Hundreds enjoy garden tour

A warm and partly sunny afternoon brought hundreds of people out to enjoy the annual Marietta Garden Tour Sunday.

The tour of local flower and vegetable gardens has been sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Society for 20 years, according to Debra Miller with the garden tour committee.

“We usually have 300 to 400 people go through the gardens each year,” she said. “The committee selects different gardens recommended by area gardeners and community members every year.”

Miller said proceeds from the garden tour and an accompanying plant sale help with preservation of the historic Unitarian Universalist Church building on the corner of Third and Putnam streets. The facility was built by founder Nahum Ward in 1855.

Flower and vegetable gardens at the Second Street home of Alex and Christy Minard were among the four gardens featured during this year’s garden tour.

“My neighbor, Jillian Harrison, recommended us. The committee called me about a year and a half ago to ask if we would be interested in participating,” Christy said. “They ask early to give gardeners time to prepare their gardens for the show.”

Although she and husband Alex got right to work preparing their garden spaces, Christy said the harsh winter put some dents in their plans.

“We had a lot of death due to the bad winter. And our blue hydrangeas suffered,” she said. “I had planned for them to be in bloom during the garden tour, but everything is late this year.”

Still, the Minards had plenty of flowers and plants around their home to satisfy the hundreds of people who browsed through the property Sunday afternoon.

Over on Washington Street the home of Joyce Robinson and Judy Phillips was surrounded, front and back, by a variety of greenery and flowers.

“This is our first time on the garden tour,” Phillips said. “Gardening is our hobby and our therapy. All of this was done over the last four years.”

Both she and Robinson grew up close to the soil as both of their parents raised gardens.

Parkersburg residents Jesse Griffin and Ryan Henry were admiring the brightly-colored coneflowers in the Phillips and Robinson garden.

“I don’t know a lot about gardening, but I’m learning,” Griffin said. “We have a small yard, too, and this has given us some good ideas.”

Mark and Kim Dasher, also from Parkersburg, said they enjoy taking the Marietta Garden Tours every year.

“It’s a gardener’s garden tour,” said Kim, a former master gardener. “I get to see a large variety of plants and some really beautiful gardening ideas.”

Across the Muskingum River in Marietta’s Harmar District, Geoff Schenkel and Michelle Waters have created a unique flower garden next to the REsolve art studio at the corner of Putnam Avenue and Franklin Street.

The flower and sculpture garden incorporates many everyday items like old tires, metal piping, concrete pieces and other materials punctuated by bursts of flowers and flowering plants.

The quirky garden seemed to be a favorite on Sunday’s tour.

“People are taken by the variety of things they discover throughout the garden,” Waters said. “I’ve heard the word ‘magical’ used more than once. And I like that.”

She said the garden is a work in progress that will continue to grow with additional plants and artwork in the years ahead.

Although it wasn’t in downtown Marietta, a massive garden belonging to Jerry Bedilion of Constitution Lane was also included on this year’s Marietta Garden Tour.