WESTMINSTER — The art of landscaping will be highlighted for a 15th year to support the efforts of Westminster Cares.

The public is invited to attend the Garden Tour on Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., to witness gardens of internationally known designers Gordon and Mary Hayward and Julie Moir Messervy, as well as the gardens of Vanessa and David Stern.

"There's a natural draw of people in New England who are gardeners and want to learn from these landscapers of things to do in their own garden," said President of Westminster Cares Connie Sanderson. "We expect 300 or more people will come throughout the weekend from New England and New York as there were a little more than 300 people who came last year."

Westminster Cares is a volunteer-based organization that works with seniors and disabled adults in town to help them remain healthy and independent in the community. Volunteers deliver meals, visit those who want company and provide rides to the grocery store or appointments. Its goal is that people can remain in their home and live independently even if they are home bound seniors.

The Garden Tour is Westminster Cares' largest fundraiser of the year, raising $8,000 last year and hoping to bring in a little more this weekend.

This year there are a few new additions such as Messervy, a distinguished lecturer and the author of eight books on landscape design. She has lectured at venues such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society and the Getty Museum, and she studied landscape design in Kyoto, Japan, first as a Henry Luce Scholar, and then as a Japan Foundation Fellow.


Saturday and Sunday are self-guided tours, and admission for is $15 for one day, $25 for two. Discounted tickets can be purchased online at westminstercares.orgt. Group discounts for six or more are also available and the event is held rain or shine. Day of event tickets, lunch and refreshments will be available at the Westminster Institute on Route 5 or at the Hayward Garden, and Morning Star Perennials will hold a plant sale at the Hayward Garden during the event.

Sanderson said these gardens are "stunningly beautiful," and she gave a special mention to Gordon and Mary Hayward's home at 508 McKinnon Road, which is where the tour began 15 years ago.

"In the Hayward's garden there are many beautiful features with garden rooms and many acres," said Sanderson. "When you enter you realize you've stepped in to a magical world as you walk a path with locust tree trunks, then into garden room spaces, everything is designed beautifully."

She further notes there are peaceful sitting areas, herb gardens, perennial gardens and a section devoted to shrubs and bushes. The Haywards will again welcome the public to view their gardens. For further details about the Haywards, visit haywardgardens.com

"Each section you find yourself in is unique to some aspect of landscape design," Sanderson added about the Haywards.

In addition to the Haywards and Messervy, Cyndy Fine of Genius Loci will lead a walking tour and talk through her garden on "Creating Biodiversity in Your Gardens," and there will be a tour of the oldest organic farm in Vermont – High Meadows Farm – with Howard & Lisa Prussack, which is a new addition to this year's event as well.

Westminster artist David Stern has donated an original watercolor of Twin Falls in North Westminster to Westminster Cares, which accepted silent auction bids on the painting throughout June with final bids accepted during the Garden Tour.

In addition, there will be a raffle and tickets can be purchased for a chance to win prizes, including a garden trellis, a wooden outdoor bench, and a one-night stay at the Grafton Inn with breakfast and dinner at the Phelps Barn included.

"There are other garden tours and they are wonderful, but I think the longevity of it and uniqueness and draw from all over New England sets us apart," said Sanderson. "Plus it's a beautiful way to spend the weekend and we appreciate all the attendance."

The event sponsors include Durand Toyota/Ford, Chroma, Silver Forest of VT, Mascoma Savings Bank, C & S Wholesale Grocers, Vermont Country Store, BurtCo, Inc. Savings Bank of Walpole, Brattleboro Ford/Subaru, and People's United Bank.

For more information on the tour, visit www.westminstercares.org. E-mail Westminster Cares at wecares@sover.net or call 802-722-3607.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275