by Pat Munts

Summer Sundays mean a reprieve from the regular routine. It's somehow not as imperative that you haul yourself out of bed for church, for grocery shopping or to hit your 9 am power yoga class at the Y. You can sleep in. Go fishing. Park yourself in the hammock with a good book. Do some work in the garden. Better yet, forego tending your own garden in favor of checking out some of the Inland Northwest gardening shows taking place in the near future. Set aside the Sundays of July 14, July 21 and August 5 for the following tours:

The Inland Empire Gardeners' "Spokane Valley in Bloom -- A Garden Tour and Festival"

This tour visits six Spokane Valley gardens, including Dave and Sue Daniel's Japanese-inspired garden, right across south Pines Road from Darrell Daniel's collection of 500 labeled irises (he's Dave's dad).

Three stops in the Northwood area will show how you can manage small yards with lots of shady spots. Lori and David Rice's compact backyard offers both color and texture, while Jill Ruser and Joleen Dike's garden is cheerfully decorated with folk art objects. The Gary and Noreen Newbill garden has a tropical feel with lots of texture and every hue of green. Not very far from Northwood is the whimsical garden of Bob and Sandy Schlecht. The garden tour will also be an opportunity to hear live music and visit some garden-variety vendors, including Leisure Lavender Farms and Bloomers Junction. Lunch from Wabi-Sabi Wok is available at the Japanese garden of Dave and Sue Daniels.

The tour runs from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday, July 14. Tickets: $7; children 12 and under free. Available in Spokane at Northwest Seed and Pet, Mel's Nursery, Gibson's Nursery, Stanek's Nursery, and Tower Perennial Gardens; the Plant Mill and Bloomers Junction in Post Falls; or the individual gardens the day of the show.

Garden addresses: 1719 S. Pines; 1710 S. Pines; 8426 E. Columbia Dr.; 8320 E. Columbia Dr.; 8107 E. Sommerset Dr.; 7713 E. Euclid Ave.

Inland Empire Water Garden and Koi Society's 5th Annual Pond Tour

On Sunday, July 21, society members will open their ponds for their 5th Annual Pond Tour.

In the backyard of Sam Issler and Gail McCandeless, a lively waterfall cascades over five dump truckloads of rock into a lily-filled pool inhabited by bright koi. Spaces around the rocks have been filled in with colorful plants, aspens, grasses and cattails. At Mike and Kathy Miller's, a 50-foot-wide waterfall drops 15 feet into a large pool. As this is a relatively new water feature, it will be a good opportunity to see how quickly a pond can fit into your yard.

In Tim and Sheryl Anderson's garden, two existing ponds are connected with a waterfall and a stream and graced with a large Japanese lantern. In the tradition of Japanese landscaping, the whole setting mimics a natural steam nearby.

In the Liberty Lake area, Tim and Lois Holman have filled their year-old pond with water lilies and planted the edges with an unusual assortment of plants. The tour ends at the spectacular garden of Brian and Terry Abrams, located high above the Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake.

The Pond Tour is Sunday, July 21, from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets: $5; children 12 and under free. Tickets can be purchased in Spokane at Smart Gardens, Blue Iris Water Gardens, Koi Gardens, Mel's Nursery and Ritter's Nursery. In Post Falls they are available at the Post Falls Garden Center. Tickets will also be available at the tour gardens the day of the show.

Garden addresses: 3712 N. Park Rd.; 4110 S. Best Court; 13221 E. Cataldo; 4002 S. Long Lane; 916 N Mitchell Court, Liberty Lake; 23402 Broken Lance Dr., Liberty Lake.

The Associated Garden Clubs of Spokane's 17th Annual Yard and Garden Tour

Our itinerary wraps up Sunday, August 4, with Spokane's longest running tour, which traverses the south side.

In the Basnillos' garden on the slopes of Browne's Mountain, hand-laid brickwork forms paths that take you past flora, fauna -- and recycled bowling balls.

In the garden of Cathi Lamoreux and Dave Lipton, a collaboration between an old artifact collector and a geologist makes for a mix of blooming perennials, roses and shrubs set among rocks and other interesting objects. The garden wraps around the house to an intimate shaded deck just perfect for gatherings of friends.

You could visit Bessie Emery's garden every week and always see something different in bloom. Right now it's the perennials and roses that are at their best. Ask about the plants that also have excellent fall color.

A focal point of Gerry Parsons and Cyndee Northrop's garden is a large gazebo that was shipped all the way from Lancaster, Pa. Paver stone paths lead you through a wonderful assortment of perennials accented by burgundy pots and gazing globes.

Set under the shade of towering pines, the garden of David and Vernice Cohen is broken into a series of small private spaces. Roses set in sunny spots catch the light and throw more color around the garden.

Gary and Jennifer Price's garden also provides wonderful examples of how to play sun and shade against each other using blooming perennials.

Ernie and Margaret Becker's front yard may be wonderful, but their backyard is stunning. It's loaded with perennials that lead to a clematis- and rose-covered trellis. Beyond the trellis is a raised vegetable garden that is a certified Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary.

The tour is Sunday, August 4, 10 am to 6 pm. Tickets: $5; children under 12 free. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the tour at any of the gardens.

The addresses are 5103 E. Glennaire Dr.; 3311 E. 65th; 2404 E. Deerwood Court; 5223 S. Stone Lane; 10 W. High Dr.; 130 W. 36th; 2025 E. 34th.

American Inheritance: Unpacking World War II @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through May 23
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