GREENBUSH - The Sunrise Gardening Club of Harrisville, a nonprofit organization dedicated to horticultural practice and appreciation, has started selling tickets for its ninth annual garden walk, a tour of private gardens in Alcona County chosen by club members to feature in this year's event on Saturday.
Past tours have focused on particular areas in the county including Lincoln, farm gardens, and north of Harrisville or in the city, and this year's will feature seven residential gardens in and around Greenbush. Event coordinator Becky Stoddard said the garden walk will not be conducted by a tour guide, and patrons may come and go as they please, but brochures, garden owners, and master gardener volunteers will be on hand at each location to answer questions.
"It's from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., so it takes you just about that time to go to all the gardens, and one of the gardens has light refreshments, cookies and stuff like that, but there's also an artist at each garden, and there are drawings while people are walking around. There's a lady that plays an instrument, and there's a young man at one of them that plays a violin, and it's just a fun kind of day that you walk around through these seven gardens," she said. "Some gardens are bigger, so it takes (people) longer to walk around through there. Some are shade gardens, some are sun gardens, they're just a different variety of gardens to look at."
The Red Rooster Restaurant in Greenbush will offer a garden walk lunch special, and event tickets are available this week for $10 apiece at Alcona Coffee, Coming Attractions, and Craftmakers Cabin in Harrisville, at Enchanted Blooms in Oscoda, and at Craftmakers Cabin on Saturday until 1 p.m. or so. Children 10 and under can participate for free. As in the past, proceeds will go toward community projects like Harrisville's library garden, Harrisville's welcome sign, student sponsorship at an FFA convention, the Alcona Seniors Center garden, a dog path at the humane society, and Negwegon State Park improvements.
Stoddard said the walk happens rain or shine, though Saturday's forecast calls for warm temperatures and sunny skies, and has grown to sell about 100 tickets a year.
"We like to do things in the community, but we like to share our gardens. Just about two-thirds of the people who are gardeners (in the Sunrise Gardening Club) have very beautiful gardens and could show them any time. The other third are striving toward that, because they are garden people," she said. "I remember sitting around a table saying, 'OK, we want to share our gardens, how will we do that?' So we decided to have a garden walk, and at that time it was not a fundraiser. We just wanted to share it, but we charged a few bucks, and it became a fundraiser and we've done it every year ever since."
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693.