Community celebrates green during Garden Walk

BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer

Musicians playing in Patti Gilman's garden, featured on the Clarkston Garden Walk. Photo by Jessica Steeley
Musicians playing in Patti Gilman’s garden, featured on the Clarkston Garden Walk. Photo by Jessica Steeley

Flowers, music and art were enjoyed by participants of the Clarkston Garden Walk put on by the Clarkston Farm and Garden Club, July 19.
“This is our 12th year,” Event Chairperson Debi Moore said. “We have six gardens and we try to keep them together. They are within a 3mile radius and we give out the map. There are artists and musicians in every garden.”
Beth Kerr, another member of the Clarkston Farm and Garden Club, said they contact local art and music organizations to find volunteers for the gardens. Some of them are high school students.
Aside from the entertainment, Moore said one garden included cookies baked by every club member. There’s also an artisan market every year and specials at some local restaurants with the purchase of a garden walk wristband.
“We are a non-profit so everything we make, all the money we make goes right back into the community,” she added. “We support the planters downtown, the library gardens, we give out scholarships to local teachers and local seniors every year.”
Kerr created the garden walk and started the annual tradition. She said it’s grown every year, mostly by word of mouth. The first year 160 people participated and now they have over 500 participants.
They also hear about neighborhood gardens through word of mouth and they’re always looking for gardens to include in the walk, Kerr said.
“Gardeners are anxious to share because they love what they do and they’re anxious to share with other gardeners,” Moore said. “We learn something every year from somebody. We pick up things every year from these gardeners because there’s always a plant we don’t have or we can help somebody else. It’s reciprocal.”
One place featured on the walk this year was the Kelly Garden, owned by Joy and Kevin Kelly.
“We put a lot of work into it, so why not, let’s give it a go and see what happens,” Joy said when contacted about being featured. “We’ve been very pleased to be part of it. It’s a great organization.”
Joy said she spends 8-10 hours a day in the garden during peak planting times. Now it takes her about an hour to an hour and a half a day to keep everything weeded and trimmed.
The Garden Walk also brought in some out-of-towners to Clarkston.
“I’m very impressed. It’s more than what I imagined,” Bloomfield Hills resident Terrie Gyarmati said about the walk. “This is just beautiful, everything’s maintained. Other garden walks don’t have the music, but it really enhances the whole flow of the garden walk.”
“I never knew it existed like this,” Troy resident Mary Haddad said about Clarkston. This was her first garden walk. Gyarmati said she’s been doing garden walks for 25 years and heard about this one while visiting Bordine’s. She plans to continue to go on the Clarkston Garden Walk every year.
“Clarkston is really maturing and building and growing,” she said. “It’s all built up with beautiful homes and gardens, and everybody takes care of them so nicely.”
If a resident wants to feature their garden, they can contact the garden club through their website, www.clarkstongardenclub.org, or their Facebook page.