A walk through Moorestown’s ‘gnomes & gardens’

The Moorestown Garden Club’s “Gnome & Gardens” garden walk will take place on Friday, June 8 from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Every four years, a few Moorestown homes open up their backyards to give residents an opportunity to view gardens they might not otherwise see. For two days, residents can tour seven carefully maintained gardens as part of the Moorestown Garden Club’s fundraiser titled “Gnome and Gardens.”

The garden walk will take place on Friday, June 8, from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The proceeds from the walk help finance the club’s entry into the Philadelphia Flower Show as well as benefit the garden club’s civic projects, such as the Moorestown Garden Club scholarship, garden education therapy at The Tender and the planters along Main Street.

The event takes place every four years as part of the club’s fundraising cycle. On the first year, the club will host the walk, and the following year, it uses those funds to enter the Philadelphia Flower Show. On the third year, the club hosts an indoor standard flower show with the money raised financing the trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show the fourth year. This year, the club hopes to raise $10,000 with the garden walk, according to the walk’s co-chair, Suzie Haines.

Haines’ co-chair, Jean Pollock, said the Chelsea Flower Show in London changed its bylaws a few years ago to allow gnomes at the show. Inspired by the change, Pollock and her fellow garden club members thought they would play on that idea and incorporate gnomes into their garden walk. Pollock said the theme “Gnome & Gardens” occurred to her one day, and the title was met with much delight.

Pollock said art students at Moorestown High School and Doane Academy in Burlington were given ceramic gnomes to decorate. She said these gnomes will be hidden throughout the seven gardens and attendees are encouraged to try to find them as they tour the gardens.

Haines said the event is very much members-driven with all of the garden club’s members working on the walk in some capacity. She said they label all of the plantings in each backyard prior to the walk, which can be a several-hour process.

Throughout the two days, walkers can take in the gardens at their leisure. Attendees will be given a map with their ticket purchase, and garden club members will be on hand to answer any questions about the flora and fauna in each yard.

Garden club member Gina Zegel said the seven gardens were chosen because of their variety in size and plantings. Pollock said the garden club reaches out to residents to see if they’re interested in showcasing their yards, and most people they ask are happy to participate.

Haines said the gardens run the gamut with some being carefully maintained by homeowners while others are the work of landscapers. She said one of the gardens on the tour is very much naturalized with a variety of wild flowers while another yard features a stream with coy fish running through the center.

Pollock said some are small in scale while others are quite grand. She said gardening is a creative process without rules, and she hopes residents can draw inspiration from the experience.

“We really like to showcase and show the range of what’s possible,” Pollock said.

She said attendees may learn that gardening is often about trial and error. She said there’s no right way or wrong way to lay out a garden, and she hopes attendees walk away with the knowledge that gardening is meant to be a joyful experience.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the walk. Children under 12 years old are free. Tickets can be purchased at the Moorestown Community House and other retailers along Main Street. For the list of retailers to find out more, visit http://moorestowngardenclub.com.