Peaceful retreat
Marie Leslie’s garden at 1924 Franklin St., featured on the Garden Tour, recently earned Certified Wildlife Habitat status. See today’s Daily Gate City for additional photos.

No two gardens are alike, and the five gardens featured in this year’s Garden Tour hosted by the Keokuk Garden Club are no exception to that rule.

During the annual event from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, see lush landscapes ranging from wildlife-friendly to whimsical.

Wildlife habitat

Marie Leslie has lived at 1924 Franklin St. since March 2016. In that time, she has transformed her backyard into a haven for deer, birds and other critters. Her garden recently received Certified Wildlife Habitat status from the National Wildlife Federation.

Leslie’s yard features food, water, nesting places and cover. Deer nourish themselves with hostas and water from a small pond that is home to four goldfish. Feeders for hummingbirds and other species are plentiful. A brush pile in the back corner of the yard provides a winter retreat and nest-building material for birds.

Leslie uses the sunniest part of her yard as a container garden, growing zucchini, tomatoes and flowers. She’s also planning to add a pollinator garden, and wants to plant irises along the fence line.

She draws inspiration from her father, who grew a half-acre garden each year and instilled in his daughter a love of the land, plants, trees and wildlife.

Master gardeners

Paul and Shirley Townsend’s spacious lawn at 1028 Franklin St. boasts a wide array of unique and hard-to-find plants.

“You find all kinds of unusual things at Master Gardener seminars,” said Shirley, who along with her husband has maintained Master Gardener status for a number of years.

She’s especially proud of their staghorn fern, which resembles a mounted deer head, affixed on an old barn board to the side of the potting shed in the backyard. One of their newest acquisitions is a Weeping Ruby Redbud tree, which Shirley received for Mother’s Day.

The Townsends have been gardening at the home, which features two inviting wraparound porches, for more than 40 years. Stepping stones their grandsons crafted as children still lead the way to…