Stroll. Behold. Discover. Find inspiration!

That is the essence of taking a garden tour. Another benefit is you come away having learned a thing or two about how to combine plants and what plants you may want to grow in your own garden. The icing on the cake is helping raise funds for a good cause, just by taking a leisurely walk amid beautiful scenery.

On Saturday, July 15, St. Julie’s Ladies Guild will host a Garden Tour & Luncheon from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain or shine) in an effort to raise funds for scholarship and charitable endeavors.

“This will be an opportunity to look at private gardens in our area. They’re all spectacular gardens: different, interesting and beautiful,” said spokesperson Janet Kawa.

Eight gardens in New Bedford’s Historic West End and Dartmouth will featured on this year’s tour.  Some of the gardens are “secret” gardens in that they are at homes we drive by all the time and say “I wonder what is behind those bushes or that fence,” she said.

The tour begins at St. Julie’s, 494 Slocum Road, where participants may pick up their maps starting at 9:30 a.m.. There is also a gourmet plated luncheon available.  

Planning for the garden tour began in the summer of 2016 says Kawa. The challenge was in finding gardens that would appeal to all style of gardeners from novice to expert, from relaxed to earnest. The gardens selected are kept secret until the day of the tour, but they will feature a variety of gardening styles: from beautiful container gardens to city plots to historical gardens registered with The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. 

“The tour will give participants the chance to see “secret gardens” that they would otherwise never see. It's also an opportunity for gardeners to seek and gather information from fellow gardeners. The homeowners participating have spent a great deal of time this rainy spring getting their gardens ready for visitors. Lots of beautiful flowers and bushes will be blooming on July 15th!”

Garden Tour tickets may be purchased for Gardens Only or for Gardens and Lunch. The luncheon will be at St. Julie’s Reception Hall.

For those purchasing the Gardens and Lunch tickets, the gourmet plated lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Advance tickets are $18 for the garden tour only, and $35 for the tour and luncheon. Garden Only tickets on the day of the tour will cost $20.

The combined Gardens and Lunch tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold the day of the tour. Advance tickets are available by calling Helen 508-994-2080 or Janet 508-993-0975.

Among the featured gardens is a Dartmouth property that was etched out of bucolic beginnings in 1936 and refined over the decades to contain numerous elaborate European-inspired beds. Dubbed “Jardim Escondido,” or “Hidden Garden” this plantsman’s gem is tucked away behind tall hedges and large trees. 2.5 acres are divided between a naturalistic area and more formal plantings flanking the house. A wildflower field studded with Joe Pye Weed and specimen trees including Stewartia, weeping Katsura, Purple Beech, Ginko, Metasequoia, Skyland Spruce and Sentinal Maple and others with ages ranging from 20 to 40 years and an antique milk shed lend naturalistic charm to the property. Meanwhile gorgeously chiseled plantings, with topiaried yew and a waterscape that conjures Monet’s famous garden at Giverny express the ultimate in formal gardening. This garden along with another located in Dartmouth are registered in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. for good reason. 

Another incredible garden (I’ve walked it innumerable times and there is always something exciting and new to see, to the credit of the owner) has been evolving for nearly 40 years. The owners, who have lived here since 1971, are hands on gardeners and avid plant collectors whose passions include roses, succulents, hostas, Japanese maples, flowering trees and conifers. A stumpery adds something completely different and fun. Working first with the late Allen C. Haskell, and since 2004 with Nan Sinton of Sinton & Michener Associates, the garden has been expanded and enhanced to make a landscape that suits the Prairie style architecture of the house. . When describing the style of the landscape Nan Sinton calls it a “contemporary stroll garden” which invites the visitor to explore different garden vignettes and vistas, color combinations and sensory experiences.

A featured stop on the tour is a seaside garden enhanced with a view of the salt marsh. It was designed using drought tolerant plants that are easy to grow and maintain. When possible, each plant choice has 3 seasons of interest: foliage, flowers & fall coloring with berries to feed wildlife. When the choice was between interesting foliage or flowers, the choice was foliage. The hillside location takes full advantage of the sweeping view of the marsh & Dyke Creek. There are three gardens in the historic west end included in the tour: one shows what can be done with containers and in the shade and two others demonstrate how a small city lot can be wonderfully enhanced with plantings.  

If you are in search of the local wonders of the plant world save the date. This is a tour you will grow by. 



“It was a lovely day of blue skies and gentle breezes. Bees buzzed, birds tootled, and squirrels bustled to and fro, getting their sun-tan in the bright sunshine. In a word all Nature smiled.” 

--P.G. Wodehouse