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Ready for the garden tour?

I have a big extended family, and most of them are school teachers. As soon as school is out, they all head for the beach en masse.

I’ve gone with them occasionally, but in recent years I have told them I’d rather stay home and water their flowers unless they decide to go sometime other than May or June. I just don’t think there is a better place to be during those two months than Ohio – southern Ohio in particular.

Watching the trees begin their delicate greening, the dogwood and redbud the first to bloom in the dark winter woods, then the daffodils and tulips taking over. And just as they are spent, along come the roses of every shade of pink, red, even yellow, all over town.

By the time the roses bloom, we residents are well into trips to the plant stores to fill our pots and flower beds with what we are sure will be an even better yard display than we had with last year’s efforts.

It’s just about time now to sit back, relax, and enjoy the results of all our digging and hauling and planting, and trimming. The weather was perfect this weekend, so my sister brought her bike up from Wheelersburg Friday, and we leisurely wheeled around town, admiring your handiwork.

Well done, residents! I applaud you!

Our trip also involved stopping at the Farmers Market for tomatoes, cantaloupe, and homemade pumpkin bread, lunch at the Transit Center Diner, and a look at the new Community Gardens, now filled with every kind of plant one can imagine.

Last year at this time, I wrote a column asking you to freshen up your property to be ready for the 100 plus guests who would be driving around town to attend the self-guided Over the Fence Backyard Garden Tour, a major fund raiser Ironton In Bloom, Inc. has organized for the last 5 years.

We’re doing it again this Sunday (rain date: June 30), from 1 to 4 p.m. An invitation has been sent to all Tri-State garden club members, and a general announcement has gone out across the area to folks like me, who just like to see a pretty garden and get some ideas for our own.

This year, I am so proud of our town! Even the smallest house seems to have a trimmed yard and a bright pot of flowers on the porch.

I’m excited about visitors cruising the streets, looking for the addresses of the six lovely gardens that will be on display. We’re hoping they’ll also stop by and see the new Community Gardens and the downtown pots which are just now starting to really take hold and grow.

A helpful thing we all can do on our individual blocks these last few days before the tour is to watch for discarded trash along the curbs and take time to pick it up. While you’re out, look at the storm drains and see if they need cleared. The street sweeper can’t always get the trash that gathers on the grates there.

And we would love to have you come along on the tour. Tickets ($10), maps, and refreshments will be available all afternoon Sunday at the Lawrence County Museum, 506 S. Sixth St.

See you there?


Judy Sanders is an Ironton resident and a volunteer with the Ironton In Bloom organization.