The Summit County Master Gardeners invite the community to the 2018 Tour of Gardens June 23, highlighting six "Gardens of Distinctions" on Saturday and a special "Secret Garden" for patrons only on Friday, June 22. 

Attendees will have access to the tour "Posie Shop," which will feature a large selection of master gardener-grown plants, and garden boutique items.

The "Secret Garden" will only be available to patrons at the Garden Wine Reception on Friday evening. Patrons will experience a garden designed for meandering and contemplation. The garden owners intended it to be a place of discovery as well as beauty and serenity. Water flows through the garden into two ponds, one of them fed by a waterfall. Stone and wood benches hold examples of bonsai, the Japanese art of cultivating trees in miniature form.

Patrons will also enjoy a variety of wines, silent auction, live music, hors d’oeuvres provided by Moe’s Restaurant and valet parking.

On-line registration for both the general tour and the reception is available at General Tour tickets are for sale at the garden centers Dayton Nursery & Garden Center, 3459 Cleveland-Massillon Rd, Norton; Donzell’s Garden Center, 937 E. Waterloo Rd., Akron; Graf Growers Garden Center, 1015 White Pond Dr, Akron; Suncrest Gardens, 5157 Akron-Cleveland Rd., Peninsula; and The Bird Store and More, 117 Mirtz Drive, Fairlawn.

Proceeds from the tour benefit the Summit County Master Gardeners’ horticulture programs.

Three of the garden descriptions include:

Hidden Sanctuary

When the owners of this contemporary home were denied permission to build an enclosed front porch, they instead created a garden enclosed by nature. The peaceful front-yard enclave was designed by the late Bill Snyder, longtime superintendent of the grounds at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. Shielded from street view by a planted berm, the space has a zen-like feel thanks to the splash of water features, rocks positioned artfully on a pea-gravel base and the textures of ferns, conifers and Japanese maples.

A serviceberry arches over the walk that leads to the rear of the house, where an expansive back patio overlooks a private back yard. Just off the patio, a hosta garden rings a tricolor beech and a brick walk feeds into a fountain and small pool.

One Gardener’s Happy Place

The owner of this garden isn’t discouraged by space constraints. She’s filled every corner of her compact city lot with color and whimsy to create a cheerful haven. A trio of fanciful birdhouses greets visitors to what lies beyond. Continue around the side of the house and pass a raised-bed vegetable garden and a water-conserving rain barrel on your way to the owner’s sweet sanctuary.

Everywhere there’s something to make people smile. Mirrored tree charms hang from a rose of Sharon, tinkling in the breeze. Dangling glass globes are intermingled with lint-stuffed balls of rattan, which provide nesting material for birds. This is a garden meant for relaxing, be it under the shade of the pergola or in the hammock tucked among rhododendrons and confers.

Scaled for the City

The plant enthusiasts who created this city garden have managed to turn their compact space into a lush landscape that is both practical and ornamental. The couple traded county life for this smaller property in 2009 and spent a year observing and planning before beginning their transformation. After stripping the land of all but two trees and five shrubs, they worked a section at a time, adding gardens connected by handmade steppingstones and a fenced area enclosing raised vegetable beds.

Space challenges turned out to be an opportunity to grow favorite plants in miniature form as well as the columnar trees that run the backyard without encroaching far into the small area. A collection of metal grates decorates the back fence, and a fairy village tucked in the shade of a banana tree adds a sense of playfulness. Unusual plants are plentiful in this garden.

Noteworthy specimens are marked with yellow tags to help you identify them on a handout available to you.