Plans are set for a "GardenFest Weekend" in Shepherdstown May 17-18.
The centerpiece of the two-day event will be the town's 15th annual Back Alley Garden Tour and Tea, which will include a self-guided walking tour of more than a dozen private gardens rarely open to the public and an elegant afternoon tea.
Approximately 15 gardens will be on tour for individuals to visit throughout the town at their leisure.
Among some of the focual points are the Little House, built by Shpherd College students in 1929 to serve as a pre-school teaching tool for the education department.
Also featured will be the Town Run Garden that was created in 1998 as a volunteer effort to showcase the beauty and usefulness of native perennials and shrubs. Originally a tennis court that was to be bulldozed, the area was saved by local gardeners who wanted to create a retreat designed to attract wild birds, useful insects and butterflies.
Many other gardens that are not normally on public view will be accessible to travelers. A complete map and description of the tour can be obtained at the War Memorial Building where the tea will also take place.
Both days will also be full of many other garden-related activities, including demonstrations and exhibits about horticulture, landscaping, composting, beekeeping, raising chickens, indoor gardening, flower arranging, and more. There will also be garden-related items and plants for sale.
In addition, there will be farmers markets both days, along with displays by local artists and potters, sidewalk sales by local merchants, access to local historic sites, live music, children's events and special spring menus at many local restaurants.
Garden Tour hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Teas will be offered from 12 to 4 p.m. each day.
Admission to both the Tour and Tea will be $20 per person through May 14, and $25 after that.
The Shepherdstown Community Club sponsors the Tour and Tea, and all proceeds will be used to support the two important community resources the Club owns: the War Memorial Building and Morgan's Grove Park.
All of the weekend's other activities will be free and will follow the same hours as the Garden Tour.
The Tour and Tea and all the other weekend activities will be held rain or shine.