Enlivened and embraced by the promise of a nourishing garden, many Homerites gladly returned to the annual Gardener’s Weekend Garden Tour, sponsored by the Homer Garden Club. The title this year was “Gardens for the Soul: Spaces of Healing and Inspiration,” and the theme was incarnate in the various beautiful botanical structures living in our town.
After two years with garden gates closed during the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many gardeners and admirers alike were eager to share and view the abundant gardening delights. In downtown Homer on a walking portion of the tour, participants were invited to wander through hidden forests and over trickling creeks, with the starting locations for the tour being the HERC parking lot as well as space just beneath South Peninsula Hospital.
At the first stop of the garden tour, Linda and Larry Martin, recently retired, shared their high tunnels wherein exchange of tips and advice could be heard in conversation. However, conversation quickly turned to silence at the invitation to taste a sweet cherry off of one of the Martins’ trees.
Larry said he had been “praying for sunny weather, and sure enough it happened.” It certainly did, as the dark clouds seemed to lift precisely for the time of this event, which happened from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Linda Martin said she was a bit hesitant at first to participate in this year’s garden tour, but was pleasantly surprised by the reception of her garden within the community. Calm, friendly Homer folk strolled around the Martin’s property, discovering another beauty around every turn.
The walking tour continued to Marsha Korpi and Michael Velikanje’s backyard growing space, as well as the Pratt Museum & Park, before finishing at the property of Deb Lowney and Ralph Broshes.
Lowney, who prefers sculpting, creating art and weeding while leaving the vegetable care to Broshes, spoke about the significance of the day. With a steady stream of participants, she said the day was “so vital,” not only for “reconnecting neighbors, but reconnecting community.”
“Our sails are being filled up again,” she said.
Further, Lowney emphasized the importance of the trail system and walking to the whole day’s power. She said leaving the cars behind and “navigating the community on foot and with each other,” was a great opportunity to create the “social element that we have been missing for so long.”
Gardening served not only as an opportunity for social connection, but also a peaceful practice during the isolation of the pandemic. For Lowney, the “escape into the environment,” which working within her garden, and specifically weeding, gave her, was a “great joy,” during the strenuous months our community endured.
While there was a significant outpouring of community support and participation during the Garden Tour, it seemed the hope was that this event would not go down as an unusual event. Rather, many participants appeared to relish in the movement of community sharing, and hoped to find more opportunities in the future, whether it continues to come from Homer Garden Club or other organizations which seek to foster interconnectivity.
More information about the Homer Garden Club can be found at their website, https://www.homergardenclub.org/home.