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Garden Tours Create Real Change

By Jesse Eastman

With all the chaos, anxiety, pain, and confusion that accompanies the pandemic, there have been a few notable silver linings. We’ve learned the importance of checking in regularly with those we love. We’ve traveled less, which has had a dramatic positive impact on the environment. Most of us have learned some new skills like cooking, art, and home repair, and tons of you have taken to gardening like never before.

There are a few theories why gardening has become so popular. Perhaps it is the security we feel in growing our food. Perhaps it is the need to add beauty to a world that can, at times, be more than a little bit ugly. But my favorite theory is that people are bored, and there are few remedies as satisfying and productive as gardening. Whatever the reason, lawns are being ripped out for flower beds, hedges are being planted for privacy, and vegetable gardens are springing up in front and back yards everywhere.

Sadly, the pandemic has caused the cancellations of many events including one that is near and dear to us here at Fort Collins Nursery: garden tours. Not only are garden tours great ways for people to find inspiration, but they are massive revenue generators for the non-profit organizations that organize them. With the cancellation of both the Junior League Garden Tour in Fort Collins and the Loveland Garden Tour and Art Show, some truly amazing organizations will be feeling the pinch.

The Junior League Garden Tour traditionally sells thousands of tickets every year, and the money generated by this event supports the mission of the Junior League of Fort Collins, an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

The Loveland Garden Tour and Art Show provides a tremendous amount of financial support for the Loveland Youth Gardeners, whose mission is to cultivate job & life skills, environmental stewardship and service in youth facing barriers to success by building healthy relationships with people, agriculture, and community.

Fort Collins Nursery is proud to be the presenting sponsor for both tours, and each tour represents the perfect intersection between our passion as a garden center and our values as a business who wants to see the communities that keep us in business stay healthy and thrive. Both of these organizations work hard to make our world a little kinder, a little stronger, and a lot more vibrant, and these tours go a long way towards making that happen.

So I challenge each of you to help. You can go to their websites and make direct donations (Junior League of Fort Collins and Loveland Youth Gardeners). You can volunteer in any one of the unique and important initiatives they are undertaking. Or (and I hope you’ll take me up on this) you can turn all that work you’ve put into your garden into something that can benefit everyone. Take all that you’ve learned about plants, all the sweat and strain and effort, and all the vision you’ve brought to life, and put your yard on display once the tours can resume.
One of the most challenging aspects of organizing these tours is finding homes with inspiring landscapes that are gathered near one another with homeowners who aren’t shy about a bit of showing off. If you offer your yard for a tour, you are providing a platform for each of these organizations to do what they do best – turn money from ticket sales into real change in our communities. All that beauty you’re cultivating can make a world of difference if you’re willing to share!

The NoCo Urban Homestead Tour is currently scheduled for Saturday, September 12. The NoCO Urban Homestead Tour is a fundraising event benefiting the Gardens on Spring Creek and Loveland Youth Gardeners. More information and updates available here: 

Originally published on July 1st, 2020.