Michelle Diamond (left) and Judy O'Donnell in Diamond's vibrant garden. Photo by James Steindler

Since 1931, the Glenwood Garden Club has provided a space “to stimulate knowledge and love of gardening and aid in the protection of mature trees, plants and birds and encourage specific plantings,” according to its original mission. Today, its purpose remains much the same, Ann English, a former president of the club, informed The Sopris Sun. The club’s motto is simple: “community and civic involvement.”

As “the oldest, longest, continuous club active in Glenwood Springs,” English said, they have undertaken initiatives to beautify public and private spaces and to provide fun educational opportunities, like the upcoming garden tour.

English sits on the club’s Garden Tour Committee, reviving an event twice celebrated before. The “Welcome to Our Gardens Tour” last took place in 2018 and coincided with the club’s 85th anniversary. The inaugural event was in 2016 and the club intended then for the fundraiser to occur every other year. Of course, this was interrupted in 2020, but now they’re back on track. 

Prior to the garden tour tradition, the club hosted grand flower shows at the old mall. These were suspended in response to environmental conditions and the club’s imperative to teach the public better growing habits. “Ecosystems changed, along with the knowledge of garden members,” English said. “We didn’t want to be watering to get lots of flowers.”

According to Judy O’Donnell, chairwoman for this year’s Garden Tour Committee, “Most of the proceeds [from the upcoming tour] will support educational gardening projects around town” like school programs and events. The Garden Club provides financial help for aligned causes.

Saturday, June 25, all are welcome (minus pets) to visit seven “unique and lovely” gardens in Glenwood Springs and up Four Mile Road, in addition to the community gardens on Wulfsohn Road near the Community Center. Gardens being showcased will have an old bicycle, colorfully-bedecked with flowers, resting out front. These gardens, chosen to demonstrate variety, feature annual and perennial plants that grow well in the region: vegetables, herbs, bushes and trees. 

“The people who are allowing their gardens to be visited have worked hard to have everything look top-notch,” English assured. 

Most of the hosts, she added, have over 20 years of experience adapting their gardens to the local environment and its shifting needs. Several of the gardens on the tour focus on low water and low maintenance plantings; one has a total focus on xeriscaping (requiring little to no irrigation).

English and O’Donnell hope that visitors will gain inspiration from having seen these gardens and conversed with their stewards. Not only do gardens improve the human spirit, they provide habitat for diverse species to thrive when done well. Composting and healthy ecosystems benefit birds, pollinators like bees and other wildlife.

Join the tour, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 25. Tickets are available on the day of the event for $25 or can be purchased in advance for $20 online (www.bit.ly/GWSGardenTour) or at the Glenwood Springs Downtown Market on Tuesday, June 21. Not all gardens are wheelchair accessible, nor are strollers allowed. It’s recommended that attendees carpool from the Community Center or bike between locations, given parking limitations.

The club, which meets on the second Thursday of each month at rotating locations, has close to 60 members on its roster. They host guest speakers and occasionally take field trips. “We’re not just a Glenwood club, we have a lot of people from Carbondale and a few from Eagle,” O’Donnell said.

“And, up toward New Castle and that area too,” English added.

What’s the best way to get involved? Attend the tour! Call 970-945-7149 with questions.

Perhaps you’ll spy this fragrant and colorful outdoor staircase along the garden tour. Photo by James Steindler

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