Fantastic flora in view in tour of Stow gardens
If you just need to get away from it all, you might not have to go further than – well, someone else’s backyard.
There, you might see a spectacular bloom of magnolias. Or annuals and perennials, restrained in appearance but offering their own subtle charms.
That’s because a backyard garden is both an art and a science, and a reflection of the growers’ vision and dreams.
This weekend, several gardeners in Stow are sharing their horticultural visions with visitors.
The gardens can be seen on City Spaces, Country Places Garden Tour a self-guided tour of five private gardens set for Sunday, June 29.
The tour is sponsored by Tower Hill Botanic Garden, and benefits Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s education programs and more.
City Spaces, Country Places is Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s annual tour of various private gardens in the area. The event, now in its 14th year, raises between $6,000 and $8,000.
Those who purchase tickets for the tour get maps with suggested routes.
“We work with garden clubs throughout Worcester county and even beyond,” said Michael Arnum, director of marketing and public relations for Tower Hill Botanic Garden. “The garden owners are there, too, and they are there to share what they have done and why. There’s nothing like the education of a gardener like seeing what grows in your own climate, what they become. You get good ideas for perennials and garden adornments.”
Arnum said, part of the education of a gardener is understand which plants should not be grown because there invasive, non-native species that have compromised native plants, such as purple loosestrife and bittersweet.
A committee reviews gardens that might make for great stops along a garden tour, reviewing criteria that not only include beauty, creativity and presentation but accessibility.
“You are having 400 or 500 people looking at someone’s garden,” Arnum observed.
Along the way, Arnum said, visitors will encounter revelations such as magnolias blooming in the garden of Rosemary Monahan’s and Stephan Cover. “They have a really incredible collection of magnolias that you probably won’t see anywhere else, so that is worth going to see,” Arnum said.
Among the proud garden owners on the tour is Louise Nejad, whose garden includes three ponds --- but one will be off limits because, she discovered a family of turtles has claimed it for a time. “I don’t want them to be disturbed,” she said.
However, Nejad welcomes visitors to walk the meandering paths through her garden and see, among other features, a gazebo and trees, including gold star Chinese dogwood and Chinese elm.
“I have been gardening 20 years or a little more,” said Nejad, the assistant assessor of Stow. “It’s really good exercise and it’s so different from my job…it is very creative.”
Nejad also enjoys visiting other people’s gardens. “The home gardens are the person’s personality. Everyone is unique. Everyone has their own idea of design.”
For Nejad, her garden also represents a kind of renewal. In 2002, a fire destroyed her home and garden, and also claimed her beloved pets.
Although the loss was devastating, she was determined to start again. With a laugh, she said, “I have this stubborn attitude. Nothing and nobody is going to put me down.”
City Spaces, Country Places takes place Sunday, June 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Advance members’ tickets: $20.Day of tour: $25. Advance nonmembers’ tickets $25. Day of tour: $30. Garden Tour Sponsor tickets, $125 each. Garden Tour Patron tickets, $75 each. For more information or to order tickets, call 508-869-6111 ext. 136 or e-mail email@example.com.
Margaret Smith is Arts and Calendar editor for Community Newspaper Company’s northwest unit. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.