Garden Tour returns for fifth year

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By Alison James
Associate Editor

It happens every other year, and the time is approaching for the next Garden Tour, hosted by Lee County Master Gardeners.

It will take more than 100 volunteers to oversee it the tour and bring everything to fruition, but tour coordinators Sarah Fair and Jolly Roberts said all the work is worth it.

Tickets, which are $20 prior to the event and $25 the day of, are available at Ace Hardware, Blooming Colors, The Flower Store and Auburn and Opelika chambers of commerce. Although the tour is unguided, “We do have key plants that people might notice marked with their scientific name and common name,” Roberts said.

Featured Gardens are located on a 34-mile route through the Opelika-Auburn area. Garden owners will be on hand to answer questions, and a tour booklet will also provide information.

“We’re going to have the garden stories available,” Fair said. “Each one will be summarized in the tour booklet, but at the gardens, if they’re interested in knowing more, they can read more. Each one will be different and personal.”

The tour is set for May 17-18, and every ticket purchase is good for both days. For the first time, tickets will be available to purchase for Mother’s Day gifts.

The tour, Roberts said, will feature a variety of different kind of gardens – from modern or Asian-influenced, from relaxed to formal.

“We want to have a variety of gardens – we don’t want them to all be alike,” Roberts said. “We want to have people be inspired for their yard.”

Funds raised from the tour support the gardens at Kiesel Park in Auburn and Pioneer Park in Loachapoka, as well as the wildflower trail in Opelika Municipal Park. Money raised also supports field trips and workshops hosted by the Master Gardeners.

This year’s tour also marks the 100th anniversary of the Cooperative Extension System. With that in mind, the tour will also feature a special celebration at the Ag Heritage Park at Auburn University that will feature demonstrations and informational sessions by Lee County Extension coordinators. That stop, along with a special stop at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn, do not require ticket purchases and, Fair said, are great for families. JCSM will also have boxed lunches for sale – $8 pre-order or $10 day of.

Tour-goers are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

For more information visit leemg.org or visit a ticket location.

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