Kaye House on Garden Tour


Kaye House, the NMU president’s residence on Center Street, will be featured for the first time on the garden tour sponsored by the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee (MBRC).

The 14th annual event is scheduled from 2-8 p.m. Thursday, July 26. Phyllis Wong is pictured near a perennial garden behind Kaye House. 


”I’m interested in gardens and nature, and both Les and I are avid outdoors people,” said Wong, who also is a member of the MBRC. “When we first arrived here and saw the grounds, it seemed like they were part of the wild. We have tried to preserve the park-like, serene atmosphere by highlighting the native plants and complementing them a little bit with assorted perennials and annuals for color and variety.”


In her three years in Marquette, Wong has worked with landscaping artist Phil Pezzuto (Plant Operations) to enhance the Kaye House surroundings. They have added plant beds and a woodchip-lined walkway. They expanded the vegetable garden and surrounded it with a floral border.


They’ve also added a number of decorative touches that reflect Wong’s “firm belief in reusing old objects.” Some are antiques, like the wooden crates from two former U.P. beverage companies – H.W. Elson’s Bottling Works in Ishpeming and Arola’s Beverages in Republic (right) – that are placed among the flowers in different locations. Or the large canning jar propped up in a shaded bed designed and donated by NMU alumna April Meister. Or the planter box made entirely from old barn wood.

Some are items given a renewed purpose, such as sandstone pieces from Longyear Hall that lean against a tree or form a bench. A vine once used for a holiday wreath now spirals the pole of a birdfeeder.


“As you might expect, we share our surroundings with the animals,” Wong added. “There are squirrels, of course, and we’ve seen a fox. There are insects as well, but we don’t use any pesticides. We also try to compost as much as possible.”


Because this year’s garden tour incorporates music and art, two metal sculptures by Dale Wedig (Art and Design) recently were added to the outdoor display. One, titled "Lethal Lover," is pictured at left.


Kaye House is one of eight properties included in the garden tour. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at each of the eight featured locations on July 26 or in advance from the Landmark Inn or one of the following florists: Avant Gardens, Forsberg’s, Garden Bouquet, Lutey’s and Meister’s. There is no charge for children under 12. Desserts and beverages will be served to visitors at Kaye House.

For more information and details on the properties featured, visit Garden Tour.


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Updated: July 19, 2007

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