MARQUETTE - Some of the area's most appealing gardens were opened to the community Thursday during the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee's 16th annual garden tour.
The tour draws up to about 300 people each year and showcases seven gardens throughout the area, committee vice-president Barb Kelly said.
"We wanted to promote gardening in the city of Marquette and share some of the fabulous gardens that people had created," Kelly said.
Elli Martysz, 10, samples the bouquet of flowers she planted at Sue and Duff Meyer's children’s garden in Marquette during the Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee's 16th annual garden tour. Elli is the daughter of Susan and Ivan Martysz of Marquette. (Journal photo by Julia Woehrer)
The committee takes suggestions on which gardens to feature, while committee members also find some while driving around.
"Anybody can volunteer their own garden, because it's almost impossible for our committee to see them all," Kelly said.
This year, every garden was located in Marquette, although past tours have included ones as far away as west Ishpeming.
One of the featured sites was the Welcome Sign Garden at the intersection of Washington Street and U.S. 41 West, an area many motorists pass. The garden is cared for by the committee with help from about 70 Cherry Creek Elementary School second-graders who plant annuals around the edge of the plot every June.
"I think they (students) learn really invaluable lessons," Kelly said. "It's very satisfying and it ends up being a part of our beautiful city."
Many volunteers who help with planting throughout the year are children.
"I think they learn a lot about gardening and they're being part of the community by doing some public service and learning about community pride," Kelly said.
Private gardens at residential homes were also shown on the tour, including the garden of Sue and Duff Meyer who started planting about 10 years ago. Sue, who recently joined the MBRC, did not expect her garden to be suggested for the tour.
"One of the members suggested my garden." Meyer said. "I didn't think it was good enough."
Meyer takes care of thousands of plants and flowers on a daily basis in the garden.
"I love it and I like people to be able to enjoy it too," Meyer said.
Meyer, originally from Munising, spent time in her grandmother's gardens and began gardening when she was about 8 years old.
"I planted a cherry tomato and watched it grow and then ate the cherries. ... I just loved it," she said.
The Meyers' garden includes a recently added children's garden, an idea the couple came up with when seeing one in Melbourne, Australia.
Their grandchildren and neighbors' children planted flowers and vegetables, painted stepping stones and set rocks up around the garden.
"I feel that if you start kids young and get them interested in gardens, then it just becomes something that you take with you your whole life," Meyer said.