Where green is as good as gold | SteamboatToday.com

Where green is as good as gold

Tour highlights Steamboat's best gardens

Erin Gleason

— Steamboat’s incredibly short growing season doesn’t deter some local gardeners from their green thumb ambitions.

Some of the valley’s best gardens will be on display Saturday during the 14th annual High Country Garden Tour. The tour will highlight six local gardens and offer expert advice to garden enthusiasts. The event also is a benefit for Strings in the Mountains.

This year’s High Country Garden Tour features six diverse, self-designed and tended Steamboat gardens. Musicians will perform at each of the stops, and Master Gardeners from across Colorado will be on hand to answer questions.

“We look for diversity when choosing gardens for the tour,” Strings volunteer and High Country Garden Tour committee chairwoman Leslie Steen said. The committee also takes into account the garden’s proximity to town and the homeowner’s effort in creating the garden.

The tour, put on by the volunteers of the Strings Guild, is Strings in the Mountains’ primary fundraiser. Although the Guild publicizes the High Country Garden Tour across the state, Steen said the biggest support comes from local residents.

“It’s mainly a Steamboat event,” Steen said. “The local musicians and resident homes make the tour more about community support.”

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This year’s speaker, Panayoti Kelaidis of Denver Botanic Gardens, will present “Gardening in Paradise,” a lecture about growing in the unique climate of Steamboat Springs.

“He’s a very informative speaker,” Steen said. “His knowledge from working on the Front Range is valuable for our climate here in Steamboat.”

In addition to a silent auction offered until 3:30 p.m., Embellishments, Rustique, Steamboat Art Company, Steamboat Floral, Steamboat Ponds & Waterfalls, Tall Tulips and Windemere will offer special discounts on gardening supplies at their stores Saturday. Some proceeds from the sales will benefit Strings in the Mountains.

“Community members don’t have to be going on the tour to take advantage of these sales and support Strings,” Steen said.

A luncheon is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday and will benefit Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp. Tickets for the luncheon are $20, and Garden Tour participants are encouraged to stop by between gardens to enjoy “Salads and Sweets” provided by Perry-Mansfield.

“It’s a free-flowing event,” Steen said. “The tour is set up for people to pace themselves individually, and maybe spend more time at the gardens of interest.”

The six gardens featured in this year’s tour include houses in historic downtown as well as Strawberry Park and Silver Spur. Carpooling is encouraged, and VIP tickets include transportation and a ticket to the luncheon at Perry-Mansfield.

“The tour is for anyone who loves to garden but feels the limitations of living in the Yampa Valley,” Steen said. “Hopefully listening to the speaker and seeing these gardens will inspire others to create their own.”

Schedule of events

8:30 a.m. – Coffee, pastries and the Garden Market

9 a.m. – Guest speaker Panayoti Kelaidis

10:30 a.m. – Tour of six Steamboat gardens

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Perry Mansfield luncheon “Salads and Sweets”

3:30 p.m. – Silent auction ends