The third time will be just as charming as the first two when the third annual Junior Charity League Garden Tour takes place Saturday in and near downtown Concord.
This year's tour will cover six private gardens. Four are at private homes; the other two are the courtyard at First Presbyterian Church and The Ella C. Lomax Incubator Farm.
Tour-goers can stroll through the gardens at their own pace. Driving and walking directions are provided for the self-guided tour. The event is from 2 to 4 p.m. Each stop on the tour will feature food tastings from local restaurants and caterers.
Carolyn Tucker has been hard at work on the 10 acres of gardens on her and her husband's 33-acre estate. She often hosts area garden groups and other civic organizations, and she is always working on something different so she'll have something new to show, she said.
One of the highlights this year is a roof garden atop an arbor that serves as the transition between two areas of the garden. It's planted with sedum, a colorful and hardy succulent. The arbor is in an area Tucker is redoing.
"I recently have torn out a whole area and replanted it. That was before I knew there was going to be a tour. I probably would have waited another year if I had known," she said.
Tucker said much of the land at her home is taken up with natural areas.
"If you come up our front walkway, you'll see it's covered in wildflowers. Most of them are volunteers. There are mayapples, trillium and wild irises. ... I count that in the garden acreage, even though it's not a formal area."
The wild irises originally came from the Tuckers' property in the woods of Morrow Mountain. They brought some home, and over the years have multiplied dramatically. The 5-inch-tall plants were blooming in early May. She doesn't know whether there'll be any left by tour time. Still, plenty of other garden elements will be there to enjoy at her home and at other tour stops.
Form, color, texture
Kate and Harris Morrison's garden will be one of those other stops.
The Morrisons are the fourth generation to live in the family home, nestled at the edge of wooded land full of pines, dogwoods and azaleas, Kate said.
The front yard and rear terrace are more formal, while the side garden has a tiered vegetable patch with tall obelisks. The back yard is filled with hydrangea, rhododendrons, and perennials and features old ivy bed and weathered stone walls.
Morrison said she loves the heritage of the home and the land it sits on.
"I love that our house was built by my husband's grandparents in 1948. Four generations of Morrisons have lived here. There is a special affinity for the trees surrounding the house and for some shrubs and flowers that were transplanted from homesteads of even older generations."
Morrison said she enjoys the creative aspect of gardening, and the artistry in experimenting with form, color and texture. She loves growing her own vegetables. But what particularly draws her to gardening as a hobby are the family's offspring.
"We have two young children who love playing outside. But honestly, we all love to play in the dirt."
Morrison is a member of the Junior Charity League of Concord. The proceeds of the fundraiser will help continue the league's good works in the community, including a clothing room for children in need, an annual event at the end of each summer called "Safety Town," in which rising kindergarteners learn the ins and outs of school and school bus safety.
Tickets for the tour are $20 in advance and $25 on Saturday. Advance tickets are available until Thursday at Angela's Gift's and Gardens, 9 Union St. N.; the Junior Charity League office, 704-652-0669; or online at www.jclofconcord.com. Ticket price also includes a participation in a raffle donated by Christy's Nursery.