By: MICHAEL FOX, Garden Making
Niagara-on-the-Lake enjoys the distinction of hosting two annual home garden tours in the summer, the Shaw Guild Garden Tour in June and the NOTL Horticulture Society Garden Tour in July.
Garden tours are a way for local groups to fundraise as well as provide an opportunity for the public to visit a selection of private gardens to appreciate the plants and design, and are a great way to appreciate quality perennials, specimen trees and shrubs, garden structures, water features and garden ornaments.
The tours can also provide ideas for creating privacy, colour, texture, scents and incorporating edible plants and vegetables into residential landscapes.
Both tours are self-guided, allowing participants to start at any of the gardens and visit others of interest in the sequence and at a pace that suits them.
In 2018, both tours focus on gardens in the Old Town.
Hundreds of volunteers and, of course, the garden owners work hard to prepare the gardens and tour experience for their show day.
First up is the Shaw Guild Garden Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 9. This is Shaw’s 13th annual garden tour, including eight private gardens on properties dating from the 1930s to 2006.
Master Gardeners volunteer at each of the garden to provide horticultural info to curious visitors. Tickets are $25 per person and are available at the Shaw Festival box office, Mori Gardens, the Chamber of Commerce or at any of the garden locations on tour day.
Proceeds support the Shaw Guild Endowment Fund.
For a brochure and map, visit shawfest.com/gardentour.
A month later, the NOTL Horticultural Society (which itself is 100 years old) will host its 27th annual garden tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, showcasing 10 impressive residential gardens all located in historic NOTL with styles ranging from casual to formal.
Local musicians and visual artists will be in some gardens. Early-bird tickets are $12 each if purchased online before June 1.
Regular tickets are $15 and will be available at Mori Gardens, Seaway Gardens and the NOTL Chamber of Commerce.
Proceeds support enhancing local public garden spaces, presenting monthly lectures of horticultural and environmental interest.
Each of the tours can attract 1,000 or more visitors on a pleasant summer day; usually a combination of locals as well as groups who come from cities across Ontario and New York state.
For a brochure and to purchase tickets, visit notlhortsociety.com.