By Lauren Bennett
Special to the Gazette
The first annual Jamaica Plain Garden Tour drew in a crowd of garden lovers on July 14. With over 400 attendees, the tour was a huge success. Trustees Engagement Manager Michelle de Lima said that they printed 400 information booklets, but ran out.
De Lima said that since the Trustees have had so much success with the garden tour in the South End over the past 25 years and there are a lot of community gardens in Jamaica Plain, they figured starting one in JP would be of interest to the community.
“We knew that JP has lots of gorgeous gardens,” de Lima said, so after the idea was suggested by Trustees General Manager Vidya Tikku, de Lima began scouting gardens last summer and asking people if they would like to be part of the tour.
Of the 26 total gardens on the tour, 24 of them were private. De Lima said that one of the best things about this tour was the fact that a lot of garden owners were present in their gardens during the tour. They were able to speak to visitors and talk about the different flowers and plants that they have in their gardens, as well as answer any questions.
Though there was a great turnout of volunteers who could provide information about the gardens, “having the owners there made it extra special,” de Lima said.
De Lima said that due to the success of the very first year, the Trustees are looking to make the tour a little longer next year, as well as get even more businesses and sponsors for the event.
She said that they will be rotating through some different gardens in future years, just as the South End tour does. They still might repeat a couple, but de Lima said that she’ll be looking in different neighborhoods so the same people can come year after year and still be able to see new gardens. She said they might also look into having it earlier in the summer next year, to lessen the risk of extreme heat.
“I was really happy with the way it turned out,” de Lima said. Similar to the strategy used by the South End tour this year, advertisement for the JP tour was done largely through social media. De Lima said that there were a few gardening groups who shared it on their pages.
The Trustees also interviewed several JP garden owners and put videos up on Instagram to spread the word, as well as created banners and postcards. De Lima and Tikku also appeared on WCVB’s CityLine in June to talk about the tour and their other programs.
De Lima would like to express “definite gratitude to the garden owners for their generosity,” as this “absolutely could not happen without them,” she said. “We were really pleased.”