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Tour to benefit Grandmothers' Garden June 23 and 24

Date: 6/20/2012

June 20, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

WESTFIELD — Garden lovers take note — the chance to draw inspiration from seven of the area's more spectacular offerings is just around the corner.

On June 23 and 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Friends of Grandmothers' Garden will host their 14th annual Garden Tour. This year's two-day tour, dubbed "June Splendor," highlights the ongoing transformations at the English Revival-style Grandmothers' Garden on Smith Avenue, and six other private gardens located in Westfield and Granville. Garden booklets, which also function as tickets for the self-guided tour, are $20 — $15 for seniors — and will be available at Grandmothers' Garden beginning at 9 a.m. on June 23. The event is rain or shine.

Proceeds from the event go to support ongoing volunteer work to restore Grandmothers' Garden, constructed in 1934 in Chauncey Allen Park on land donated to the city of Westfield by businessman Albert Steiger, owner of the former local department store chain known as Steiger's.

"Our gardens [on the tour] are unique," District 4 City Councilor Mary O'Connell, a founding member of the annual fund-raiser, said. "Some are wild and not picture-perfect, some are out of a magazine, [they're] drop-dead gorgeous."

She said unlike gardens on some other tours, which are planned and maintained by landscapers, the gardens in "June Splendor" are designed and maintained by their respective owners.

The gardens open for touring in Westfield include a collection of Victorian-style vignettes on Chestnut Street, a cottage garden on Park River Drive, a quaint shade-and-sun garden on Park River Circle, and a tropical-inspired backyard on Plymouth Lane.

The Granville offerings include a bird-and-butterfly garden on Main Road and terraced gardens along a steep slope located on South Lane.

O'Connell said the all-gardens weekend kicks off with a party and silent auction in another spectacular garden — owned by Tour Committee Co-Chairs Sandy and Bob Watkins — on June 22 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets to that event — which includes appetizers, music by Curran & Company and the opportunity to bid on a variety of items donated by local businesses and supporters, are $45 per person. A combination ticket to the Garden Party and Tour is $60.

O'Connell said, based on ticket sales so far, "June Splendor" is expected to attract more than 400 visitors this year. Proceeds from the tour, Garden Party and silent auction are projected to raise $25,000 for renovations and upkeep at Grandmothers' Garden, she added.

For Garden Party or Tour tickets, or for more information about either event, contact the Watkins at 569-5562 or email Individuals can also call Bernadette Toomey at 562-9494 or email

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