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It's Garden Thyme! with Secret Garden Tour of North East

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The Women’s Civic League of North East will host its 10th Annual Secret Garden Tour this Saturday, June 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — rain or shine.

This self-driving tour features eight gardens in and around the town of North East. They include a charming town garden, a garden accented by antiques, a Bay-Wise certified farmette, a waterfront garden sanctuary tended by three generations, a woodland oasis, a breathtaking natural-stone pool and water garden surrounded by outside hidden rooms, a Bay-Wise certified garden created by a Master Gardener, and a lively garden created by an accomplished gardener and artist.

Tickets for the Secret Garden Tour are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the tour. For further information on where to purchase tickets, contact: 410-287-9078 or

I was given the opportunity to preview three of the eight gardens on the tour and found each garden to be charming as well as educational. I’m certain each will delight garden enthusiasts of all ages. Each of the home gardeners — who identified only by their first names — shared what inspires them in their gardens, and I hope their words inspire you in your own home gardens!

Bea’s garden …

Bea’s Bay-Wise certified garden is a haven for all nature’s critters. The farmette — known as Morning Mist Farm — greets you with majestic trees and nature enhanced garden beds. The side and back properties are a smorgasbord of edible delights starting with blueberry bushes, herbs, fruit trees and raised-bed vegetable gardens brimming with both seasonal and perennial veggies. The new berry bush bed is filled with a variety of berry plants including josta berry, gooseberry, red currant, blueberry and cherry bushes. The perennial beds contain a colorful array of plants that serve to feed wildlife. The barn is home to horses and ponies and the natural-stone koi pond completes the setting.

“Natural and edible. We are so proud to have our garden Bay-Wise certified! The ‘environmentally sound’ gardening methods that we try to maintain are our way to help keep an ecological oasis for critters large and small, while doing our part to help maintain the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Using these methods and incorporating mostly native plants into our landscape has allowed us the pleasure to observe so many fauna – from the little lizards scurrying around our rock walls — to birds, bees, bunnies, butterflies, caterpillars and deer that visit our landscape throughout the year.” — Bea

Mary’s garden …

Mary’s gardens are a unique and delightful experience. The focal points of this property are the natural-stone pool and water garden. Surrounding this breathtaking water feature is a maze of “hidden rooms.” Starting with “Wind Chime Alley,” you’ll wind your way to the “Anniversary Garden” followed by the “Pumpkin Patch” to “Alligator Crossing” and the “Fairy Garden.” There are many other fun features along the way, such as a foot bridge, gazebo and a cozy seating area overlooking a pond. You’ll find yourself wanting to start the tour of this property over again, just to make sure you didn’t miss a thing!

“Through the years we’ve received inspiration from visiting many estates and gardens, both stateside and abroad. Friends and local nurseries have also provided inspiration. Our yard is an extension of our indoor living space … without walls! The outdoor rooms, like the Anniversary Garden and Wind Chime Alley, often evolved due to my love for antiquing. I love playing with color and design and our two acres have naturally encouraged unique outdoor areas. You don’t have to see everything in one view. By creating unique spaces, multiple views can be enjoyed. We never tire of looking out our windows. We love living here!” — Mary

Ginny’s garden …

Ginny’s garden is a serene and private oasis surrounded by woodlands. The gardens are a mix of established shrubs in landscaped areas with age-old mountain laurels and newer plantings in perennial and vegetable gardens. The rose garden is adorned with an arbor, lovingly relocated from a previous residence. The perennial beds and plantings along the wood’s edge are sure to bring an array of colors throughout each season. A touch of whimsy is found with heart shaped stepping stones, birdbaths, bird houses and frog and turtle statues.

“After moving here three years ago, we were happy to find great plantings with good topsoil in the front yard and began our gardening there. While working in the side and back gardens, we learned that mountain laurels like acidic soil and do well with azaleas, rhododendron and blueberries. After losing a dozen new hostas to deer for their dinner buffet, we moved on to planting heather plants with scratchy branches in those areas. For us, cutting fresh flowers for the house from whatever is blooming and harvesting what is ripe for the table — gives us great joy in return for our time and energy in the garden.” — Ginny

Dee Marotta travels the Cecil area in search of gardeners to feature for It’s Garden Thyme! She asks about their methods and shares what she learns here. If you’d like your garden featured, Dee would love to hear from you. You can reach her at: or 410-287-5816. You can also find her on Facebook: It’s Garden Thyme.

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