Research shows walking benefits both the body and the mind, and the Northwest Indiana region is full of parks, trails and nature preserves that highlight the beauty and diverse landscape of the area. Throughout the summer in Home and Garden, The Times will highlight some of the best places to walk and enjoy the unique topography this region has to offer.
It's that time of the year when homeowners start prepping their gardens, making sure each little weed is removed and the yard is picture perfect.
A select few in several communities, however, take it one step further - putting their outdoor living areas on display for hundreds who will walk through their gardens, admiring the beauty of the blossoming flowers and the extra work that went into creating a picturesque landscape.
A Day in the Country
The Crete Woman's Club will hold its 23rd annual garden walk June 25-27.
This year's theme, "A Day in the Country - Water Wise Gardening," focuses on coping with both too much and too little rainfall.
Several homes on the tour will display coping mechanisms such as rain barrels, a dry creek bed to divert excess rainfall, drip irrigation to minimize evaporation and the use of native plantings that tolerate extremes of moisture better than most garden plants. The tour also will feature six gardens that include ponds, garden ornamentation and wrap-around porches dotted with colorful containers to serve as inspiration to walkers.
"The Crete Woman's Club annual garden walk has long been enjoyed by garden enthusiasts - not only for the beauty of the event, but for the gardening knowledge that is centered around a yearly theme," club member Leslee Williams said. "Last year, nearly 600 walkers from several states toured in 100-degree temperatures during the three-day walk because of its long-standing reputation."
A preview night on June 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. allows guests to meet the gardeners and enjoy a dinner at Lincolnshire County Club afterward. There's also a special buffet luncheon June 26 and 27, and a Boutique Garden Faire at Lincolnshire Country Club in Crete - giving garden enthusiasts plenty to see.
Hours for the garden walk are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 26 and 27. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 the day of the walk.
For more information on ticket prices and where they may be purchased, go to cretewomansclub.org or call (708) 672-4820.
The Lake County Master Gardeners Association will hold its "Summer-Thyme in the Garden" garden walk from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The walk will take place throughout St. John, Dyer and Schererville.
Donnee Smith's Schererville property, which consists of both her house and a birding store called The Secret Shed, is one of the stops on the tour.
"My gardens are a rambling cottage garden, and I try and grow mostly natives," she said.
She said gardening is not only therapeutic, it brings out her creative side as well.
"It is always changing - gardens are never static. Something fits, and then it doesn't, so you move it and put something else in its place," she said. "I can commune with nature, and I see a lot of different spiders and insects from my knees."
Tickets are $7 and may be purchased in advance. For locations of where to purchase tickets, go to lakecountymastergardeners.com.
Tickets may only be purchased on the day of the event at 601 Wellington Drive, Dyer.
For more information, call (219) 755-3240.
Whiting in Bloom
Take a walk on the wild-flower side this weekend as Arts Alive! hosts a "Whiting in Bloom" garden walk.
The event will take place Saturday afternoon and is a self-guided tour of six unique gardens in the Whiting-Robertsdale area. The walk also includes a gathering at the last house for a high tea.
Tickets are $10 and includes refreshments.
For more information on where to purchase tickets, call (219) 659-3228 or (219) 659-0292.