Garden Tour Gives Glimpse of Guilford's Best Kept Secrets

One of the many flower beds featured in Garden 4 during the Secret Gardens Tour.
GUILFORD, Conn. - Imagine an afternoon of walking through the pages of Better Homes & Gardens.

For attendees of this year's Secret Gardens Tour, the "pages" were filled with bubblegum pink peonies, lush green hostas and beautiful houses.

"The gardeners have been so cooperative," said Helen Carlson, one of the founders of the event and part of the garden tour committee. "I've had fun recruiting people. Their responses are so warm."

The Secret Gardens Tour showcased nine residential gardens of varying skill levels. Six gardens were featured on Sachem's Head (a short drive from downtown) and three were located closer to the Guilford Green.

"What we try to do is to have a spectrum of gardens - simple to more complicated designs - open to the public," she said. "We select gardens with different character."

"We plan the tour so people can walk and socialize with each other." The weather on Saturday, June 14 was perfect for the event with plentiful sunshine and a breeze along Connecticut's coast. While this is the 18th official garden tour, the event has been running for 20 years. (The tours were cancelled for the last two years due to the damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy.) There were 85 volunteers working the event.

Karen Owen, a coordinator of the tours who was stationed at the second garden stop, said the committee has an idea of the area they would like to showcase each year. "Sachem's Head isn't always included in the tour," she said. Sachem's Head featured gardens with varied vistas including ponds and salt marshes.

The gardens that were featured closer to the Guilford Green were also different this year as well, according to Owen.

The admission money benefits Guilford A Better Chance (ABC), which is dedicated to helping close the opportunity gap for talented minority students.

Carlson said ABC focuses on the common good, and she feels the garden tour is a good tie-in. "Everyone loves a garden," and both the garden tours and ABC shows "that we all relate to each other and enjoy each other."

The event was organized and well run, with golf carts available to help attendees get around Sachem's Head. (Word on the golf carts was that Garden 2 was getting the most positive feedback.)

Each garden has different inspirations and scenic vistas that compliment each other. Of the nine gardens open to visitors during the tour, I selected these six to share:






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