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Banks' 'cover garden' featured in Lioness tour

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If a property is good enough to be featured on the front cover of the 2013 main Garden Tools by Lee Valley catalogue, it’s nice to have it included on the annual Tillsonburg Lioness Garden Tour.

“I would guess,” laughed co-owner Karen Banks Wednesday afternoon in the backyard of her and husband Ron’s 4 Pheasant Court home.

The 13th Annual Lioness Garden Tour is scheduled for Saturday, August 10, from 1-5 p.m. and will feature six gardens in total.

The Banks’ backyard efforts have graced a stone catalogue previously and been the Lee Valley catalogue “in little blurbs”, but even Karen was surprised to see their yard as the cover garden, upon coming home one day to find the 2013 main catalogue in her door.

“I was going… ‘wait a minute – that’s my statue.’”

The transition is courtesy of an Aylmer photographer, who has taken a series of photos, says Banks.

“They must buy the picture from him and all of a sudden, we’re in a catalogue.”

The photographic fame is timely, considering the Banks’ garden – updated and changed out front – has been recruited for a return the tour by Lioness Ruby Fleming after an absence of several years.

“Happy to help out,” said Ron.

Returnees and newcomers alike will be impressed by a generous backyard combining pond, pathway, perennials, trees, statues and other features – not to mention 103 pots of flowers and foliage.

“That’s not including anything perennial, anything in the ground, that’s just pots,” Karen clarified.

That section alone takes roughly a week to plant, she said.

“It’s not hard work, you just have to say, ‘OK, I’m going to do it.’”

Their yard does require a time commitment, roughly six hours to ‘dead head’ (cull dead material), cull and pull weeds, but Karen doesn’t feel the required effort is excessively crazy.

“You’re here all the time,” she shrugged. “Why not make it nice?”

Admittedly, the prefix to the combined statement is accurate.

“We don’t go away,” she smiled. “You could never ask anyone to water 103 pots – they’d look at you, like ‘no, not happening.’”

Although later than is typical, Lioness Ruby Fleming is pleased to report the 13th annual version of the tour is in fact happening.

“And actually, the flowers are pretty spectacular, there are so many out and the colours are bright.”

Cost for the tour is $10 which provides access to the tour, a map with description of each garden, and entry into a draw for prizes contributed by local businesses.

“And a cold drink and a cookie or two at one of the gardens,” said Fleming.

Those seeking further information can check out promotional material including posters, or call 519-842-3900.

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