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Sarasota Friday, Mar. 18, 2022 4 months ago

Sarasota Garden Club to host annual tour

The eighth annual Gardens In Paradise tour will be held March 26.
by: Harry Sayer Staff Writer

Sarasota is full of beauty and nature, so it stands to reason that many of its residents admire nature as well. 

Many of those residents tend to their gardens, putting plenty of love and care into their flowers, plants and botanical life throughout the year. 

They’re private spaces, but with the help of the Sarasota Garden Club, visitors are able to appreciate those gardens. 

The eighth annual Gardens of Paradise tour is set for March 26, a one-day affair organized by Sarasota Garden Club. 

The Sarasota Garden Club has been in operation for decades and manages several outreach programs, promote civic upkeep and tend to the gardens at its home, 1131 Boulevard of the Arts. 

Member CJ Danna became involved with the group after volunteering at The Ringling and meeting members of the group. She attended a meeting and shortly after was a part of the group. Danna has served as president and a number of other roles with the club but as of late handles marketing. 

The annual garden tour is a complex event that requires the club’s committee — made up of about 10 people — sifting through submissions and deciding upon a final list of gardens, Danna said.

“It takes almost a year to find the gardens,” Danna said. “They’re usually master gardeners or people that have been gardening with us for a while that choose. It takes a long time.”

The club receives submissions to be part of the tour each year and club gardeners often scope out local gardens on their own. Danna said the gardeners are drawn to Florida-friendly and tropical gardens as well as those that are nurtured by the homeowners themselves. 

Sometimes the submissions catch the committee’s eye; sometimes they don’t. 

“Some people want their gardens to be part of the tour, but you look at them and they’re just not tour-worthy,” Danna said. “(The committee) is particular about which gardens to select.”

After meeting at the garden club to organize and pick up box lunches, the tour participants drive to each house on the tour on their own. Danna says committee members try to find houses close to one another to save on driving time. 

It’s a steady amount of work, but at the end of the day it’s fun.

“It’s just fun,” Danna said. “We tell people if it’s not fun, don’t be on the committee.”

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