Im not much of a gardener. Im as likely to kill a plant as to nourish it. But I do have a couple of plots with my fiancé in our neighborhood garden, and we modestly hope to harvest some edible vegetables this summer.
Our garden is certainly not much to look at. Especially compared to what you might see out in Wake Forest this afternoon. Nineteen homes are opening their gardens for the Share Your Wake Forest Garden free garden walk this afternoon from 1 to 4.
The project was thought up, planned and put into action by Wake Forest resident Carol Paulonis. She got the idea from Buffalo, N.Y., of all places.
Paulonis and her husband read a magazine article about a garden walk through the city. Buffalo residents got so into beautifying the area that the slums and low-income parts of the city made a comeback.
They had made them bright and pretty with all kinds of landscaping, she said. We were so amazed at how it revitalized the city.
This isnt just anecdotal evidence, Paulonis said. Studies prove the positive impact of garden walks.
It reduces the crime rate and it brings up their property values, she said. Its a total positive experience.
So then Paulonis started thinking. If run-down portions of Buffalo could be turned around, then imagine what a garden walk would do for the already beautiful Wake Forest.
Of course, there have been garden tours in Wake Forest before. But theyre mostly paid ventures.
The whole purpose of (this garden walk) is much more democratic than these garden walks where you pay $15 or $25 or something and see the best of the best, she said.
Sharing all types of gardens
The 19 homes serving as stops during the garden walk come in all shapes and sizes.
Karen Guy lives in the Majestic Oaks portion of Wake Forest. Shes been in the area for 15 years, but this will be only the third season for the garden at her current home. In her garden, you can find peppers, herbs, tomatoes and even some pumpkins, just to name a few things.
Shes not a native to North Carolina, but when she came to the area, she caught the gardening bug.
I grew up in the southwest, so when I moved to North Carolina, its so green and beautiful, I just had to garden.
Mary Hayes home is another stop on the garden tour. She lives in the historic Mill Village area of town.
Shes from Connecticut originally. She moved to Cary in 1991 and was disappointed.
After a while, I said Wheres the South? Wheres the South? Hayes said.
Turns out that Cary had too many Northerners for her taste.But then she visited Wake Forest. I went out here and it was like oh my goodness, its the South, she said. I cant wait.
Hayes says gardening has changed her life, and she just wants to spread the joy.
Its breathtaking, she said. You just love it and you want to share it with everybody whos walking by.
Marty Ludas has been gardening since 1975. He lives on the property that includes Wake Forests old ice cream shop. He says people like to cut through his garden when theyre walking through town. He welcomes it.
Ludas is looking forward to sharing with people his experience with gardens. Namely, that you dont have to do it all at once. Its taken four years for him to get his garden to become the venue it is now, he says. Also, he stresses the importance of taking care of your garden not just for the summer, but in the winter as well.
If you landscape it, its pretty year-round, even if its not in bloom, he said. Even in the winter it can be pretty.
Paulonis is excited about this inaugural garden walk. True, you probably cant get to all the gardens by walking. A car may be necessary. But thats OK. Paulonis wanted everybody to be able to join in, no matter where their garden is located.
And she said this isnt the kind of garden walk that includes only the lushest displays. This is about the joy of gardening, not who has the most professional design.
I want people who dont feel that they have a magnificent spread.
Like I said, nobody will be visiting my garden anytime soon, except maybe the rabbits and bugs eager for a free meal. But if youre around Wake Forest today, you might consider going on the garden walk. Who knows, maybe something will inspire you.
Alex Granados writes about people, places and traditions in North Raleigh and beyond. Contact him at email@example.com.