Residents tour gardens during third annual Garden Tour in Hamburg

Photo by Sheryle Delewski The Blue Mountain Wildlife garden including the frog pond. On the road, there was even a snapping turtle.

The Hamburg Community Wildlife Habitat Committee held its third annual Garden Tour on Saturday, June 6. The gardens presented each year are all certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat garden.

Each year visitors to the gardens receive a booklet highlighting photos from the previous year’s gardens and information pertaining to specific things in those gardens. In addition, visitors receive a brochure listing the gardens on tour for that year. The tour starts and ends at the Hamburg Park where, at the end of the tour, there is a drawing for garden related prizes. This year’s prizes and refreshments were donated by Kay Greenawalt who heads the Committee.

This year’s participants were Steve and Jolee Keifer and Harold and MaryLou Miller in the Borough of Hamburg, William and Anne Stitzel in Windsor Township, and the Blue Mountain Wildlife butterfly garden at the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area in Tilden Township. Each garden has its own special features and plants. Two of the four gardens were featured in previous tours; however, noticeable changes have been made to both.

The Keifer garden was included in the tour two years ago. This year’s special feature was the storage building erected toward the rear of the property. The building actually looks like a small cottage, front porch and all. Mr. Kiefer mentioned that when he erected the building he kept their grandchildren in mind. He actually built bunks inside so his grandchildren could use it to “camp out” in the backyard. As shown on a previous tour, Mr. Kiefer had built a raised fire circle that is located near the storage building so his grandchildren also have access to a campfire.

In addition to attracting birds to their garden, the Miller’s garden attracts squirrels and chipmunks. The garden is situate on a hillside and thus is a terraced garden. Very noticeable upon entering the garden through the gate is a high pole with what looks like a birdhouse on top. Mrs. Miller pointed out that this is not actually a birdhouse, but is a squirrel house due to the larger hole. She mentioned that the squirrels would not go into the house until it was put on this tall pole. She also mentioned that Mr. Miller built the squirrel house himself and that he enjoys hand feeding the squirrels.

You would gain much information from visiting the Stitzel garden. This garden was featured last year, but it was very noticeable that new plants had been added for this year’s tour. The rear garden is wooded with a stream running through the lower area in the middle. In addition to the rear wooded garden, their garden consists of a fence row of flowers and several islands consisting of various trees and plants. Mr. and Mrs. Stitzel are very knowledgeable about the plants in their large garden and welcome visitors.

The Blue Mountain Wildlife butterfly garden is located along the Schuylkill River. It is back-dropped by the Blue Mountain making it a very scenic garden. The garden features native butterfly-friendly plants, a frog pond and an arbor. In addition to educating visitors about native plants, butterflies and birds, Blue Mountain Wildlife sponsors other outdoor activities and is cultivating strong relationships with other organizations, both public and private, to help in their goal of preserving the area for future generations.

In order for the Hamburg area to maintain its certification as a Community Wildlife Habitat, the Committee must complete several projects in the areas of Education and Outreach, Community Conservation, Partnership, and Volunteer Training. This garden tour is one of the projects under Education and Outreach area. If anyone is interested in volunteering with the Hamburg Community Wildlife Habitat Committee to help the Hamburg area maintain its certification, please contact Kay Greenawalt at 610-562-4329.