24.7 C
Niagara Falls
Saturday, July 13, 2024
Huge turnout for horticultural society’s annual garden tour
President of the Niagara Bonsai Society Nancy Barry, left, speaks with prospective new member Helen Tang during the Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society's Gardeners Garden Tour July 6. The presence of Barry's group at the tour represented one of the many firsts at the show this year. RICHARD WRIGHT
Colin and Lesley Walsh sit proudly inside their garden, which was featured in this year's Horticultural Society garden tour.
People enjoying the garden and birdhouse structure at the home of Colin and Lesley Walsh on Paffared Street.
The garden of Lesley and Colin Walsh, which features a cherubic bird bath fountain.
Valya, Anke and Roma taking photos in Luisa and Mario Ervalhi's garden on Niagara Stone Road.
Visitors on the garden tour stop to admire a pond with floating lily pads in a garden on Anne Street.
Visitors of Mike Lamb's garden enjoying the view of Four Mile Creek from his backyard.
The bonsai display set up at the Niagara Pumphouse was put together by the newly created Niagara Bonsai Society.
A variety of bonsai trees on display as part of the Horticultural Society's garden tour.
Mary Bacchus, from St. Catharines, and her American lurch tree. She acquired this tree in the 1970s and says it could be up to 100 years old.
Mike Weber from Landcare Niagara explaining how the pollinator garden at Southbrook Vineyard works.

A new name and a new approach for this year’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society’s garden tour has paid off, say organizers.

Pre-event ticket sales for the July 6 event were among the highest in recent years, with about 700 bookings thanks to an aggressive promotional campaign in the weeks prior and a focus on do-it-yourself gardens.

“The homes we chose were specific because the homeowners designed and looked after the gardens themselves,” said tour co-chair Susan Jurbala, who shared the organizing duties with Sandra Stokes.

“There were no garden landscaping companies that came in … so we call it the Gardeners Garden Tour. And this year, we asked the homeowners to stay for the day, so people who have questions can speak directly with them.”

By all accounts, she added, visitors were very happy with the new approach.

There were a total of nine gardens for viewing, each unique.

Among them were able a country garden, a serenity sanctuary, one called Sensory Delight, a tropical garden that featured real palm trees and “at our Anne Street location, she grows everything from seed,” said Jurbala. 

“She is out there every week tilling her compost: it’s totally organic.”

Also, the addition of Southbrook Vineyards became a big selling point.

The winery was chosen for its “light-on-the-land” approach to production.

“Bill Redelmeier, who owns Southbrook, was very keen to talk about his pollinator garden and how it fits in with … the bio-dynamic vineyard,” said Jurbala.

The firsts didn’t stop there.

The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre on Ricardo Street was also a new addition to the show, serving as a headquarters and featuring live music, garden-themed exhibits, plein air artists and refreshments.

It also became ground zero for the emergence of the Niagara Bonsai Society as a featured presenter.

Nancy Barry, president of the bonsai society, spent the day showing off her members’ creations and was grateful for the opportunity to do so.

“One of our older members knows Cindy Grant, the president of the horticultural society, and he chatted about it with her, and I happen to live down the street from another person who is involved here and she said, ‘We are looking for something unique,’ and I said, ‘Funny, we thought we would like to do a show with you guys.’ ”

“The planets aligned and it all worked out,” she said.

The partnership helps those without the ability to grow a garden themselves the chance to develop a green thumb, said Barry.

“It’s something people can do even if they live in an apartment and have just a balcony,” Barry said.

“They can practise their artistry with plants, growing them and nurturing them but also designing them.”

This year’s tour was one for the books, said Stokes, who is already anxious to do it again next year.

“The committee has been outstanding and we had a great time,” she said.

“When you volunteer you want to enjoy it. If we didn’t enjoy it we wouldn’t be doing it again next year and I think the committee is staying pretty much as it is.”

wright@niagaranow.com

Subscribe to our mailing list