Tucked out of view behind the lovely and graceful Chanticleer Inn in Ashland, guests can repose near a lovely and graceful pond, patio and garden.

Tucked out of view behind the lovely and graceful Chanticleer Inn in Ashland, guests can repose near a lovely and graceful pond, patio and garden.

But you don't have to be a guest of the inn to enjoy the hidden gem because the Chanticleer's artful water feature is one of the highlights on today's fifth annual Magic of Water Garden Tour — a pleasant Sunday jaunt that includes eight water gardens in Ashland, Medford and Central Point.

Proceeds from the self-guided tour benefit youth scholarships of the Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts.

The tinkling dual waterfalls charm guests (who leave their windows open so they can be lulled to sleep by its whispers) and bring oxygen to a flock of goldfish and one lone koi hybrid, who survived raccoons until innkeeper Ellen Campbell figured out how to create involuted shelters under the ledge of the pond, which is about 10 feet long.

"The pond really adds so much to the property. Everyone comes out and reads or gets on the wifi," says Campbell, adding that it's hard for her to follow suit and relax by the pond because she's always spotting a few weeds that need pulling.

The pond supports a sprinkling of water lilies and is surrounded by a lush selection of poppies, lupin, monkey flower, water iris, verbena, peonies and lavender. Walkways made of stone and brick are trimmed out with flowering thyme.

The lovely Craftsman-style home, known as the George Carey House, was built in 1920 and given a major restoration 30 years ago by Jim and Nancy Beaver, who, according to Ashland historian George Kramer, were instrumental in pioneering city ordinances allowing the first bed-and-breakfasts.

Campell keeps an herb and vegetable garden on the north side of the lot and hopes to train staff in their botany, so that when she asks for sage, rosemary or parsley to spice up breakfast, they know what they're looking for.

A spacious south yard features a laurel hedge, lots of pansies and other flowers — and a welcoming hammock.

Today's tour runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and begins at Valley View Nursery, 1765 N. Valley View Road, Ashland, where maps will be available. All eight ponds on the tour were designed and built by Andreatta Waterscapes in Central Point. Six are in Ashland, one is in north Medford and one is in Central Point. The tour costs $12 and ends with a tasting from Valley View Winery from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Porters Restaurant in Medford.

Proceeds support scholarships for performing arts classes and camps for low-income youth in the valley, with the Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts seeking to keep the arts within reach of all, says president Joyce Adams.

Tickets can be purchased at Valley View Nursery.

For more information, see www.oregonconservatory.org.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.