“Inaugural Cooper Young Garden Walk” is a blooming success!

by Kim Halyak

On Saturday, May 21st, the Cooper Young Garden Club held its first annual “Cooper Young Garden Walk”. Almost 500 visitors toured the 23 private gardens and 6 business green spaces. Additionally, they stopped by the farmer’s markets and meandered through our shops.

Some of the highlights of the day included:  hearing the funny, informative, renown garden speaker, Carol Reese, talk about creating magic in the garden. She spoke at Jay Etkin Art Gallery to a packed crowd of 90+ people. Outside, visitors gathered at the gazebo to ask garden questions of Dr. Chris Cooper, one of the tv hosts of “Family Plot” and other master garden experts. Urban Forestry experts answered tree questions at the adjacent booth. Our wonderful Tamara and Bobby Cook graciously sold tickets nonstop during the day, including someone who bought a ticket at 3:30pm, 30 minutes from closing. Across the street, Stephanie Jones, owner of “me+mrs.jones painted finishes” and her staff, provided painting demonstrations under a tent on her front lawn.

Visitors marveled at each beautiful garden, all unique in personality and style. From urban homesteading to shade gardens, raised beds, outdoor showers, fairy gardens, container gardening, historic garden, and child friendly, there was something for everyone.

While the gardens were all in walkable distance, there were gardens in each quadrant of Cooper Young so visitors could leisurely stroll our neighborhood and enjoy the tree-lined streets of historic, colorful homes. Visitors began arriving at 8:30am and didn’t leave until 5pm, some even later.

Visitors had so many positive comments about our walk.

“This is so wonderful………, wow, I’ve never been to Cooper Young before…I had no idea you all had such beautiful gardens…so many creative ideas…I feel so inspired….you need to do this again…loved Carol Reese’s talk….loved all the restaurants…enjoyed the walking…..all the garden hosts were so warm and welcoming….I will definitely be back next year….you should do this 2 days next year….If this is your first year, I can only imagine what next year will be like…..I had no idea so many people would be into gardening (Tamara)…it’s so quiet, I can’t believe I’m in the city…these are “real people” gardens….”

Besides a guided bike tour by Jason Potter, many other visitors also biked, proving again how bike friendly our neighborhood is. The weather was perfect!

Many of the restaurants and shops offered discounts and special menu items for garden visitors who stopped to refuel with food and drink. Thank you for supporting our endeavor with these discounts. Our visitors really appreciated them!

The Cooper Young Garden Club thanks everyone who supported us with money, in-kind donations, discounts on services received, publicity, volunteer docents, gift basket items, garden sponsorships, advice for pulling this off, and most importantly, faith and encouragement as we dived into this project only 4 months ago.

We hope you will continue to support us as this event grows and expands to include more gardens and businesses next year. As we grow bigger, we look for more involvement from everyone in the neighborhood—businesses, residents, plant vendors, artists, designers, and gardeners. In this way, we hope to encourage and recognize beautiful, functional, creative outdoor spaces, while inspiring everyone to take pride in our community.

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