The public is invited to stroll through flowers, bushes and trees in four private gardens in Newton and North Newton during the 23rd Newton Flower and Garden Tour, hosted by the Second Century Library Foundation from 9 a.m. to noon June 9 and 1 to 4 p.m. June 10.

At each garden, the homeowners and Harvey County Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions about plants and garden design.

Gwen Claassen's gardens around her home at 2913 Bluestem Ct. in North Newton feature many native plants and trees. Perennials, many of which came from her mother’s garden near Whitewater, her home in Lawrence and from friends and neighbors, include fall phlox, threadleaf euphorbia, echinacea, hosta, daisies, columbine, sweet William, tiger lilies and various herbs.

"My idea was to get the ground covered with perennials, but that wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be," Claassen said.

Claassen decided to use native buffalo grass that only needs mowing once a year on the berms in the rear of the house.

Claassen's gardens draw the eye from the ground-hugging cover plants to an arbor covered with honeysuckle and wisteria up to the spreading tree branches.

"I tried to get the foliage that was different colors and even different shades of green — big leaves, small leaves, different textures," Claassen noted.

Teacups, statuary and other outdoor decor are strategically placed around Claassen's gardens to reflect an "Alice in Wonderland" theme.

"These are compliments of the Et Cetera shop," Claassen laughed.

Rocks are used to create patios, pathways, a chessboard-patterned succulents area and simulated limestone ruins.

Claassen uses raised beds to grow vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, spinach, chard, kohlrabi and peppers in her backyard.

French doors at the front of her house allow her to look out on her prairie and see friends coming up the walk.

"I like to show my garden to people," Claassen said. "It makes it worth it."

Also featured on the tour will be the home of Curtis and Chris Allen at 314 Glendale in Newton. The Allen's yard went from being overgrown with trees, bushes and weeds to being awarded the City of Newton 2017 Residential Yard of the Year.

“We built our home and moved in eight years ago in June and have moved forward with new trees, bushes and many, many flowers," Chris Allen said. "We took a landscaping class from the County Extension Office and tried to follow some of the ideas and plans we learned to add patios, gazebos and retaining walls. We have spent many hours working in the yard, but also relaxing and enjoying it.”

At Tom and Ann Adrian's home, located at 1704 Cypress Ln. in Newton, visitors can see a large yard with pin oak trees in the front and several mature cottonwood trees in the back, all providing shade from the summer sun. The front yard holds several flowering ornamental trees and manicured ball boxwood shrubs leading to the front entry of the house.

As in the front, the Adrian's backyard includes shaped boxwood bushes and flowering shrubs such as a variety of viburnum bushes and knockout roses, along with Japanese maple trees. Two stamped concrete patios framed with potted flowers and a swimming pool gives the backyard both recreational and relaxing qualities.

Tour participants can also stop by the home of Brent and Kelli Glann at 2413 College Ave. in North Newton.

The Glann's yard is bursting with at least 1,500 annuals. Kelli Glann likes to start fresh each spring with a blank canvas; after a long school year as a high school math teacher, each summer vacation holds the excitement of creating something different with flowers.

Since moving to the home in 2000, the yard has been a living and personal scrapbook for the Glann family. When the children were young, each had a plot and displayed special treasures. The yard has seen many changes through the years, just as the family has grown and changed.

A suggested donation for the tour is $8, which will benefit the Newton Public Library. Tickets are available at Newton Public Library, 720 N. Oak, through June 9, or at the gardens during the tour.

The Second Century Endowment Foundation was founded in 1986 upon the celebration of the first century of operation of Newton’s public library.

The mission of the Foundation is to enhance the adult collection and services of Newton Public Library by increasing and promoting educational, literary and artistic resources available to the community.

On the library's 125th anniversary in 2011, the foundation became affiliated with the Central Kansas Community Foundation as the Second Century Library Foundation — Newton.

The Second Century grants provided a variety of enhancements to the Newton Public Library collections beyond those possible through general operating funds. Items purchased with the grants include audiobooks and music, art works, genealogy materials, eBooks and subscriptions to databases, such as courses and Hoopla digital media service, which are available through the Library’s website at

For more information about the Newton Flower and Garden Tour, contact Newton Public Library Director/Second Century Board Secretary Marianne Eichelberger at 316-283-2890 or or visit