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Eight properties featured in horticultural society’s 30th annual garden tour
This organic garden boasts a kaleidoscope of plants providing year-round interest. It is a must-visit destination delighting the senses and soothing the soul, organizers say. SUPPLIED

Jo-Ann Fraser
Special to The Lake Report

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society is marking the 30th anniversary of its annual Gardeners’ Garden Tour this year.

In addition to this cherished tradition, the society is introducing a new fundraiser, a summer barbecue hosted by Kent Heritage Farms.

The tour is on July 6 and the barbecue is set for July 21.

Proceeds from both events will support the organization’s scholarship fund designed to nurture the next generation of horticulturists.

The horticultural society has created two student scholarships, one at Niagara College and one at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture.

Through the scholarship fund, the organization is investing in both the personal growth of students and contributing to the advancement of the horticultural industry as a whole by cultivating a pool of talented professionals who will drive innovation, promote sustainable practices and inspire others with their expertise and passion.

“Our goal is to foster students’ talents and equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to shape the future of horticulture,” says Cindy Grant, president of the horticultural Society.

This year’s garden tour organizing committee has curated a selection of eight unique gardens, allowing visitors to both admire the beauty and learn directly from the homeowners, who have worked tirelessly to create these exceptional gardens.

“The garden tour is a testament to the enduring love of gardening and the power of sharing knowledge that has made this annual event a cherished tradition in our community,” said Sandra Stokes, co-chair of the event.

This year’s tour showcases a variety of private gardens, each with its own unique charm:

From the serene “Garden Getaway” with its vibrant perennials and tranquil pool, to the “Sensory Delights” cascading waterfalls and lush hostas, and the “Tropical Oasis” of Loretta Drive with its palms and magnolias.

The “Verdant Organic Oasis” delights with graceful maples, redbuds and cypresses, while “Nature’s Canvas” impresses with its creatively designed perennial beds, water features and birdhouses.

The majestic evergreens and informal hedges of “Serenity Sanctuary” provide an escape and “Designer’s Delight” captivates with its remarkable transformation under a towering beech, boasting abundant flowering shrubs, magnolias, maples and grasses.

“The annual Gardeners’ Garden Tour is a wonderful celebration of our community’s horticultural heritage and natural beauty,” said Susan Jurbala, co-chair of the event.

The tour typically attracts more than 1,000 visitors to town, from locations across southern Ontario and beyond, injecting tourism dollars into local businesses and restaurants.

The society has also partnered with the Bonsai Society to present a show at the Pumphouse, which will serve as headquarters for the tour.

“Attendees will have the chance to admire the intricate details of these miniature trees,” said Nancy Barry, president of the Niagara Bonsai Society. “We’d like to invite the community to join us and gain insights into this ancient Japanese and Chinese art form.”

Bookending that showcase, will be a tour of the pollinator garden at Southbrook Organic Vineyards, Canada’s first certified organic and biodynamic winery.

Visitors will learn about the vital role of pollinators in the ecosystem while enjoying the beauty of the surrounding vineyards.

The 30th Annual Gardeners’ Garden Tour ison Saturday, July 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at various homes throughout Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Tickets are $25 until July 5 and $30 on the day of the tour, with children under 12 admitted free. 

A few weeks later, on Sunday, July 21, guests will embark on a culinary adventure at the horticultural society’s summer barbecue, hosted by Kent Heritage Farms.  

“I’m passionate about community fundraising efforts and have been involved for many years,” said Paul Kent.

“My love of gardening led me to join the Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society. By hosting their summer barbecue fundraiser at my home, the property will truly come alive with people,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring the community together while raising money for the society’s scholarship fund. I’m excited to share my gardens and support such an important local cause.”

The Kent Heritage Farm grill masters have outdone themselves creating the menu. Guests will feast on succulent grilled breast of capon or savour the smoky flavors of ribeye satays.

Burger enthusiasts will enjoy the juicy sliders, featuring both Wagyu and brisket patties, as well as irresistible chicken burgers. For those seeking a touch of global flair, the honey and garlic pork and chicken sausage and the aromatic Indian butter chicken and rice are sure to please.

Vegetarians need not worry, as the grilled vegetables, vegetarian lasagna and vegetarian paneer promise to satisfy even the most discerning palates.

And what better way to cleanse your palate than with the refreshing sweetness of watermelon slices, fresh fruit and a sweet treat?

To complement this culinary extravaganza, Southbrook Organic Vineyards will have a selection of its wines available by the glass at a cash bar.

Every contribution, no matter how small, can make a significant difference in the lives of aspiring horticulturists. Together, we can pave the way for a greener, more beautiful future, one student at a time.

The barbecue at Kent Heritage Farms is Sunday, July 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. at 1139 Queenston St., St. Davids. Tickets are $50.

More information and tickets to both events can be found at www.notlhortsociety.com.

Jo-Ann Fraser is vice-president of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society.

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