Metro-East Living

Peek into the gardens of West Belleville

The Schraders’ courtyard includes stone walls, arches and pillars, lots of plants, a seating area and a wooden gate that opens to the woods behind their home in Country Club Place.
The Schraders’ courtyard includes stone walls, arches and pillars, lots of plants, a seating area and a wooden gate that opens to the woods behind their home in Country Club Place. Carolee Schrader

Carolee Schrader wanted a patio area that reflected the old world charm of her 1929 home in the Country Club neighborhood.

“I went to the homes show and got some ideas, but nothing struck me,” said Carolee, who owns the home at 24 Country Club Place with husband David. “Then one day I was purchasing something at the Bronx Zoo and I was talking to the owner (Beverly Phillips). I knew she had a talented brother.” She introduced Schrader to local artist Ronnie Phillips, who had painted a mural (at 207 E. Main St.) and done other artwork in downtown Belleville.

“He came right out to our house and did a drawing, which we really liked.”

Phillips took on the project and ran with it. He did everything from the stonework to landscaping, subcontracting out the concrete work.

“He did all the stonework, including a wall, pillars and an archway with white flowers growing over it,” Schrader said. “The stone came from an old church in St. Louis.” He put in a wooden door that opens to the woods behind the home. Boxwoods, arborvitae and white hydrangeas create a peaceful environment.

“It really captured the old world charm I was looking for. It looks very European. The funny thing is, he told me he had never done a garden before.”

The Shraders’ courtyard area is one of seven gardens that will be on the inaugural West Belleville Garden Tour on Saturday. From a cottage garden and chicken coop to a shade-loving woodland garden, the tour will offer a look at personal sanctuaries that have never been on a garden tour. Two community gardens also are on the tour.

“We want people to know that this isn’t just a tour of beautiful, one-of-a-kind gardens,” said Patty Gregory, a member of the West Belleville Promotional Committee that is presenting the tour. “It will have a big educational component with seminars taught by experts, cooking activities including cooking with herbs, and a session on wine and cheese pairings with wine from Illinois wineries.”

The seminars, each about a half-hour long, will take place at 4 Raintree Drive. They are:

Floral Design by Grimm & Gorly Florist, 11 a.m.

Small Container Gardening by Sandy’s Back Porch, noon.

Summer Salad Dressings using herbal vinegars and oils by Tim Meeks from the Olive Oil Marketplace, 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Bonsai and Backyard Gardening by Effinger’s Garden Center, 1 p.m.

Cooking with Herbs by Lana Shepak from Eckert’s Country Store, 2 p.m.

The final event at 4 Raintree Woods is a wine and cheese pairing, also by Eckert’s Country Store. The wine and cheese paring costs an additional $15; tickets are available only at Don Rodgers Ltd.

Proceeds from the tour will support the West Belleville Promotional Committee’s efforts to beautify West Belleville.

Here are the other gardens on the tour:

46 Signal Hill Blvd.: The Doyle family’s cottage garden features perennials and annuals in an informal, densely planted setting. Visit the backyard to see the chicken coop and spend some time with the hens.

8 Woodland Court: The Rousseau garden is a traditional garden teeming with beautiful brightly colored blooms, combining beauty with functionality. Visitors will be drawn to the lush green lawn and inviting patio spaces.

4 Raintree Woods: A woodland garden features shade-loving hydrangeas, hostas and impatiens surrounding a charming garden house with a porch overlooking an expansive lawn. A beautifully planted brick terrace patio with perennials and annuals features a waterfall that cascades into a koi pond.

8101 West Main St.: Bobby Gross and Judy Bender’s “little oasis” is designed around a big foot representing Judy’s occupation as a cosmetologist. Beautiful Japanese lace-leaf maples, along with eight varieties of hostas and many perennials, adorn this shade-loving garden. Even in the summer, the maples produce the colors of fall. The backyard also features large trees and shade-loving annuals.

The two community gardens are labors of love for schoolchildren and neighborhood residents.

The community garden on 95th Street features an old-fashioned white picket fence and archway. Inside, you will see an abundance of vegetable and flower plantings.

The community garden at 7401 Westchester Drive near Emge School was the vision of the Ogles neighborhood residents. It offers children and parents an opportunity to get involved in gardening and growing food with their own hands. It was made possible by a “Get Up and Go” grant.

When you have finished visiting the gardens and attending the seminars, visit the West End Garden Boutique located at 4 Raintree Woods. It offers novel gift and garden ideas, including vinegars and oils from Olive Oil Marketplace.

At a glance

What: West Belleville Garden Tour

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $20 in advance at The Abbey, Don Rodgers Ltd., Effinger’s Garden Center, Sandy’s Back Porch and Eckert’s Country Store and Farm. Tickets are $22 on Saturday at all of the gardens.

Tickets for wine and cheese pairing: An additial $15; available only at Don Rodgers Ltd.