LAMBERTVILLE: Tour city’s hidden gardens Saturday

Self-guided tour walking tour features 11 gardens

   LAMBERTVILLE — A woodland paradise, creative whimsy and historic backdrops highlight the Kalmia Club’s 17th annual Hidden Gardens of Lambertville Tour, which provides exclusive entrée to the most remarkable grounds in the quaint Hunterdon County community.
   The self-guided tour walking tour of 11 hidden gardens takes place June 8, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., rain or shine, beginning at the historic pink Kalmia Clubhouse on 39 York St., Lambertville.
   Advance tickets are $15 and day of tour, $20. Garden tour tickets also are available at: Blue Raccoon Home Furnishings, 6 Coryell St., Lambertville; City Market, 74 N. Main St., Lambertville; Homestead Market, 262 N. Main St., Lambertville; Bucks Ice Cream & Expresso Bar, 25 Bridge St., Lambertville; and Farley’s Bookshop, 44 S. Main St., New Hope.
   The annual tour raises money for community service and scholarships sponsored by the women’s nonprofit civic organization. For tickets, information and photos of previous tours, visit www.kalmiaclub.org. For information, email kalmiaclub@gmail.com or call 609-397-1447.
   ”Every year, the Kalmia Club gives the public the rare opportunity to visit lovely gardens often hidden from view or tucked down alleyways you might not even know exist,” said Mary Jane Aklonis, co-chairman of the garden tour committee. “In addition to providing a great excuse for spending a day in beautiful Lambertville, the tour gives aspiring landscape artists and experienced gardeners alike tons of new ideas they can implement in their own garden. It’s amazing to see the many ways plants, trees and flowers can be mixed and matched, often in surprising combinations. Plus, it’s a chance to see how some clever gardeners overcome unique challenges like too much shade or a limited back yard to create really special spaces.”
   Tickets provide access to 11 gardens, many complemented by sculptures, themed art and an array of blooming perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees as well as edibles, berries and herbs. This year’s tour features a refashioned artifact from Ho Chi Minh City and inspired use of old plumbing fixtures.
   A few of the featured plots include:
   — An ingenious indigenous plot — A thoughtfully planned N. Union garden that features bulbs brought from Amsterdam, a harvest of herbs and figs and indigenous perennials that thrive in New Jersey. The garden showcases planted pines, hollies and ornamental grasses along with spirea, clematis, climbing hydrangea, columbine, variegated euonymus, lilies, irises, painted ferns, hardy geraniums, bleeding hearts, poppies, astilbe, mums, azaleas, sedums and butterfly bushes along with fragrant roses and lilacs.
   — Beautiful backdrop to history — Tour the landscaped gardens complimenting the historic, 1867 Lambertville Station restaurant on Bridge Street and see 300 plants representing 25 varieties of herbs — from sorrel and rosemary to thyme, sage and lavender — that Chef Chris Beall uses in a variety of dishes served in the dining room. View the many wild flowers and seasonal plants lining the old railroad tracks, along with Tuscarora crape myrtles, fountain grasses, Tardiva hydrangeas, liriope, Japanese Tree lilacs and tree-form Butterfly magnolias, under-planted with generous drifts of fountain grass, hydrangea varieties and Knockout roses. The station uses its own compost mix to enrich all flower and herb beds.
   — Creative corner — A large garden on one of Lambertville’s most beautiful streets, this “corner of the world” features an eclectic selection of decorative pieces, an array of plants and flowers along with a choice lounging area that, together, produce a dazzling effect. With an emphasis on color, the garden showcases Lily of the Valley, hostas, pachysandra and euonymus and perennial essentials such as astilbe, coreopsis, daylilies, peonies, bleeding heart and lavender. In addition to Scottish broom, tall ornamental grasses, Rose of Sharon, bridal wreath, lilacs, hydrangea and a weeping cherry, the drama is intensified by a handsome fountain, flanked by a large Buddha.
   There is ample free street parking available near the clubhouse, located between N. Main and N. Union streets, along with paid parking lots downtown a few short blocks away.
   Kalmia Club is a member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The garden tour is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year. The century-old clubhouse is on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.