The Lake Forest Secret Garden Tour: What to expect

Monday, May 16, 2022

Secret Garden Tour June 18
By Beth Weir

The Lake Forest Secret Garden tour on June 18 holds a particular allure in 2022, in part because it has been sidelined for the previous two years by covid restrictions. 

Pent up interest by gardeners and garden lovers, it can be fairly asserted, is the order of the day. A long, cool spring this year has only added to these feelings.

Each Secret Garden tour is distinctive and this one has its singular highlights. 

Featured across the six home gardens open to the public are plants that are either seldom seen or grandly mature. Sometimes they are both. 

In one garden visitors will find two very rare Franklinia trees, an East Coast camellia relative now extinct in the wild. 

Another features one-of-a-kind rhododendrons, one of which sports a peach-colored bloom all the way through June. Mature magnolias and a 40-year-old Hydrangea petiolaris, among other plants, fall into the grand category.

But as noted British gardener, Gertrude Jekyll has opined, this is not enough.

“I am strongly of the opinion that the possession of a quantity of plants, however good the plants may be themselves and however ample their number, does not make a garden; it only makes a collection.”

Fortunately, these rare and mature specimens have the support of interesting landscaping features, mass plantings, and ponds with goldfish if the blue herons have not been too busy. 

There is more to be seen so visitors can enjoy both the plant collections and the various features around them that have turned the landscape into gardens.

As is true for all such tours, the experience of wandering through gardens is more than the sum of its parts. 

This is particularly the case when these Edens, like those on show at Lake Forest Park are private. The individuals who have placed their yards on view, a very public and generous act, have labored to ready it in isolation. 

Home gardening, like reading, is a personal activity and requires contemplation, thought and time.

Visitors to the Lake Forest Secret Garden Tour will be the beneficiaries of this long reflection. It has added joy to the gardeners' lives and by extension will do so for those who come to view their gardens

We look forward to welcoming you to the Tour.

Pre-Tickets available 
  • online at
  • in person at Wild Birds LFP, and Third Place Books LFP in Town Center at the intersection of Ballinger and Bothell Way NE
  • Sky Nursery 18528 Aurora Ave N in Shoreline
  • The Sunday Farmers Market in LFP Town Center.


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