A local outdoor summer tradition will bloom this weekend in a socially-distanced fashion.
The 27th Annual Women’s Association of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (WASSO) Garden Tour invites visitors to explore and admire the unique outdoor spaces of six homes, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12.
The event is a fundraiser with proceeds going to various Springfield Symphony Orchestra and youth programs. Tickets cost $20 on the days of the event at participating homes.
While numerous summer events and programs have been canceled or gone virtual, WASSO members wanted to make sure the Garden Tour would be a fun and safe destination.
“We have all been inside for months and it’s important, mentally and physically to be out in nature. This is a way to help ourselves and the arts and fulfill an artistic part of our lives,” said WASSO’s Claudia Fett.
Safety measures will be in place at each tour location including having a specific one-way route to follow social distancing guidelines. Volunteers will be on hand to make sure guests are accommodated this way and may have to limit how many people can go through at a time.
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Masks are strongly encouraged. If someone doesn’t have one, Springfield Symphony masks will be for sale for $10 at each location.
Stops include four brand new locations and two that haven’t been featured in several years. Fett said each year organizers try to include places that will offer variety and beauty and is confident each of these has plenty of both.
One of the returning locations is 1810 Westwood Drive, Springfield, the residence of Pam and Neil Meermans, last featured in 2000. Fett said the residence has evolved a lot since and has a pool, decking, shrubs, perennials, annuals and highlighted by a tri-color beech tree.
The garden of Naureen Qasim, 533 Southwood Dr, Springfield, transformed from bushes and thistles when she moved in to feature a variety of window boxes and urns with various flowers.
The other home previously on the tour is that of Chris and Sally Moore, 1275 Quinlan Drive, Springfield. It will also show a progression since then with various gardens showing off vegetables, flowers, trees and more. Daffodil bulbs will also be sold there for $10.
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A former swine farm has been swapped for large flower gardens on another property that has evolved from what it originally was at the residence of Jane and Casey Craven, 3982 Mallard Ave., Springfield that now boasts large flower gardens.
The sight with the most history on the tour has been in the family since the 1800s. Chris and Kim Norman’s home at 4461 Old Columbus Rd., known as Heritage Acres, includes 32 acres of farmland and woods with multiple gardens and colorful décor.
The only non-Springfield stop belongs to Bob and Peggy Agle, 480 S. Urbana-Lisbon Rd. in South Vienna. The farm previously belonged to Bob’s great uncle with four generations farming the land that has wide-open spaces and views.
Given this is a symphony event, live music will be played on Saturday at the Norman house and Sunday at the Agle residence. The latter will have an area where guests can sit and listen to the music aside from tour.
Presale tickets are available in Springfield at Frame Haven, Nett’s Florist and Schneider’s Florist through Saturday, and at Katie’s Hallmark on Sunday.