GARDEN WALK HISTORY
The inspiration for our neighborhood garden walk was a 2008 trip my sister and I took to Buffalo, NY, to see the Buffalo Garden Walk, the largest garden walk in the US. We were 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 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 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?”.
Year 1 — 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.Our garden walk booklet was spiral bound and a favorite keepsake of visitors.
Year 2 — May 20-21, 2017
The response was so positive, we grew to 84 gardens and 10 green business spaces. We added an extra day, more educational vendors, a guided bike tour, and brought in Lisa Orgler, landscape designer, instructor, and blogger from Iowa. We also sold Garden Walk T-shirts. These successes showed us the power of flowers to inspire, beautify and build community.
Year 3 — May 19-20, 2018
We added 24 new gardens and 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 plantsman told us the best native plants for our region. A shuttle bus and art vendors were added.
Year 4 –May 18-19, 2019
We added new gardens for a total of 84 garden and focused on showing visitors how to create Productive Gardens. Talks included: Growing Micro-greens, Growing Mushrooms, Aquaponics, Hydroponics, Composting, Container Gardening, Foraging Food, and more. Bee Inspired Staging, LLC showcased Tablescapes and Porch Staging” at three of the gardens. We even had 2 vintage “glamper campers” and a modern camper, all decked out for summer entertaining. Jack Kenner, renown photographer, helped us showcase our beautiful gardens. We took part of our proceeds and created the “C Y We Beautify” Beautification Grant. Residents can apply for up to $500 seed money to create beautiful spaces in the neighborhood.
Year 5 – May 15, 16, 17, 2020
For our 5th Anniversary, the Cooper-Young Garden Walk Board Members are eagerly planning this year’s garden walk. It’s going to be extra special as we add a first time Friday Moonlight Magic Garden Tour of six selected gardens. Visitors can discover beautiful illuminated gardens decked out for party festivities. This limited ticket event includes music, drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Other attractions for the weekend include: new gardens, more speakers, and a newly designed t-shirt. Don’t be surprised to see vintage cars in front of some of our special gardens. As we continue to grow and bloom, we invite you to:
“Come visit our garden walk and see what a celebration of gardening can do to a neighborhood and the community at large! “
Keep checking back as we confirm new additions to our annual walk.
See you May 16-17, 2020, 9 am. – 5 pm.
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