Culture Watch: Secret Gardens Tour combines luscious landscapes and a good cause
By Sharon Litwin
The weather is beautiful; the sweet olive trees are blooming, sending out their bewitching fragrance to all who pass; the lemon trees are abundant with blossoms. Is there any season more beautiful than spring?
For the lazy among us, never having sprayed so much as a can of Yard Guard, the idea that we can peek into someone else’s garden, surround ourselves with their camellias, azaleas and Louisiana iris and, maybe, even steal a landscaping idea or two, is an invitation to paradise.
For two days – Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26, the very special Secret Gardens Tour offers just that. Word has it that one of the secret gardens even has a meditative blooming labyrinth for those who literally want to commune with nature. If you’re like me, and are intrigued by the opportunity to check out other people’s very private urban outdoor spaces, go to www.secretgardenstour.org for information.
There’s more, however, to this wonderfully genteel way to spend a few restful hours than simply exposing us to fabulous landscapes and the designers who created them. That there is a garden tour at all is the result of one mother’s dogged search for help for her daughter.
"In 1999, my daughter Ellie Waring sustained a severe traumatic brain injury,” says Kathleen Waring who, along with Marianne Mumford, chairs the Secret Gardens Tour, 2011. “And although I had tremendous help from my family and friends with her rehabilitation, what I needed most was information.”
It took Kathleen several years to discover a support group for brain injury recovery. “But instead of me getting help, I found it was the survivors who attended the meetings who needed help.” So, along with a friend, she created the Secret Gardens Tour, with all proceeds allocated to brain injury recovery programs.
So go; it’s a good thing. There will be live music by local musicians, gourmet lunches for sale courtesy of Langenstein’s, and shopping at the Secret Treasures, an open-air marketplace offering a variety of arts, crafts and gift items.
Sharon Litwin is president of NolaVie. Email her at [email protected]