Spring is in the air, and the Wellington Garden Club is ready to present its “Glorious Gardens” tour.
On Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, members of the community are invited to join in a special tour of five amazing gardens, along with a unique plant sale, a raffle, refreshments, a book signing and a chance to chat with garden club members.
Twig Morris and Barbara Hadsell, co-chairs of the 2016 Garden Tour, are excited to share the self-guided, self-driving tour with anyone who is interested in gardening, anyone looking for a peaceful day out and anyone who appreciates beauty.
“What’s special, I think, about all of these gardens is they are all landscaped by the homeowners, and they’re landscaped just beautifully with an incredible mix of plant, material, color and design,” Morris said. “Each of these homeowners really has a knack for combining plants in interesting ways with wonderful spots of color here and there.”
The first of the five gardens, Artistic Treasure, includes a ceramic mural, an aviary and pet ducks enjoying a ylang-ylang tree, fruit trees, mast trees, vanilla orchids and a petrea vine that climbs the arbor entrance, plus a vegetable garden.
“To me, it’s so interesting to see what a homeowner can do on a suburban lot without acres and acres of property, and just make it a beautiful haven,” Morris said.
The next garden, Backyard Haven, has an arbor with a bench, demonstrating the type of garden that can be achieved in a small space. The garden has bamboo, orchids, bromeliads, crotons and ti plants, and a gumbo limbo tree, Morris said, pointing out that the arbor is hidden along the way.
Succulent Showcase is a unique garden with birds, butterflies, giant koi, a pond and a rock garden. The terrace contains cacti, agaves and a variety of succulents in a rock garden with bromeliads and kalanchoe, varying dramatically from the backyard landscape with bougainvillea, Gerbera daisies, cassia trees, roses and orchids.
The Sensory Delight garden is full of unique plants that are interesting and uncommon, with almost no grass around the property. There are meandering stone pathways that bring visitors around a dwarf ylang-ylang tree, a Milky Way tree, sweet almond brush, crown of thorns, lilies, cast iron plants and more.
Lakeside Serenity, on more than an acre, has many large trees and multiple bamboo varieties. There are two varieties of black bamboo, golden bamboo, angel mist bamboo and giant bamboo. Parrots live in the garden’s small aviary, containing a koi pond, ginger, powder puff shrubs, heliconia, jacaranda, a rainbow eucalyptus tree, traveler palms and a royal poinciana.
Pamela Crawford, a nationally acclaimed garden author and landscape architect, will have a book signing during the event.
“The first thing I did when I moved here was go out and buy two of Pamela Crawford’s books, because coming from up north, you don’t know what to plant down here, and she tells you,” Morris said.
At the plant sale, customers will be able to purchase a wide variety of plants with either cash or credit.
Advanced ticket purchases are still available for the tour for $25 at Whole Foods Market in Wellington and Amelia’s Smarty Plants in Lake Worth. Tickets can be purchased for $30 the day of the tour at First Baptist Church of Wellington (12700 W. Forest Hill Blvd.), where explorers can also pick up a booklet and map the day of the tour.
There will be water at every house, as well as refreshments and cookies at one of the gardens. The homeowners are expected to be at their gardens, offering advice and details about their unique sanctuaries.
Money raised through the garden tour finance philanthropic events over the next two years, Hadsell said, explaining that the club places a strong emphasis on youth in the community, especially college students studying horticulture and environmental studies, and provides scholarships for high school students to attend camps.
The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs sponsors the Wekiva Youth Camp and a Critter Camp for children where they learn about the environment and nature, and are able to experience crafts, swimming and other camp activities.
Habitat for Humanity landscaping and community projects also benefit from the garden tour.
“Our emphasis has been, in the last four years, to partner with a native plant society that’s local and do a native planting of the shrubs, trees and flowers for Habitat owners,” Hadsell said.
The Wellington Garden Club also works with junior garden clubs, Girl Scout troops and two high school environmental clubs.
The Wellington Garden Club, part of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, has been around since 1981. Being a federated member makes the Wellington Garden Club part of the state and national network of garden clubs.
“It gives the members more opportunity, because both the state and national levels have many different kinds of schools you can go to. There’s a school on gardening studies; there’s a school on landscape design. There’s a school to become a flower shop judge,” Morris said.
The club is part of a national organization that works on environmental issues, including protecting fresh water and forests, Morris added.
Currently, there are more than 160 members in the club, which started with just a dozen people. Many of the members will be volunteering and assisting during the Garden Tour.
“Seeing everything come together on April 9, there are so many details that you have to work on to make a tour happen,” Morris said. “The homes are gorgeous. All of our members are out here working, and the public is coming to see these beautiful gardens.”
The Garden Tour is a great event for gardeners and non-gardeners alike, she said.
“It’s beautiful,” Morris said. “Even if you don’t like gardening, you can still appreciate the beauty of the gardens and the peaceful feeling in the gardens, and just being outdoors in the fresh air for a morning or an afternoon is wonderful.”
For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit www.wellingtongardenclub.org.
ABOVE: Succulent Showcase is one of the stops on the upcoming tour.