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Garden Walk offers ideas to inspire green thumbs

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This Sunday's 22nd Annual Evanston Garden Walk, sponsored by Keep Evanston Beautiful, Inc., features seven private gardens and two public gardens in locations all around Evanston.

This year's walk features collections of woody plants, including unique evergreens, many kinds and colors of deciduous trees, and flowering shrubs that make up the “bones” of a wonderful garden.

One garden is the personal pallet of a retired horticultural writer for the Chicago Botanic Gardens; two surround historic houses near the lake, offering peaceful respite near the activity of downtown Evanston, with container gardens, raised organic vegetable beds, and a wealth of perennials suited to the architecture.

Another is the passion of a gardener who “gardens in my head when I go to bed,” a designated wildlife preserve as well as a beautiful garden retreat; a peaceful Zen garden dotted with treasures from the owners’ travels and fun finds at the flea market.

This year’s public gardens include an interactive garden behind a senior living facility in downtown Evanston, where residents can get their hands dirty, and a recently renovated public park where local residents united with the local fire department to raise funds and get it done. At the park on the day of the Walk, members of the Herb Society of America's Northern Illinois Unit will answer questions about growing and using culinary herbs, and will serve lavender lemonade and other refreshments.

Most of the private gardens are either designed or planted by the homeowners themselves, though professionals help with hardscape, maintenance and some of the design. This is a wonderful opportunity to see some amazing gardens, and talk to the gardeners/homeowners and occasionally the landscape designer. Visitors are encouraged to bring their notebooks and cameras.

Tickets for the walk are available on-line at www.evanstonkeb.org, where you can also find a list of local retailers who are selling the tickets through July 9th. Or you can stop by the KEB office in the Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McComick Blvd. Tickets will also be available on July 9th at the Evanston Farmer’s market in the Friends Tent. Advance purchase tickets for KEB members are $10, non-member tickets are $20.

New this year are Group Rates, $15 for orders of 6 or more tickets paid for by one person.  On the day of the walk, tickets are available at the Evanston Ecology Center only, 11 am to 4 pm, $15 for KEB members, $25 for non-members.  Attendees will receive a map of garden locations and a booklet describing the gardens.

The gardens are spread across the city, so transportation is required, and bikes and carpooling are recommended.

All proceeds from the event fund environmental education projects in Evanston and Evanston/Skokie schools, as well as promoting community cooperation in a variety of anti-litter and recycling-related programs.

For more information, contact the KEB office at 847-448-8256 x105 or via email at [email protected]

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