Villagers’ annual Garden Tour to feature Central Gables landscapes
Members of The Villagers don’t need rose-colored glasses to see the good around them.
For more than 50 years, this nonprofit, 230-member organization has not only opened residents’ eyes to the many structural and horticultural treasures in the area, but also raised funds to help restore and preserve them.
On March 2, the group celebrates its 22nd annual Garden Tour, which showcases private gardens in central Coral Gables, along with a taste of homemade refreshments and a small boutique with plants, garden art and other gift items at the Merrick House, 907 Coral Way.
With a “Garden Concepts” theme, this year’s tour spotlights an area that was part of the original town plan for Coral Gables developed in the 1920s. The 2013 Garden Tour (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 2) will allow guests to explore different landscape themes, designs and concepts at the properties selected within the heart of the “City Beautiful.”
Last year’s tour, “Gateway to Garden Wonders,” focused on gardens in South Miami, the south Gables and Pinecrest. One of the most popular was the Block Botanical Garden, a private garden owned by Dr. Jeff Block within Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden on Old Cutler Road.
Every year on the tour, visitors learn more about plants and get ideas for their own yards, says Thane Malison, former Villagers president.
“I love seeing all the possibilities of what you can do with a garden here in the subtropics,” Ms. Malison says. “And finding out about new plant varieties is wonderful.”
The Garden Tour is just one of the club’s methods for raising awareness and money and supporting a range of projects. Whether the club is donating money to fix a fence or restoring a lighthouse, no project is too big or small for The Villagers. As of last fall, The Villagers had committed a total of $71,340 to 13 projects.
The Villagers holds a house tour each winter that showcases five private residences and is followed by the auctioning of The Quilt, handmade by members every year. The organization also offers The Hunt, a scavenger hunt it began in 1985 in which teams must find a list of items, usually at various area landmarks.
Proceeds from these activities support scholarships as well as projects. In 2011, The Villagers allocated more than $32,000 to students at the University of Miami, Florida International University, University of Florida and Design & Architecture Senior High in Miami. Students who exhibit an interest in preservation and historical efforts are singled out for the scholarships.
“I am so proud of the accomplishments of our organization,” notes Ms. Malison. “We have done much for our community!”
Meghan Murphy is a sophomore public relations and English literature major at the University of Miami.
‘Garden Concepts’ ticket information:
Tickets to the March 2 Garden Concepts tour are $25 each for advance orders, $30 on the day of the event. For advance orders, send check payable to The Villagers marked “Garden Tour” (with a self-addressed stamped envelope) no later than Feb. 23 to: The Villagers, Inc., P.O. Box 141843, Coral Gables, FL 33114-1843. Tickets can be picked up the day of the event at 1138 Obispo Avenue or 1242 South Greenway Drive.
For more information contact Julie Petrella Arch 305-460-6030 or [email protected]