Big Rock Garden Tour connects green thumbs

Okotoks: 27th annual event raises funds for Foothills Country Hospice

By: Roxanne Blackwell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 09, 2014 03:23 pm

Okotoks Garden Club president Lori Neufeld tends to one of the many gardens in her backyard. Ten impressive gardens will be on display during the Big Rock Garden Tour on July 19.
Okotoks Garden Club president Lori Neufeld tends to one of the many gardens in her backyard. Ten impressive gardens will be on display during the Big Rock Garden Tour on July 19.
Roxanne Blackwell/OWW

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Sometimes we all need a reminder to stop and smell the roses.

Okotoks and area residents have an invitation to do just that in the 27th annual Big Rock Garden Tour on July 19 when 10 of Okotoks’ most beautiful gardens are opened to visitors

For $10 ticket buyers can take a self-guided tour through the gardens, with all proceeds going to the Foothills Country Hospice for support with its landscaping projects.

Previously the town ran the event, but it has been turned over to the Okotoks Garden Club this year. Member Marleen Crucq said the tour is a fantastic opportunity for garden lovers to connect.

“It’s a good opportunity to see what things can be grown in this area,” she said. “Everybody has different ideas and different tastes. Not only will people be able to see nice yards and have a nice day, but they can exchange tips and ideas too.”

The event was cancelled last year due to the flood. The previous year the tour raised $1,500. This year, Okotoks Garden Club president Lori Neufeld is hoping to raise the same amount and attract people from surrounding towns as well as Calgary.

“I think garden lovers just love touring gardens, so whenever there's an opportunity to go on a garden tour I think a lot of people take advantage of that and it's also supporting a worthy cause,” Neufeld said.

Neufeld showcased her garden on the tour in 2011 and said being a participant was a wonderful experience.

“It was really interesting,” she said. “We had lots of people to come by and it's just an opportunity to showcase your yard and different plants you have growing. Each yard is so different.”

Neufeld said she enjoys seeing vegetable gardens and her circular veggie garden was what peaked many visitors’ interest when her garden was on display.

“I love plants in general,” Neufeld said. “I'm a biologist by trade. Plants are just who I am, but for me the gardening I do is more about food production side, so I try to grow as many vegetables and herbs that I can, even though I have a diversity of perennials as well.”

The gardens will feature an abundance of stunning flowers to enjoy, but Neufeld said there will also be an assortment of plants and other landscaping techniques to view.

“I know one of the things I like to see more of is not just the beautiful plants, but how you can integrate dry landscaping, because yeah plants are beautiful, but it's also important to have environmentally friendly yards too,” she said. “So if there's rain barrels and plants that are more suited for dry climates too and also vegetable gardening as well. I know one of the yards is all about the food production.”

Neufeld hopes that anyone interested in gardening will come out for the tour to admire the gardens, as well as inquire about joining the garden club where they bring in guest speakers to share tips and new techniques.

Tickets for the tour can be purchased at Tribal Connection Market, Harvest Moon Health Foods, and the Okotoks Operations Centre. For more information on the Okotoks Garden Club contact Lori Neufeld at


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