Ann McCulloh, contributing editor
In the heart of a Cleveland summer, hundreds of people stroll the city’s neighborhoods, invited to soak up the special character of each one, meeting residents and admiring their unique and welcoming gardens. GardenWalk Cleveland, a free, self-guided and volunteer-organized tour has been the vehicle for this special invitation since 2011.
Last year (2016) Gardenwalk Cleveland took a one-year break, for a bunch of reasons that included an already crowded public event calendar (RNC, a national community gardening conference, to name two) some changes in funding sources, and the need to establish independent non-profit status. In hindsight, the break may have been an especially good idea, given the punishing drought we gardeners suffered all season long!
GardenWalk is back for 2017, and I for one am thrilled. Two neighborhoods have been chosen as definite hosts for the July 8 & 9 tour: Detroit-Shoreway and Collinwood. As many as two more will be added as planning for the event continues. A special focus on gardens that use native plants is planned for next year, too.
GardenWalk 2017 has mounted a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of producing maps, updating the website and other expenses associated with putting on the event. Contributions are already underway through November 18th at https://www.ioby.org/project/gardenwalk-cleveland-2017
Inspired by a similar event in Buffalo, New York, GardenWalk Cleveland’s mission is “to build community, beautify neighborhoods, and encourage civic pride.” As a transplant to Cleveland (pun intended) I have been delighted to discover the neighborhoods of Cleveland (Old Brooklyn Hough, Larchmere, Tremont and more) and meet the truly charming and individual gardeners who live and garden there.
The two times I put my own garden on the tour I met a steady parade of wonderful fellow gardeners, and had many inspiring conversations. One visitor even came back a day or two later with a gift of special plants from her own garden! You can learn more about GardenWalk, and get involved! at http://www.gardenwalkcleveland.org/