URI Master Gardeners open their gardens to visitors for statewide garden tour, June 29,30

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 29, 2019 – Twenty-six private gardens designed and maintained by University of Rhode Island Master Gardener volunteers will be open to the public June 29 and 30 for the ninth Gardening with the Masters Tour.

The gardens will be open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on both days, rain or shine, for Rhode Island’s only statewide garden tour.

Guidebooks, which serve as admission tickets and include garden descriptions and directions, cost $25 (or $22 each in multiples of two) and must be purchased in advance. Children under 18 will be admitted free. The guidebooks are available at uri.edu/mastergardener/tour. For more information, call 401-874-2900.

Gardens on the tour are located in Charlestown, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Foster, Glocester, Narragansett, Newport, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, Providence, and South Kingstown, Rhode Island, with additional gardens in Seekonk, Massachusetts and Stonington, Connecticut. Fourteen of the gardens have never been included in previous tours.

According to Kate Venturini, administrator for the URI Master Gardener Program, each garden is unique in name and design. Many of them support pollinators and attract beneficial insects with native and other flowering plants, and others are designed for homestead-scale vegetable and fruit production. Each garden is tended with the principles of integrated pest management in mind, with minimal or no chemical inputs or soil disturbance. Every garden has evolved over the years, reflecting the changing interests and lifelong learning of its gardener.

“Tour participants are encouraged to plan a route when they receive their guidebook so that they can visit as many of the gardens as possible over the two-day tour,” said Venturini. “Planning ahead will be helpful and make the tour more enjoyable.”

URI Master Gardeners will greet visitors in their gardens, ready to share science-based horticultural information about best gardening practices, and to answer questions. Tour attendees are encouraged to plan a route once they receive their guidebook, which includes regional maps with garden locations.

The garden tour is a biennial activity hosted by URI Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program, which uses a train-the-trainer approach to educate citizens in science-based gardening topics. Graduates of a 14-week training course and 50-hour internship, numbering more than 600 active volunteers in Rhode Island, serve as grassroots educators, teaching their fellow citizens in schools, demonstration gardens and public events.

Proceeds from the tour will benefit the educational programs of the URI Master Gardener Program.