Just Gardens tickets are now available throughout the area
, 2015

Just Gardens tickets are now
available throughout the area

“Wouldn’t it be fun to have an opportunity to see some private gardens in the Northern Neck?” That question was posed by Mary Lloyd Lay to three of her gardening friends in the summer of 2000. The ‘fun’ that sprouted became the annual fundraising event, ‘Just Gardens.’

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The gardeners who were a part of the first tour and also part of the original team of organizers were Anne Olsen, Suzanne Haaland, C.J. Carter and Lay. Anne Dickerson, a member of The Haven’s board of directors, joined the fun as well. It was decided early on that the event needed a cause and The Haven was a natural choice. Maria Laqueur volunteered her administrative and creative talents and created brochures, flyers, tickets, maps and anything else that was needed.

The first tour in 2001, covered the far reaches of Lancaster County.

“Gardens from Wicomico Church to Kilmarnock, to Weems to Merry Point, and one garden at Yankee Point; it was quite a trek if you intended to see all seven gardens we had open that first year,” said Carter. “But wow, we knew right away we had a winner. Almost 400 people attended and the positive feedback kept coming weeks after the tour was over. The most asked question was ‘You’re going to do this again next year aren’t you?”

“We realized we needed more help,” said Olsen. “Every garden was going to need one person in charge or a team of two in charge to deal with ticket taking, parking cars, identifying plants, putting together preliminary publicity info, writing a description of the garden and directions for the brochure; it’s a process.

“We have been very fortunate in getting master gardeners to assist in many of these arenas,” continued Olsen. “Then there’s finding new gardens every year. That’s been a real challenge. We have had to broaden our search in an effort to find tour gardens. We are really lucky to have found a new group of fantastic gardens in the Tappahannock area for this year’s tour.”

The tour will be May 16 and 17. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on tour days. Advance purchase by mail is possible until May 6. Send a self-addressed stamped #10 envelope and a check, payable to The Haven, to Just Gardens, P.O. Box 429, Irvington, VA 22480.

Brochures and advance ticket sales are available at TBonz and Tuna, 429 Dock Street and Essex Bank, 1325 Tappahannock Boulevard, both in Tappahannock; Essex Bank branch, 654 Northumberland Highway, Callao; The Haven Shelter & Services Inc. Administrative Office & Shoppe for Haven’s Sake Thrift Store, 5726 Richmond Road, Warsaw; The Dandelion, 4372 Irvington Road, Irvington; Wildest Dreams, 702 Jessie Ball duPont Burgess; and The Pedestal, 18 South Main Street, Kilmarnock.

On tour days tickets can be purchased at all the gardens. Tickets are non-refundable and event is held rain or shine.

The Haven provides services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

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