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Share ‘a labor of love’ | News, Sports, Jobs


Photo by Deb Gau Brightly colored flowers and garden ornaments help give the flower beds at Val and Lori Eberspacher’s home in rural Marshall a unique look. The Eberspachers’ garden will be one of the stops on the Tracy area garden and quilt tour this year.

MARSHALL – There are all kinds of flowering plants in Lori and Val Eberspacher’s garden – from petunias and roses to bright red geraniums. And next week, they can share them with visitors to the Tracy Area Garden and Quilts Tour.

“It’s a labor of love,” said Lori Eberspacher.

Eberspacher said she was looking forward to Wednesday’s tour.

This year’s tour will feature parks and gardens in the Milroy area, as well as more than 100 quilt pieces on display, said Garden and Quilt Tour Committee Member Elise Lanoue. The tour, a fundraiser for the Catholic Women’s Council of St. Mary’s in Tracy, will take place from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Tour organizers are hoping for a good crowd next week, Lanoue said.

“We had 290 people last year, and they came from all over,” she said. “I think quilts are a huge draw.”

This year’s tour will feature a variety of quilt items from the region. Some of the quilters, like Jana Milbradt and Elvera Benson, have been sewing for many years. Quilter Jada Johns, 16, learned to sew from her grandmother Jolynn Johns. Jada and Jolynn will have quilts on display during the tour.

Each of the gardens on the tour will have something unique to see. Milroy residents Amy and Jamie Larsen have created a heart-shaped garden in memory of their daughter Brooklyn, with plants and flowers that would attract butterflies.

Over the course of more than 20 years, Jean and Don Schmidt have added flowers, trees and even features like a walking rosary to their yard in the Milroy countryside. Carole Snyder’s garden includes both a rock garden and a shady garden.

The George Lanoue family welcomes visitors to “Wild Acres Park.” Over time, the Lanoues have worked together to create and maintain a family gathering place with flowers, playground equipment and more.

Lori Eberspacher said she and her husband have both come up with different ideas for their garden over the years.

“There is a lot of red” because Val’s favorite flowers are red geraniums, she says. They also added unique touches like large round planters made from old pig feeders.

“The only thing I did differently this year was I potted more little things,” said Eberspacher.

The smaller pots will help add visual interest for tour visitors.

Visitors to the tour can sample ice cream and pies prepared by members of St. Mary’s Church, which will be served at the Eberspacher Garden site. There will also be a chance to enter a raffle with prizes including a quilted blanket and matching cushion, both squeaked by Jolynn Johns.

Tickets for the Garden and Quilt Tour are $15 and will be available Wednesday at Greenwood Nursery in Marshall and Milroy City Park.

Lanoue said the tourist spots will each be marked with colorful windsocks to help guide visitors. Some sites will also have the option of doing tours on horseback, with carriages available for participants.

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