The inspiration for our neighborhood garden walk was a 2008 trip my sister and I took to Buffalo, NY, to see the largest garden walk in the US. We were so astounded by the sheer number of beautiful, creative garden spaces. Each block trying to outdo the others.
At the time, there were 330 gardens on tour. Neither of us I had ever been on a garden tour larger than 20 gardens. The gardens were full of personality, whimsy, bold colors, and enthusiastic hosts eager to share their gardens with strangers. We especially appreciated the wide array of garden styles and levels—from simple to sophisticated, novice to seasoned—-at no time did we feel disappointed.
Coming home from the trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about the impact the walk had made on Buffalo. I saw enormous civic pride, elimination of blighted properties, beautiful gardens and streetscapes, and thousands of visitors spending their money and time touring the city.
My first thought was, “Darn, why is Buffalo so far away?” The second thought was, “Well, if Buffalo can do it, why not Cooper-Young and throughout Memphis, TN?”.
May 19, 2016, we hosted our first “Cooper-Young Garden Walk” with 22 gardens and 6 green business spaces. Our keynote speaker was the local favorite, “Carol Reese”. The response was so positive, we grew to 84 gardens and 10 green business spaces in May 2017. We added more educational vendors, a guided bike tour, and brought in “Lisa Orgler,” landscape designer/instructor/blogger from Iowa. These successes showed us the power of flowers to inspire, beautify and build community. In 2018, we added 24 new gardens. We focused on native plants, creating 9 educational demo gardens on specific native plants for specific places. Saturday, our keynote speaker was: Dr. Doug Tallamy, renown speaker/author of “Bringing Nature Home” and “The Living Landscape”. Sunday, we listened as Chris Cosby, noted local native plant guru tell us the best native plants for our region.
As we continue to grow and bloom, we invite you to come visit our garden walk and see what celebrating gardening can do to a neighborhood and the community at large!
See you May 18-19, 2019.
While we’re still in the planning stages, you can be sure we will find new ways to outdo our selves. Keep checking back as we confirm additions to our walk.