Rain or shine, residents will have an opportunity to visit some of the area's best-kept natural secrets this month.
On Saturday, July 12, the Jamestown Audubon Society will be hosting the 11th annual, and largest, Secret Gardens Tour through Jamestown and the surrounding area.
From 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., participants of the walking tours will visit up to eight garden sites - all of them privately owned - located in Jamestown, Celoron and Lakewood. According to Merle Szydlo, Audubon volunteer and organizer of the tour, this year's tour is unique in that it will feature the most participating sites the Secret Gardens Tour has ever had.
Pictured is a portion of the Nagurney garden located on Hunt Road in Lakewood.
The wrap-around garden at the Bull/Hemink residence is pictured above surrounding an old Victorian home on West Terrace Avenue in Lakewood.
A water feature is pictured below as one of many attractions at the Healey garden on Spruce Street.
"We have three pocket gardens located in one spot on Spruce Street that are new to this year's tour," Szydlo said. "Normally we have five gardens (per tour) and, on a good year, six. So, scoring three more gardens in a single area is a big deal. It's so exciting to have three gardens on Spruce Street; we call it 'a pocketful of Spruce.'"
The tour is self-guided, and aims to inspire, educate and impress those who participate. The owners of the gardens will also be present to answer questions, and provide background information. Participating garden sites on this year's tour are located at the residences of: Barbara Kiddoo, of Spruce Street; Ron and Kathleen Healey, of Spruce Street; Maury and Susan Spillane, of Spruce Street; Ruth Baker, of Grant Street; David Metzler, of Grant Street; Sue Nordlund, of West Seventh Street; Dave Bull and Jack Hemink, of West Terrace Avenue in Lakewood; and Dan and Sandy Nagurney, of Hunt Road in Lakewood.
The five additional gardens not located on Spruce Street have all been seen on previous tours, but Szydlo says that will not detract from the experience that tourists will have.
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When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday all day
Where: Heron Grounds, 2361 Waits Corners Road in Sherman
Cost: $10 or $20 per vehicle for parking, $40 per day or $90 for weekend pass
For More Info: www.greatblueheron.com, or "The Great Blue Heron Music Festival" on Facebook
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When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where: Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown
Cost: $5 per ticket
For More Info: 484-7070, or www.reglenna.com/movies
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For More Info: 945-9300, or senecaalleganycasino.com/events-center
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When: Sunday, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Steener's Pub, 3022 Route 430 in Greenhurst
For More Info: 720-5087
"I'd like to emphasize that you don't have to be a gardener to take these tours," she said. "First of all, we all need to get out and walk more. And good weather is hard to come by in this area, so we should seize it while it's here. You'll walk through some stunning residential gardens that are literally right in your own backyard, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
"It's a fun time, and a nice way to enjoy Jamestown and the area for a day," Szydlo added. "There is a fragility to gardens. They may look beautiful today, but might not exist in 10 years - so seize the day."
Also new to this year is a giveaway of a handcrafted garden-themed tote bag and matching clutch purse. Tickets for the giveaway will be available at the Nagurney garden, and are priced as follows: one ticket for $1, three tickets for $2, or 10 tickets for $5. Water and snacks will also be offered to tourists at the Bull/Hemink, Nordlund, Baker and Spruce Street gardens.
Tickets are available the day of the event for $12, and are available at any of the participating garden sites. Presale tickets are also available for $10, and can be purchased at the Jamestown Audubon - located at 1600 Riverside Road - as well as Mike's Nursery, Lakeview Gardens, Peterson Farm, Robert's Nursery, Secret Garden Flower Shop and Stillwater Garden Market.
Each ticket will provide directions, parking recommendations and a map to assist participants in finding the gardens. A Google map version of the garden locations is also available at www.jamestownaudubon.org. For more information call 569-2345.
Proceeds of ticket sales for the Secret Gardens Tour will benefit the nature education programs of the Audubon Center and Sanctuary.