Walk the Region: Miller gardens boast variety and creativity

2013-07-07T00:00:00Z 2013-07-08T14:35:06Z Walk the Region: Miller gardens boast variety and creativityChristine Bryant Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

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.

MILLER BEACH | The Miller Garden Club has always been creative with its garden walk themes, and this year’s is no different.

The theme, “Garden Sheds, Flower Beds and 50 Shades of Red,” will welcome visitors to the Miller Beach area this weekend for the garden club’s 14th Annual Secret Gardens walk.

As the name suggests, this year’s tour on Saturday and Sunday will spotlight garden sheds and red flowers. The tour, which covers six gardens on five stops, also features a variety of landscapes.

“Miller is such a diverse kind of place, and so are our gardens,” said Judy Ayers, co-chair of the walk.

Two of the stops on the walk are located within the same townhome complex. Both gardens face Lake Michigan, but their similarities stop there.

“One of the townhouses is just about as manicured of a garden that a garden can be,” Ayers said. “It has beautiful roses and lots of pruning. Then, the other is a garden with lots of dew grass. It’s so natural, but the other one is so tended to.”

Another charming garden will remind visitors of a Hansel and Gretel house, she says, while a different home has a “spectacular vegetable garden and adorable shed.”

One of the stops will feature a progressive garden – one that started as a blank slate and has continuously evolved over the past few years. That garden has been a stop on the walk for the past few years, so returning guests can see how the garden has grown.

“Our garden walk has always been called ‘Secret Gardens’ because Miller is a secret to a lot of people,” Ayers said. “A lot of our gardens are in houses where you might drive past and never suspect what’s behind the fence or in the yard.”

This year’s tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and will begin at the Aquatorium in Marquette Park. Gardening vendors will be on site at the Aquatorium, and box lunches will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

A free shuttle bus service to the gardens runs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

There is also a bike tour both days that leaves at 10:30 a.m. and takes riders to each of the garden walk stops. Riders must bring their own bikes.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance at Ayers Realtors, Lake Street Gallery and Marquette Park. Tickets also may be purchased on either days of the event, and maps of the tour stops will be provided.

“We’ve had years where there’s been as many as 400 people,” Ayers said. “If it’s a beautiful day, we usually have a good turnout.”

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