Publication Article

“Visalia YMCA tour opens up four local residences to visitors” – Visalia Times Delta Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

By Hillary S. Meeks

The upcoming annual Visalia YMCA Garden Tour is about more than just plants, according to Cheryl Levitan, who owns one of the homes on the tour. “I think of it as an exterior house tour” she said. The Levitans’ front and back gardens do correlate well with the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture of their 6000-square-foot home. Clean lines and a minimalist approach create a practical garden setting that Levitan said is inviting for outdoor relaxation.

The Levitans yard was designed by Visalia landscaper Steve Cox of Plant Systems Inc., whom Cheryl Levitan praised for his creativity and practicality. He created the garden when she and her husband, Dr. Dean Levitan, moved into the house two years ago. It was Cox’s idea to put kumquat trees and a variety of other plants in large, self watering pots throughout the garden which Levitan enjoys for both their beauty and ease of care.

Another notable feature in the Levitan garden is a large, rusted metal fountain that Levitan said “looks like fire” when it’s lighted at night. Fire is also the center of attention in a living area just off the house. A semicircle of steel and wicker chairs surrounds a stainless steel gas fireplace with unusual ceramic shapes in place of logs.

The most prominent plants in the scene are palm trees, which Levitan said she loves. But beneath the fronds is a bright array of flowers and perennials, such as the variegated summer gold agapanthus that sprawls like ocean life in the front-yard beds.

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