Garden tours plant seeds of inspiration

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Gardeners like to visit other people's gardens to pick up tips on planting, design and plant care. Over the next few weekends, garden tours will offer many opportunities to share ideas.

The biggest is the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden's Town & Country Garden Tour, scheduled Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fifteen gardens in Squirrel Hill and Shadyside will be featured.

The bus tour is sold out but $50 tickets for the self-guided tour are available at Cuttings and Penguin Book Shop in Sewickley, Home & the Holidays in Oakmont, Ten Thousand Villages in Squirrel Hill, Toadflax in Shadyside and Wild Birds Unlimited in Monroeville, Pine and Upper Saint Clair. Information:

The Southern Butler County Garden Club will hold its Summer Garden Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 7. Three of the six gardens are on the same road in Penn Township, including Schnoodleberry Farm, where PG Great Gardens Contest winners Fred and Nada Sarkin tend 5 acres of woods, flowers and rescued animals. Alpacas, llamas, peacocks, a horse, a donkey and a young emu live contentedly together.

Tickets are $15 for the self-guided tour and are available on tour day at the Cranberry Municipal Building, 2525 Rochester Road (16066), or in advance by mailing a check payable to Southern Butler County Garden Club and a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Debbie McFarland, 114 Hampshire Drive, Cranberry, PA 16066. Information: 724-772-7834.

Mt. Lebanon Public Library will hold its annual Garden Party from 6 to 8 p.m. July 7 and its 22nd annual Garden Tour from noon to 5 p.m. July 8. This year's self-guided tour will feature the work of seven "gentlemen gardeners."

Garden party tickets are $30; tour tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on tour day, available at the library, 16 Castle Shannon Blvd., Pittsburgh 15228. There will also be a plant sale, and the library's used book store will be open that day with discounts for tour ticket holders. Information: 412-531-1912 or

The Shaler Garden Club and Shaler North Hills Library will hold their fourth annual Garden Tour on July 8. Five gardens will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 on tour day, available at the library, 1822 Mt. Royal Blvd., 15116, from 10:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Information: 412-486-0211 or

Rain barrels, vegetables and a Japanese garden will be among nine gardens on the Garden Tour of Regent Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 8.

The tour starts at the Wilkins School Community Center with light brunch and a mimosa. All gardens are within a few blocks of each other. Tickets are $15 if purchased by July 6, $18 on the day of the tour. Buy them online at or mail a check to: Wilkins School Community Center, 7604 Charleston Ave., Pittsburgh 15218. Information: 412-244-8458.

The Greenridge Garden Club will hold a tour of eight gardens in the Irwin area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 14.

The Norwin Art League will display artwork at one of the gardens and there will be a plant sale. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 on tour day, available at Vargo's Hallmark Shops in Norwin Town Square and Norwin Hills Shopping Centers and Belak's Floral Shop and Saige Jen Taylor Gift Shop, both in Irwin.

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If you are having a garden tour this summer and have not been mentioned in the PG, contact Kevin Kirkland at or 412-263-1978.


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