Nfld. & Labrador

Garden envy? Grab a map and reveal some of the lushest and loveliest on the Avalon

This Mystery Garden Tour passport won't let you travel out of the country, but it will take you to some of the most stunning gardens on the Avalon peninsula.

MUN Botanical Garden's 7th annual Mystery Garden Tour

Jamie Day says gardening keeps him active and he loves chatting with fellow plant enthusiasts. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Traipsing through someone else's garden and browsing at your leisure would likely be discouraged at times — but not this weekend. 

Ten homeowners are opening their gates wide, inviting people in for an up-close view as part of the seventh Mystery Garden Tour on this weekend, rain or shine.

"Visitors can poke around people's backyards, get ideas, and enjoy a weekend outside in beautiful gardens," said Kim Shipp, a director with MUN Botanical Garden, which spearheads the event.

Green-thumb extraordinaires, or wannabes, have to get a special passport designed for the event, which includes a map that reveals the 10 secret locations. 

Ten gardens on the Avalon Peninsula are part of the Mystery Garden Tour. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

"We always have such an eclectic group of gardens. It's always amazing to see some really big, wide spanning gardens and some small tight ones in urban settings," said Shipp.

So how difficult is it to find willing hosts? Apparently, not very. 

"Those who are showcasing their gardens have put so much work and effort into it, who doesn't want to show off their beauty?" Shipp said, laughing.

Jamie Day is one of those willing to show off his backyard. In fact, he loves it.

He said he gets to have great conversations — and is expecting about 350 people this weekend — but also knowing he is part of the event makes him "put a little bit of pressure on myself to get the garden done so i can enjoy the rest of summer."

A passport with a secret map? it isn't espionage, it's gardening, explains Kim Shipp, a director of MUN Botanical Garden. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Gardening is a true love for Day, who estimates he has 1,200 different varieties of plants.

"I find it very therapeutic. It also keeps me very active as well," he said. 

Any advice for gardeners just starting out who aspire to his level?

"Trial and error," Day said, laughing. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Carolyn Stokes


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