Merion Village resident Kathy Heinlein's garden is about color -- lots and lots of it.

Merion Village resident Kathy Heinlein's garden is about color -- lots and lots of it.

"I've built a real oasis," she said. "Above all else I'm a flower gardener. I believe in color and my house is colorful."

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 6, Heinlein and nine other area gardens will be on display for the 9th Annual Merion Village Garden Tour. An estimated 500 people are expected to attend the free event.

For Heinlein, the tour is a way for her to show off her work, which she begins planning in winter.

"Just because I'm driving myself crazy picking all the weeds out doesn't mean I'm not thrilled to show my garden," Heinlein said. "A real gardener wants to share their garden."

Aside from color, Heinlein's garden at 1557 S. High St. utilizes containers.

"I put a little garden in each pot," Heinlein said. "As something quits blooming I pick (a pot) up and move it."

Nonetheless, it hasn't been easy growing her garden.

"When I moved in, in the early '90s, there was nothing, no tress, not shrubs, no flowers - there was only one old rose bush," Heinlein said.

Heinlein said the garden tour is a way to show off Merion Village, but also to inspire gardeners.

"This gives people the opportunity to come and see what regular people can do with their yard," Heinlein said. "I've never spent a penny on a landscape designer."

Laura Geist will be showing off her garden at 43 E. Mithoff St.

Geist said she was asked several times to be on the tour and declined until this year.

The reason, she said, was because the garden wasn't ready, at least until now.

"I keep my yard trimmed and manicured pretty well because that is my relaxation," Geist said, adding she works on the garden five days a week when possible.

The only theme to Geist's garden is her own taste. Some of the plant varieties will include: hydrangea, boxwood, wisteria, Jacobs Ladder, Forget Me Not, daisies and Arizona Sun Blanket.

Geist said no two gardens will be the same.

"I think they are tailored to the personality of the owners," Geist said.

Bill Doughton, who helped organize the event, said this year's tour doesn't have a theme.

He said a benefit to the Merion Village tour is that it allows tourgoers to travel freely throughout the area.

"You explore at your own pace, you visit in your own order," he said. " We want people to wander a bit and see what they like."

One of the highlights of the tour will be the unnamed pocket park at 241 E. Morrill Ave. that was adopted in 2001 by the Urban Achievers 4-H group and local residents. Currently, the group is holding a naming contest that ends July 30.

Tour maps will be available at the Merion Village Information Center, 1330 S. Fourth St.

Aside from the pocket park and Heinlein and Geist's gardens, the rest of the tour stops are: 62 E. Mithoff St., 130 E. Mithoff St., 269 E. Mithoff St., 304 Hanford St., 1295 City Park Ave., 1358 S. Fourth St. and1330 S. Fourth St.

dcross@thisweeknews.com