MOSCOW — When Jo Bohna moved to Moscow she says locals worried about what she planned to do with the historic home she bought in 2001 beside Rotary Park.The massive cottage craftsman stood on 125 acres with a swimming pool, tennis court and carriage house when it was built by Dr. William Einhause in 1914. It was a seven-unit apartment complex on a city acre when Bohna bought it. The pool and tennis court were long gone.
Bohna calls the “grand old lady” her “forever home” and with her husband Dave Skinner is fusing past and present indoors and out. The home is one of 14 locations on Saturday’s Moscow Home and Garden Tour, a fundraiser for Moscow’s homeless shelter, Sojourners Alliance. The shelter is one of the stops on the tour put together by Elisabeth Berlinger, a volunteer at the shelter’s thrift shop in Troy. As a master gardener inspired by other home and garden tours in the region, she assembled a list of homes in Moscow and Viola. Half the locations on the list include home and garden tours while others are only gardens, including several Moscow Water-Wise Award winners.
“An impressive garden was one of the criteria,” says Berlinger.
Terraced gardens full of thousands of native Palouse plants including strawberries and huckleberries surround Bohna’s home, now a six-unit apartment complex. Skinner is a plant expert with the Palouse Prairie Foundation and a member of the Idaho Native Plant Society. Many starts sold by the groups begin as seeds here.
Nearby, the door from their home’s old metal boiler now serves as a lid for an outdoor fire pit used by tenants of the carriage house. Bohna enjoys blending old with new. Inside the home’s main living quarters her colorful tile mosaics cover walls in the remodeled industrial kitchen and an upstairs bathroom. The dining room harkens to the past with a bucolic green outdoor mural painted in the 1920s.
“I’ve been told there are three others in Moscow done by the same man,” says Bohna. “Wallpaper was very expensive and had to come on the train from Chicago.”
Most of the floors of the home are the original fir and maple cut and seasoned on the property, she says, but there are new additions — like the inlaid floor of a back door mudroom. The seats of built-in benches lift up for storage. The footprints of the people who built the floor, and their dog, are routed in as a signature of their work.
The homes of many master gardeners are included on the tour, as is the master gardener’s Demonstration Garden on First Street where a volunteer will be present. Several of the homes have gardens that are going native. Others are designed for fruits, vegetables or birds. Some homes will offer refreshments, live music or art demonstrations.
Half the proceeds from the tour will go to operations at Sojourners Alliance and the other half will help develop the shelter’s garden, says Executive Director Stephen Bonnar.
Last year the shelter signed an agreement with the city to develop an adjacent right of way as a garden. Four raised beds for food were put in and the garden continues to expand. Bonnar hopes the tour will help inspire people with an interest in gardening to get involved.
What: Moscow Home and Garden Tour 2013
When: 11-5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Homes in Moscow and Viola
Cost: $12 for maps available at BookPeople in Moscow, Fiddler’s Ridge Garden Center in the Eastside Mall parking lot; and on the day of the event at the home of Jo Bohna and Dave Skinner at 1020 E. F St., Moscow. Tickets are also available Friday only at the Moscow Food Co-op.
Of Note: All proceeds will support Sojourners Alliance homeless shelter.