WASSO Garden Tour to include eclectic mix of stops

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

It’s the time of the season when gardens are at their peak, and an eclectic variety will be on display when a fundraiser reaches a milestone year. The 30th annual Women’s Association of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (WASSO) Garden Tour will highlight some unusual stops including four homes, a courtyard and a public attraction.

The tour will be 1-5 p.m. Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16. Presale tickets are on sale and proceeds will benefit Springfield Symphony programs.

WASSO does three fundraiser tours annually, including a kitchen tour in the spring and holiday tour of homes in December. The garden tour began 30 years ago by Janet James, who has worked on each tour. Event co-chair Claudia Fett said it has only grown in popularity due to several factors.

“The interest in gardening has increased over the decades. There are more gardens in the area at places like the Westcott House, Hartman Rock Garden and events like South Side in Bloom,” Fett said. “People also realize the importance of mental health, and gardens help with stress and so do plants, trees and the environment.”

All the homes on the tour are new this year and all in Springfield.

“We have quite an eclectic mix this year, from informal to extremely formal,” said Fett. “We also try to include a community garden so people are aware of what’s in our community.”

The stops include:

-204 Ardmore Rd., Dave and Kathy Johnson residence. Visitors will find 600 ft. of garden space with a variety of flowers, fruit and vegetable gardens, several plants, bushes and trees and paved areas, wrought-iron gates and a brick patio.

-417 S. Arlington Ave., Sue Green residence. This garden contains glass blocks, bricks and memorabilia from former Springfield buildings including Crowell-Collier, Mercy Hospital and the Harrison Can Company, along with a wine bottle border. It also has nine raised garden beds and a Chicago Hardy fig tree.

-418 N. Belmont Ave., Mike and Susan Chiles residence. The original garden from nearly 100 years ago is still in use, developed into a wildlife habitat in 2002 and certified by the National Wildlife Foundation as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat that provides shelter, nesting spots, food and water for the wildlife. There is a water fountain, bird houses, bat house and vintage items from former area buildings.

-1214 Lagonda Ave., Scott Mead residence. A six-apartment property added an Air BNB along with the garden containing a bridge, cobblestone walkways, firepit and a cabin that dates back to 1806, moved from Jasper Street and reassembled log by log.

-Derby Glen Village. There are 22 front yards on this atypical stop where a variety of patio-type homes and landscape designs await along with the personal touches of residents, a gazebo with accented roof, pond and fountains. To reach this destination, put 101 Derby Court into your GPS and park on Secretariat Court as Derby Glen doesn’t have an address associated with it.

- Hartman Rock Garden, 1905 Russell Ave. This tourist attraction that draws visitors from all over the country was built in 1932 with various characters and settings created by Ben Hartman. It’s complemented by a variety of flowers cultivated and maintained by volunteers year-round.

Tour tickets cost $15 each in advance or $20 each on tour days at participating homes. Advance tickets are available at the SSO office, located in the Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 S. Fountain Ave., at Frame Haven, Katie’s Hallmark, Schneider’s Florist or from any WASSO member.


What: 30th annual WASSO Garden Tour

Where: Six locations in Springfield

When: 1-5 p.m. Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16

Admission: $15 presale; $20 days of tour

More info: www.springfieldsym.org

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