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Event will be a success with help

By Staff | Jan 28, 2011

We will be conducting Shepherdstown’s Back Alley Tour and Tea (BATT) again this year holding the traditional event over the Memorial Day weekend on May 28 and 29. It is no small undertaking because success depends on the willingness of town residents to open up and share their backyards and gardens, volunteers to serve as docents, transformation of the War Memorial Building into an elegant tea room and fine art gallery, and of course a lot of cooperation from Mother Nature. Although we have done this numerous times before, each year presents new challenges and opportunities.

An important aspect of the charm of garden tour is the inherent element of discovery or even surprise. While not exactly “secret gardens,” you don’t get to see them every day. Our neighbors and visitors get a rare opportunity to casually stroll the back alleys, take their time to look, to find unique features that they can relate to and soak up the ambiance of a historic village. There is often a sense of sharing engendered by seeing that over several centuries, gardeners have used the same tricks of the trade to tease beauty and productivity out of out reluctant soil, often working with the same species of plants. Of course it isn’t entirely all about plants. Some people just have a keen eye for beauty and the ability to transform humble rocks, bricks, and other elements into a work of art.

While we haven’t found a tour chairman for this year, time is wasting as they say, and spring is just around the corner even though it is in the mid twenties today. We can’t afford to delay any longer, so are pressing ahead. The intent is not to “just get it done.” We want this to be a memorable experience that builds on past success and looks ahead to the grand sequel for the Town’s 250th birthday next year. The first order of business is to identify those Shepherdstown home owners who would like their gardens to be featured in the tour and also members of the community who would be willing to serve as docents where needed to assist our visitors and explain the special features of each back garden. If you are interested, or willing to consider participating in either capacity, please give me a call at 304-876-0598 or send me an email at michael.austin@frontiernet.net. I think you will enjoy it.