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Rochester Garden and Flower Club garden tour

Fri, Apr 12th, 2013
Posted in All Features

“Gardening is an art form,” says Connie Parrett who co-chairs a garden tour that proves her point.

The flowerful jaunt, Rochester Garden and Flower Club’s (RGFC) Annual Garden Tour, will take place July 18. “It will be festive and fun,” Parrett says. She and her fellow co-chair, Barbara Muenkel, invite you to come see.

The tour, which highlights flower gardens and landscaping, is a popular event that each year draws and dazzles a crowd of several hundred visitors to five or six Rochester-area gardens.

The gardens’ addresses? RGFC keeps them confidential until you buy your ticket.

The exception to the secret gardens rule is the tour’s first stop, the S.M.A.R.T. Gardens at Rochester Community and Technical College’s Heintz Center. An outdoor laboratory for RCTC’s Horticulture Technology program, the S.M.A.R.T. (sustainable, medicinal, artistic, resourceful and thematic) Gardens are gorgeous, Parrett says, and offer something new every year.

Heintz Center is also the place to buy tour tickets, register for door prizes, browse educational displays and sample Cold Stone ice cream (while supplies last).

From there, the tour is self-guided. “Take your map and off you go.”

Off to explore colorful and fragrant gardens, such as the one that dresses up a corner lot on a hillside. Flowers bloom in profusion and there’s a water feature and– “She’s got more in that corner lot than people with an acre,” Parrett says, “and her neighbors on both sides of the corner love the view.”

Another treat on the itinerary is a sprawling country-style garden a few miles outside Rochester. Parrett hasn’t seen it yet but says club members who have seen it, rate it spectacular!

“You’ll get ideas and see ingenious ways to fix common problems,” she says, “and you can talk to Master Gardeners.”

The RGFC tour will showcase other art forms, too. At the gardens, area musicians will perform and area artists will display their works.

Parrett sums up the tour this way: “It’s lovely to walk through these gardens.”

What: Rochester Garden and Flower Club (RGFC) Annual Garden Tour.

When: Thursday, July 18, 4 p.m. - dusk, with ticket sales to start at 3:30 p.m.

Where: The tour begins at Heintz Center, 1926 College View Road East, which is also the location of the tour’s first visit, the RCTC S.M.A.R.T. Gardens.

Admission: $10 for each adult, free for children and students.

For more info: See rgfc.org or call 507-254-4368.

Of note: Rochester Trolley and Tour Company offers an alternative to the self-guided method. Instead, you can catch a trolley. The Take the Trolley option debuted last summer, garnered great enthusiasm and filled in a hurry.

By June 1, more information will be available about the 2013 Garden Tour’s Take the Trolley. Check online at RochesterMNtours.com. Reserve seats online or by phone at 507-421-0573.

One more thing: How long has this been going on? If you know when RGFC’s Annual Garden Tour began, would you please tell RGFC? “The club formed in 1929,” tour co-chair Connie Parrett says, “but the tour history is a bit of a mystery. We’re working on it because an anniversary is coming up, we’re sure.”

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