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Posted: 07/10/13

Library group, SAC hosts
garden fundraisers

Observer Staff Writer
      Peruse perennials, paintings and palette-pleasing foods as the Friends of the Romeo District Library and Starkweather Arts Center provide a day of celebrating nature's beauty.
       The Friends' annual Garden Walk fundraiser and Starkweather's Moonflower afterglow will be held on Saturday, July 13, to feature local gardens, food, music and art.
       The Garden Walk, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will allow participants to walk through seven different gardens owned by local residents and organizations.
       Rosemary Kern, coordinator for the Garden Walk, said the Garden Walk is one of the main fundraisers for the non-profit to help support the local libraries.
       "We depend on it, the funds go toward the needs of the library," she said. "We have a jewel of a library in our community and we're very happy with that."
       She said a lot of the gardens are within walking distance of each other this year, with two of the gardens on Church Street in Romeo. They range from small displays to grand estate sizes.
       New to the Garden Walk is the Porter garden, maintained by Michelle and Rod Porter of Romeo. They have cultivated seven flower beds and gardens since they moved to their 1.4 acres of property in 2005.
       "We've both always had office jobs so it's a total switch in environment," Michelle said. "We've helped make the house our own with the landscaping too."
       Michelle is a master gardener and Rod is a master composter with the Michigan State University Extension program. Their garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation due to not using pesticides or herbicides while providing food and shelter for birds.
       A vegetable garden, a hosta bed, a rock garden and perennials can be found throughout the property, nurtured with the aid of rainwater barrels.
       "We try to be green," Rod said. "In some respects it is (difficult), the weeds come back a lot faster and more plentiful."
       The other gardens featured on this year's tour include the following:
       • The Dugger Garden, featuring hostas, ferns, trillium, trees and a pond to give an English Garden feel. A screened summerhouse caps off the garden.
       • The Keller Garden, styled in the English practices, uses boxwood and blue holly to cover the "acropolis" hill. Everything from irises to tulips and honeysuckles can be found alongside a Japanese maple, shrubs and herbs.
       • The St. Clement Gardens, with woods, annuals, a memorial rose garden and the pastor's porch container garden decorate the church's grounds.
       • The St. Laurent Garden, featuring trees from Pope John Paul II's mass at the Silverdome in 1987, a fairy garden, a vine-covered arbor and perennial beds.
       • The Starkweather Garden, located behind the art center, contains flower beds featuring hollyhocks and spirea. Wild ginger, Virginia creep and ferns also decorate the garden.
       • The Tapper Garden, a 10 acre site with Japanese and European influences like a reflection pool, ponds and sculptures. More than 4,000 bushes and shrubs fill the landscape along with a raised vegetable garden.
       In addition to the tour, the library will hold a presentation about hostas from noon to 1 p.m. at the Kezar Library.
       Moonflower afterglow
       The outdoor Moonflower afterglow is a fundraiser for the Starkweather Arts Center held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the art center and the alley next to it.
       Christina Muir, Moonflower coordinator and Starkweather Society board member, said Plein Air artists will go to the sites of each garden in the Garden Walk and paint a scene of their choice. This art will be featured alongside other work by the artists.
       "One thing I think is going to be really nice is when people go on the tour of gardens they'll be able to come back and enjoy the art," she said.
       She said the afterglow also gives the opportunity to socialize with the artists as well as some of the owners of the gardens while enjoying live music and refreshments.
       Vendors from the local area will serve food and beverages during the afterglow, including Westview Orchards, Main Street Bar and Grill and Country Smoke House.
       Garden Walk tickets are $10 each, while the Moonflower tickets are $15 each. Tickets for both events are available at the Kezar Branch Library on Church Street, the Graubner Library on Van Dyke and Starkweather Arts Center on N. Main Street.

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Retrieved 8/3/2015 at 11:19:47 PM.
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