In its 18th year as a Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library fundraiser and fantastic opportunity to wander through spectacular, local gardens, the Friendly Garden Tour has expanded this year to include both Blacksburg and Christiansburg. “An exciting addition is the Montgomery Museum Garden at the Montgomery Museum and Lewis Miller Regional Art Center in Christiansburg,” states garden tour committee member and Master Gardener Lynn Brammer. “As part of the New River Valley Master Gardeners Association, I am so proud of Beth Umberger taking the leadership and fortitude to rid the garden of invasive growth and repopulate with native species that reflect the premise of a museum garden.”

Also in Christiansburg, participants can visit the exquisite gardens at the Oaks Victorian Inn ~ an 1893 architectural gem. Just coming up the driveway is a lamb’s ear garden, black-eyed Susan garden and a coneflower Stella D’Oro lily garden. The “Secret Garden” features pink and blue hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas, butterfly bushes, a vast assortment of flowers and a fish pond with waterfall. A small vegetable and herb garden and an apple tree provide fresh produce and herbs for delectable breakfast dishes.

Back in Blacksburg, Elissa Steeves, whose gardens have been featured more than once in Southern Living Magazine, as well as in Horticulture Magazine, exhibits little ecosystems throughout her property. “I’m a plant collector from way back,” she says. Look for unusual plants, as well as garden puns, stone art and mementos which represent people in the garden.

A Master Gardener is present at every property on the tour to point out unique features and answer questions. The whole event is not only a great way to support the library system and get a glimpse into private sanctuaries of local folks, but also an educational experience in erosion control methods, mulch, drought tolerant plants, rain barrel use, hardscaping features and more. Mark your calendar now: Sat., July 6 – garden tour and lunch out*.

Friendly Garden Tour
Saturday, July 6
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

$12 per person in advance
$15 per person day of tour
Buy tickets at any Montgomery-Floyd branch library
10% off select local restaurants on day of tour (see website)
Tour day lunch discounts are available in Christiansburg and Blacksburg. Check the website before you go and plan to support a locally-owned restaurant for your mid-day meal.

By Joanne M. Anderson

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