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Tour highlights Reading Centre Park Historic District gardeners

Nestled in the northwestern section of a bustling Reading, Karl Ford has spent several years transforming the backyard of his Centre Park Historic District house into a lush oasis filled with colorful flowers and fruit trees.

“Even though you live in a city, you can still have a great outdoor space,” he said. “The space may be limited, but if utilized correctly you can really make the most of it.”

Ford, whose garden showcases many native plant species, has been inviting visitors to his leafy sanctuary for the last several years as a stop on the Centre Park Historic District’s Annual Garden Tour. He said he hopes those who spend some time in space find the same peace and tranquility that he has discovered.

Owner Karl Ford enjoys the porch of his home in the 800 block of North Third Street during the Centre Park Historic District Porch and Garden Tour on Saturday. (BILL UHRICH - READING EAGLE)
Owner Karl Ford enjoys the porch of his home in the 800 block of North Third Street during the Centre Park Historic District Porch and Garden Tour on Saturday. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

“We all work hectic lives, and we need a nice place to relax and decompress,” he said Saturday as people filtered through his backyard during the 26th edition of the annual walking garden tour.

Mike Lauter, executive director of the Centre Park Historic District, said putting the gardening efforts of homeowners like Ford on display showcases the creativity that make beautiful city gardens labors of love.

“We want people to realize what a great neighborhood we have,” he said. “People can take inspiration from these gardens because most of these properties have relatively small backyards so it shows what you can do with a limited space.”

The tour highlighted nine backyards and one porch at homes located throughout the historic district. It featured live music at most stops along the way.

Participants Linda Ibach and Patricia Blatt said they were impressed by what they had already seen at the first two stops on the tour. The friends said they had been looking forward to seeing a variety of gardens and were hoping to get some ideas for their own.

“We love planting flowers and being outside in the garden,” Ibach said.

“Playing in the dirt is what I like to call it,” Blatt added with a laugh.

Ibach and Blatt said one of the best things they had seen on their travels was a rather interesting planter on the porch at 742 Centre Ave. The planter, which was shaped to look like the face of a woman, contained a plant with fuzzy pink flowers jutting out to replicate hair.

“It’s so cool,” Blatt said.

Chloe Wagner and her daughter Lilith Valentine, 1, welcome visitors to their home at the former Harbster home designed by noted architect Frank Furness during the Centre Park Historic District Porch and Garden Tour on Saturday. (BILL UHRICH - READING EAGLE)
Chloe Wagner and her daughter Lilith Valentine, 1, welcome visitors to their home at the former Harbster home designed by noted architect Frank Furness during the Centre Park Historic District Porch and Garden Tour on Saturday. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)
Participants visit the backyard garden at the home of Karl Ford during the Centre Park Historic District Porch and Garden Tour on Saturday. (BILL UHRICH - READING EAGLE)
Participants visit the backyard garden at the home of Karl Ford during the Centre Park Historic District Porch and Garden Tour on Saturday. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)


Source: Berkshire mont

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