The gardens at eight homes, a tea room and the Seminole County school system’s Student Museum will be featured in this year’s downtown May 1 tour. There also will be plein-air artists, music, carriage rides, a maypole celebration and other activities.
Lucy and Ken McGill’s garden and southern-style veranda at 1109 S. Park Ave. will be one of the stops open for viewing.
“We literally live out here. Even when the weather gets cooler, we’re still outside, just closer to the outdoor fireplace,” said Lucy McGill.
The McGill’s have lived in Sanford about 11 years and have transformed their backyard into an outdoor living experience. Their garden starts off with a brick pathway and two crape myrtles that lead to the vibrant yellows, purples and oranges of lilies, azaleas, jasmine and amaryllis that gracefully drape along the sides of the backyard, leaving plenty of space to enjoy the sun.
Their dog, Sweet Pea, happily gives visitors a walk-through of the garden.
“I just hope they won’t say ‘There’s a weed right there,’ said McGill. “I want them to feel comfortable when they see the garden and also feel relaxed.”
At 1118 S. Palmetto Ave., Maria Shreve calls her backyard getaway spot an “eclectic cottage garden.”
“My garden is always changing,” Shreve said. “Once visitors visit this year, it’ll be different next year. I’m always modifying my garden.”
Tour coordinator Sarah Miller, who said she has a “passion for gardens,” said that none of the gardens this year are repeats from last year’s tour.
Tickets for the garden tour are $10 and will be available at the Student Museum, 301 W. 7th St., or the Historic Sanford Welcome Center, 230 E. 1st St., said Miller.
Visitors on the 9 a.m to 4 p.m. tour will be given a guidebook and map of the houses, many of which are within walking distance of the museum. This year the tour will welcome Wheels on Romance, a horse and carriage transportation service.
The free May Day Celebration activities at the museum include a re-enactment of the traditional maypole dance performed by Midway Elementary School musicians and dancers, garden-related vendors, plein-air artists, plant sales, and a tour of the museum and the teaching garden.
Many longtime Sanford residents may remember the maypole dance, which used to be performed at the Sanford Grammar School, which is now the museum. The dance will be held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Food will be available for purchase.
Some of the proceeds of the day’s event will be used to benefit the restoration of the Student Museum.
For more information, Miller can be reached at 407-320-7271.