Saturday, June 23, 2018

Paco-vicunas Highlight of the LAC Garden Tour

Who needs flowers when you've got these funny fuzzy creatures to ogle?  Garden #4 on the Lakewood Arts Council's Annual Garden Tour featured an alpaca farm.  First of all, who knew there was an alpaca farm tucked back behind Hampden Ave near Foothills Golf Course?  Jean and Arthur Levene bought this 1859 homestead 25 years ago, built a "mail-order" house and other buildings on the property and have raised alpacas, llamas and vicunas for their fleece, which they sell to fiber artists and crafters. 
Jean obviously loves her animals, knowing many of the 150 camelids by name.  Some are more friendly than others, but if they let you pet them, you find how fine and soft their fur is, and can understand why it's in such demand for clothing and other goods. 
Tour guests were allowed to wander in the pens while Jean answered questions and provided info about the care and needs of these special animals. 
As the volunteer garden-sitter, I not only got to enjoy talking with the visitors, but also got to spend time with the paco-vicunas, or PV's as she calls them.
 Many guests said this was the highlight of the tour, but the other 6 locations also provided delight for the senses.

Three train gardens this year inspired wonder in young and old alike.  These are definitely a labor of love!  Surprises lurk at every bend: a chain gang here, dinosaurs there.  
An addition to last year's train garden (Garden #7 which was added later) was a hand-built city, buildings being named after family members. 
Even a funeral home had its place -- we all wondered who that might have been named after though! A garden with a labyrinth,

a chicken coop, a community garden flanked by public artworks (along the 40West Greenline)
and of course lots of gorgeous blooms under a beautiful blue sky made this year's annual Garden Tour a successful and delightful fundraiser for the Lakewood Arts Gallery.  Can't wait to see what they come up with for next year's tour!

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