The Grantham Garden Club conducted seven mystery garden tours starting in 2008, but this one was different. The Pandemic was the big unknown back in February before vaccinations were available. In addition to picking amazing gardens, the committee took their size into consideration in case social distancing was still recommended. The Club agreed that walking in beautiful flowers and seeing people in person was very much needed. They were so right.
Historically the Club raised money through an annual spring plant sale, but it had to be cancelled for the last two years. So for the first time, donations were requested to help the club fund scholarships, grants, and educational programs for the community, and to help the Club maintain the civic gardens around town. In addition pop up markets as some of the gardens sold goat milk soap, fresh baked cookies, perennials, and note cards with photos of club members’ flowers.
Another benefit of the tour was the wealth of knowledge the owners and volunteers shared with avid gardeners. I overheard lots of very specific questions about plants, soil, fertilizers and all kind of gardening talk. For myself, I just enjoyed all seven gardens. Each one reflected the gardener’s personality. Susan Neet Goodwin’s garden showed her artistic sensibilities and highlighted her environments concerns by illustrating how you weave a solar installation into a garden. Jane Verdrager peppered her garden with lots of whimsy including an antique baby crib, a bird cage, and an old water pump. Paul Mercier created an ecological haven on his unique property. Janie Clark’s garden is a wonderful example of a lush, colorful garden that gets very little sunshine. Sally Findley, Sheila Schulman and Liz Knox’s not only have lovely gardens but also have water views.
Thirty-seven volunteers helped make the day a delight for the more than 120 people who oohed and aahed when the much anticipated mystery gardens were finally revealed.