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Five glorious gardens await on AAUW garden tour

“The glory of the garden lies in more than meets the eye.”

— Rudyard Kipling, "A School History of England," 1911

Rudyard Kipling’s beautiful poem “The Glory of the Garden” describes the hard work carried out by gardeners behind the scenes in “tool- and potting-sheds, which are the heart of all.”

Kipling masterfully uses imagery of gardens as a metaphor for the beauty of England; its "gardeners" are all those who labor unnoticed toward the common goal of making England grand.

I am reminded of this poem whenever I pass by a lovely garden and think about the effort somebody (or many bodies) took to create such a glorious scene. Sometimes I wish I could knock on the homeowners’ door and invite myself into their garden, making sure to bring along a camera and notepad, and I’d inquire as to whether they would take me on a tour so I might ask questions.

I’ve yet to summon up the nerve to actually stop and knock, so imagine my delight recently when I learned that an upcoming garden tour hosted by the Medford branch of the American Association of University Women will feature a garden in my neighborhood. Jerry and I frequently pass by the historic Harry Holmes mansion at 217 S. Modoc Ave., on our walk with the dogs to adjacent Holmes Park. I’ve marveled at the splendid estate from outside the wrought-iron gate, and the opportunity to stroll the grounds and gardens is an exciting prospect.

The former Holmes property will serve as the hospitality site for the eighth annual AAUW Garden Tour, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 11. Tickets are $15. Children younger than 12 accompanied by an adult may tour for free, but please leave Fido at home. Tickets can be purchased in advance at any Grange Co-op store, the Blue Door garden shop in Jacksonville, Caprice Vineyard in Central Point, and at any of the gardens on the day of the tour.

Garden visits can be made in any order, but you might want to begin at 1860 Hidden Village Place in south Medford, close to Centennial Golf Club. Here you’ll discover a pollinator garden that has been designated a Monarch Way Station, as well as magnificent mountain views surrounding the acreage. Two miles west is 2764 Misty Lane, where you’re sure to be charmed by an imaginative garden filled with a profusion of blooming color, hanging baskets and a koi pond.

Head north about 1½ miles to the Holmes estate and, after touring the grounds, enjoy refreshments under a pergola covered with clematis. Up the road another 2 miles is 1898 Bristol Drive, where a compact garden, including both food and flowers, will provide inspiration for gardeners who want to make the most of smaller spaces. Last on the list is a garden about 7½ miles west at 972 Old Stage Road, Central Point. Here, you’ll marvel at more than 2,000 rose cultivars, a pear orchard and a xeriscape garden filled with drought-tolerant plants.

If you’re thirsty after a day of garden touring, you’ll be pleased to know that Caprice Vineyards is right next door, where visitors can enjoy wine tasting and meet the alpacas. What a glorious way to experience some of the beauty of our area, and at the same time help AAUW raise money for college scholarships for local women. For information about the tour, call Gail Etchie at 541-664-3744.

Gardeners, I think we should take advantage of this opportunity to relish the hard work of others. After all, who knows better than we do, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, “Gardens are not made by singing, ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”

Rhonda Nowak is a member of the Jackson County Master Gardener Association and teaches writing at Rogue Community College. Email her at rnowak39@gmail.com.