A Blooming Success!

Step into the Vershire Women's Wellness Center virtual Healing Gardens Tour

Garden Tour Raises Funds for Vershire Women's Wellness Circle

The Healing Gardens Tour last Sunday was so delightful that I decided to devote this week’s blog to a virtual tour of that event, and cover the highlights of Vershire Summer Camp in next Friday’s post.  Our town is so lively sometimes it’s a challenge to keep up!

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Mary Pat Donaldson is a new resident of Vershire who expressed her appreciation for the event on dailyUV.com, saying,  “The afternoon garden tour this past Sunday was an absolute delight! Thank you to the organizers and a heartfelt thanks to all those who opened their beautiful gardens for us.”

Gregory Wilson also commented, “...this was a lovely day... it was good to see friends and meet people for the first time.”  He enjoyed “listening to the wisdom that grows from gardening.”

A radiant sunflower celebrates the height of summer

The idea took root at the very first organizing meeting of the Vershire Women’s Wellness Circle last August, though the intensive planning, promoting and presenting the event came together in about two weeks!  Since that initial meeting the VWWC has put on a Healing Arts & Crafts Fair, convened to read aloud to one another while engaging in fiber arts like spinning and knitting, thrown a Chinese New Year bash, presented a talk on living in the Middle East, and gathered more or less informally at business meetings to discuss life for women and girls in Vershire, what’s great about it and how it can be improved.  Still, the inspiration to get out and share the beauty of our town and the efforts of our neighbors to sculpt the already lush countryside with their unique styles persisted, finally unfolding through a short series of meetings via email and in person with Lynn Roy heading up the project and Liz Thames rallying to produce the lovely brochures, tickets and maps.

The Healing Gardens Tour wound through Vershire from north to south, or the other way around, depending on where one began, with VerShare’s Church-Orr House as a suggested starting point.  Many tickets were sold in advance while some were purchased at the C-OH during the tour from Eriko Fujino, a former Vershire Camp International Volunteer who has returned several times since to visit and help with camp, as well as welcoming Vershire visitors to Tokyo.  Altogether 26 tickets were sold at $5 each for a total of $130.  There has been comment that the price was too low, and at one single dollar per garden, it does seem quite the bargain!  The proceeds will contribute to presenting another Healing Arts & Crafts Fair this November.

A welcoming table of refreshments, herbal products & day lilies

My family started at the top of North Road at the Lacey/Hoopes gardens with grand views and many distinct yet integrated cultivated plots from those around the house to a shady glade at the head of a trail that leads farther up the mountain, and even a hillside chicken coop festooned with prayer flags.  Down toward the bottom of North Road we enjoyed a rest on the Roys’ shady swing overlooking the valley, surrounded by wildflowers encouraged to mix with deliberate plantings, and even offerings of free chive plants for visitors to take home, with a parade of wild turkeys meandering across the meadow in front of us.  On Reed Road we were treated to a grandchildren’s play garden by Marlene Jenks, which was inviting and exciting to all ages, with bean trellis and sunflower hideaways that grow more secluded through the summer and a patio under a shading tree, all overlooking a serene pond.  Their pet pig greeted us but did not follow us into the garden.  Then we drove through the Mountain School campus to the Kruse’s home where Sue's garden path leads through a magical gateway with just the right little creak to the hinges, winds around and hugs the house and porch in a delightfully cool grove with multiple level plantings from low-lying impatiens to spires of hollyhocks.  We concluded in South Vershire on Parker Road with the Crowley/Sykas homestead and extensive edible gardens providing berries, vegetables, herbs and even proving that cactus can grow outdoors in Vermont!

Yes, cactus are growing in Vershire!

The tour was well-organized and as educational as one would like, offering detailed narratives and explanations if desired and even copies of Fred Crowley’s planting guide as well as refreshments at more than one location.  The weather was ideal, and this particular moment of the season featured not only maturing food crops and other plantings but a range of wildflowers just shifting from early blooms to the deep blossoming of summer.  More gardeners have already offered to participate next year so the tour may already be doubling!  Summer in Vermont may be brief, but that just encourages us to savor the joys of the season all the more fervently.

Buzz back here next week for the highlights of the Vershire Summer Camp, still in progress as this post is published, but winding up to the pinnacle presentations of the campers at 4 p.m. today (Friday, July 22) and rolling right into our monthly community supper at about 5:30 p.m., which has evolved from Soup Night into a summer picnic potluck, sporting a community grill with room for you to bring your main course if you like.  All are welcome to join these free events.

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