live with them for a while to see if it looks like I want it to. If I’m not happy, I move them,” she said, nodding toward some plants in the garden that are still in containers. “I have spent so many trips filled with plants hanging out the windows of my Mini that now all I have to do is get in the Mini and tell it to go to Moss or Webb (nurseries) and it drives itself!”