One upcoming tour will serve both as a form of casual entertainment and a source of inspiration for individuals who love gardens and landscaping.
The "Walk in Your Neighbor's Garden" Tour will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 1 and will include various Fort Smith gardens that will impress each tour attendee, said Susan Randolph, a member of the Arkansas River Valley Master Gardeners and a former president of the Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing. The inaugural, self-guided tour will include a cottage garden, a fairy garden, a formal garden and more, she said.
"At this point, we're still adding some gardens to it," Randolph said of the tour, which will raise money to support the Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing. "The big thing is, people will actually get to go into the yards they normally drive past and usually can't see. They will get to actually view great things in their neighbor's yards.
"And there are wonderful gardens along the Arkansas River that I was astonished by, to be honest," she added. "We also will have some wonderful, simple gardens like the ones that people do in their own backyard."
Master Gardeners will be present at each garden to assist, answer questions and offer tips, Randolph said.
"We have know idea on how much we'd like to raise for the Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing, since this is our first year to do this tour," she said. "We are just wanting to make the tour a presence in the community and share with the public this time. There's been a huge demand for this tour, so we're really excited about it."
Carole Byrd, publicity chairwoman for the Learning Fields, said the garden tour primarily is aimed at those who are 20 or older, but any teenagers who are thinking about entering horticulture field "certainly" can attend.
"I can remember driving around and thinking, 'Gee, I wonder what is over the hill and in that yard?'" she said. "With this tour, we will be able to peek into those yards and see what the owners have done. People just might pick up some great ideas."
Tickets for the tour are $10 per person and will be sold beginning at 9 a.m. June 1 in the parking lot of First Christian Church, 3501 Rogers Ave. Tickets will give one access to one or all of the tour gardens. A map of the garden sites with addresses will be provided.
"People will be able to go to the gardens in whatever fashion they choose," Randolph said. "They can drop in to whichever gardens during the day."
Those seeking more information can call Randolph at (479) 462-1713, email SusanRandolphArk@gmail.com or visit the Arkansas River Valley Master Gardeners Facebook page.
"We hope to make this a standard fundraiser for us," Randolph said. "The homeowners are really excited to share all of their work, which amounts to the fact that they themselves do a lot of the landscaping themselves, and they're ready to share that with the community."
"I think the tour would be fun do to every year," she said. "That would be nice."