For anyone who is looking for inspiration and a leisurely drive around the area, consider the Beyond the Garden Gate garden tour on Saturday, July 7.
Take a self-guided tour to various properties in and around Tillsonburg where gardeners have been working hard to prepare for visitors with a showing of their favourite pastime.
"We’re excited to be partnering again this year with the Tillsonburg Horticultural Society," said Deb Beard, co-chair from the Station Arts Centre, in a media release. "This year we’ve expanded and there will be featured artists in every garden with musicians at a couple of the locations to add to the experience."
Various artforms by talented members of the Station will have work on display in a variety of media. Visitors will have the chance to chat with the artist showcasing their work.
"Creativity come in so many forms and this tour is a great way to see the blending of the gardens, the artists and musicians," said Beard.
The Station will be a refreshment stop on the tour, where visitors will be able to see more work by various artists of the station as part of the members' gift shop, gallery and main gallery exhibit ‘Horizons.’ If you stop by in the morning, the Farmers Market on Bridge Street will be on until noon.
"We’ve had great local support as well," said Beard. "Southern Ontario Printing continues to support the event and Matt at Tillsonburg Garden Gate has an additional incentive for ticket holders who may want to spruce up their gardens. When they present their ticket, they will receive a 15% discount on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the tour! And of course, these type of events don’t happen without great volunteers, the gardeners, artists and musicians who offer to be on the tour and the people who come out on the tour."
"People can take many ideas away from the tour," said Janet Butcher, co-chair from the Tillsonburg Horticultural Society, "because every garden is different and unique to that person and location."
A great deal of thought and consideration by gardeners is evident in their designs.
"Location, light, soil type, level of maintenance and show of colour for all seasons," said Reg Butcher, co-chair, "along with hard plantings perennials and annuals give these gardens balance and a source of enjoyment and outdoor living."
Gardeners generally tend to be environmentally conscious and plant to attract bees and butterflies for pollination, birds and wildlife to entertain and some have their own rain barrels, and produce their own compost with green waste. Some have fruit and vegetable gardens to enjoy fresh ingredients through the season and freeze to enjoy over the winter.
Along with the planting materials, Butcher said that many add an additional touch by using functional structures, pathways, sculptures, water features and accent lighting to extend their living space. Gardens range from very small to very large with elaborate plantings.
Visitors will be able to envision creating their own outdoor space in comparison to some of the approaches taken by the gardeners on the tour.
Asked why gardeners are showing their gardens, Butcher explained they take pride in their designs and hard work, and are happy to share their knowledge and experience with those who are looking to learn more about plant materials and successful gardening tips.
"It’s their happy place," said Butcher. "Something about gardening grounds people. While it is hard work to establish these relaxing spaces, every one is its own source of tranquility.’
The July 7th garden tour runs from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., rain or shine. Watch for the blue signs.
Tickets are $10 advance and $12 the day of the tour and are available at the Station Arts Centre, 41 Bridge St. W., at Tillsonburg Garden Gate, 167 Simcoe St., and from Merle Norman, 67 B Simcoe Street.