Second annual Garden Tour blooms this Saturday

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

Get out your sun hats and green up your thumb, the second annual Friends of the Fort Frances Museum Garden Tour is all set and ready to go in only a few more days.

The second such event after the inaugural 2020 tour, will see garden enthusiasts touring six different green spaces in and around Fort Frances on July 3 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., taking in the different sights and smells of various gardens all to help continue programming at the Fort Frances Museum.

Caren Fagerdahl is a member of the Friends organization, and said this year’s event will continue on with the fun that they were able to establish during last year’s event, even in the face of COVID restrictions that were, at the time, relatively new. After a year of restrictions, however, the Friends group had no problems organizing another safe event this year.

Tickets are still available for this Saturday’s Garden Tour, which puts the spotlight on six outstanding local gardens. Tickets are available at Loweys, and raise funds for the Museum. – Submitted photo

“We’re far more comfortable with the COVID restrictions this year, and they’re not as tight as they were last year,” she said.

“We’re comfortable with that, which made the gardeners more comfortable with that too. We will have hand sanitizer at the gardens and of course we have to limit our numbers.”

While last year’s Garden Tour was limited to 30 tickets, this year the total number of available tickets has doubled to 60, and Fagerdahl said early ticket sales have been going to those who did not take part in last year’s tours. However, she also noted that this year’s Garden Tour features six brand new gardens, so even those who took the tour in 2020 will be getting a brand-new experience.

“It’s spread from the east end to the west edge of town,” Fagerdahl said.

“We’ve got a variety of sizes of gardens. There are some that are vegetable gardens, some are just flowers gardens, but some are a mix.”

Fagerdahl also stressed that the event is for everyone, contrary to popular stereotypes about gardening and who does it.

“Very often people think this is an old lady activity and it’s not,” she said.

“We had such a mix of ages last year. We have men that are gardeners that are on the tour as well. It’s not just for women, it’s for people of all ages, and it’s a wonderful day out. It’s a nice easy pace, so people won’t feel rushed.”

Like last year’s event, participants will receive a map and garden “passport” that will decide their route so as to ensure that no one garden is overwhelmed with visitors at the same time, also ensuring that the groups can stay under the allowed size for safety purposes.

New to proceedings this year, is that the Friends of the Museum have partnered with several local restaurants who will offer a discount to those taking part in the Garden Tour during the event’s intermission. Fagerdahl explained it was important for the Friends to work with these businesses as everyone has been impacted by the pandemic.

“Because COVID is starting to open up and we want so much for businesses to be supported, that’s why we have included the restaurants and got them to give 10 per cent off to anyone who is on the Garden Tour,” she said.

“We wanted to make sure that we have supported those people who have so generously supported our gala and our SnOasis and anything we’ve ever put on. We’ve found local businesses have been very supportive so we want to pay it back, pay it forward.”

The Garden Tour will also feature two door prizes for participants, Fagerdahl said, adding onto reasons for people to head to Lowey’s Greenhouse before tickets sell out.

“I think that this is a wonderful opportunity to break out of COVID,” she said.

“I know we’re still restricted, but within the COVID guidelines, it’s a chance to get out and socialize again, to get out and enjoy the outdoors with friends. For gardeners, we all love to share ideas and tips and tricks, so it’s a great chance for a gardener to see how other people do things, to learn from one another. For a beginning gardener, it’s a great chance to see how things can be done. I just think it’s going to be a very fun day.”

The second annual Garden Tour will go ahead rain or shine, unless there is a thunderstorm, at which point a storm-date will be announced. Tickets are available at Lowey’s Greenhouse for $25 each.