Building Community Assets—Secret Gardens of Lake Forest Park Garden Tour and Plant Sale

Friday, April 26, 2013

By Sarah Phillips

The Secret Gardens Lake Forest Park Garden Tour and Plant Sale has reinvested over $85,000 into the Lake Forest Park community.

In the past 10 years, the proceeds from the Garden Tour have been reinvested in community art and sustaining community organizations.

Five by Five by Rodger Squirrell

The largest gift has been to the City of Lake Forest Park. The Garden Tour decided early on to set aside over half of the proceeds of the tour for a community art donation. For the City’s 50th anniversary, the Garden Tour, in conjunction with the City, created a request for proposals, identified an artist and oversaw the project. The commissioned piece of public art, Five by Five, was created by local artist, Rodger Squirrell. It was installed near City Hall and donated to the City by the Garden Tour.

The Tour also donated $5000 to the Hamlin Bridge project to enliven and add whimsy to the pedestrian bridge crossing.

The rest of the proceeds from the garden tour have been distributed back to the four sponsoring agencies: Third Place Commons, the Lake Forest Park Garden Club, the Stewardship Foundation and the Shoreline/Lake Forest Park Arts Council. Each of these organizations has reinvested the proceeds into local programming, scholarships, plantings, and local music and arts programs.

The Secret Gardens of Lake Forest Park Garden Tour and Plant Sale began in 2002.

The City approached the Garden Club to see about adding the garden tour to an existing community event called Picnic in the Park. The intrepid gardeners thought local gardens had passed their peak in late July and suggested a date in June.

A group of people led by the Lake Forest Park Garden Club and City staff organized the first meetings and invited various local organizations to join the effort. The Garden Club brought experience with tours, Third Place Commons assisted in raising funds for Ciscoe Morris and had experience with event planning. The Stewardship Foundation and the Arts Council each saw the Garden Tour as a way to provide environmental education and enhance a local sense of community. The City of Lake Forest Park participated, providing space to meet and publicity.

Save the date for the 11th Annual Secret Gardens of Lake Forest Park and Plant Sale, Saturday, June 15, 2013 9am to 4pm. Tickets are available online and at garden centers and outlets in the Town Center Shopping Center.


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