Tour to offer look into gardens throughout town

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary How does your garden grow?”

While gardeners in Wrangell may not plant silver bells and cockleshells, they still grow a myriad of things that some folks might find difficult to cultivate in the Southeast climate.

To that end, a tour being offered by the community garden group at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6, will give gardening enthusiasts a chance to see how others successfully grow things like potatoes, strawberries and a variety of flowers.

The group is still enlisting gardens to participate in the tour, but so far attendees will be able to get insight into Oceanview Gardens, possibly Katherine Ivy’s garden and a few others. It’s the first time in recent history that the tours will be given, so organizers are using it as a blueprint of sorts.

“It’s kind of like a show and tell,” said Mya DeLong, who is a member of the community garden committee and owned the florist and gift shop Groundswell. “Each gardener will be presenting their individual garden on the tour. The mission is to inspire people and to educate them about what can be grown locally.”

Though gardeners will be presenting their gardens, they do not have to give a formal presentation, said committee member Valerie Massie.

“There are so many folks here who have so much knowledge about everything and anything, and one of those things is gardening,” she said. “I think for folks who are not experienced, it will be interesting because you see how to make it work in Southeast with our climate.”

Massie said it can feel “intimidating” to start a garden in Wrangell if someone is just beginning. Having a neighbor or local gardener show beginners something tangible can go a long way in the learning process.

The community garden committee has been discussing the tour since they began meeting for this year’s growing cycle last fall. Their hope is that it will prove popular and useful enough to hold on a regular basis.

“I think a lot of people have questions about gardening, but you don’t know who wants to be asked,” Massie said. “You might be like, ‘Oh, my gosh! Laura Ballou (at Oceanview Gardens) is amazing, but I don’t know if I should stop by or if I’ll be bothering her.’”

The tour, she said, will be an ideal time to have designated question-and-answer sessions with gardeners and farmers. Another plus to the tours is that the vast knowledge people will be exposed to is all local. No one needs to be flown in for their expertise, Massie added.

“We have so much knowledge here and sometimes that’s even more motivating because you’re like, ‘Well, if they can do it, why can’t I do it?’ That’s the idea,” she said.

The finer details are still being worked out, such as light refreshments being offered on the tour and the exact cost to attend. People can show up at the community garden at 1.5 Mile the day of the tour but they are encouraged to RSVP to Dana Rowlett at 501-944-3599 or

“If nothing else, it will be fascinating and garner some interest for the future,” Massie said.


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