KINGSTON, R.I. – April 16, 2021 – Twenty-six private gardens designed and maintained by University of Rhode Island Master Gardener volunteers will be open to the public June 12 and 13 and again Sept. 25 and 26 for the tenth biannual Gardening with the Masters Tour.
The gardens will be open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day, rain or shine, for Rhode Island’s only statewide garden tour.
Tickets cost $30 and include admission for one to the gardens on both tour weekends, a new smartphone app download to help with driving directions to the tour gardens, and a link to a guidebook that includes garden descriptions. Printed guidebooks may be requested by mail for an additional $5 fee. Children under 18 will be admitted free. Additional ticketing information is available at web.uri.edu/mastergardener/tour.
“Each of the gardens on the tour is unique, evolving over the years and reflecting the changing interests and lifelong learning of its gardener,” said Mary Ann Buckley, a Master Gardener volunteer who is coordinating the tour with URI Cooperative Extension staff. “Our volunteers are opening their gardens to the public as a teaching tool because our mission is to help local residents choose environmentally-sound gardening practices. After visiting these gardens, we hope you’ll be inspired to go home and try something new.”
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 twenty-six gardens have never been featured on previous tours.
According to Buckley, each garden is unique in name and design. Many support pollinators and attract beneficial insects with native and other flowering plants, while 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.
URI Master Gardeners will greet visitors in their gardens, ready to share science-based horticultural information about best gardening practices and answer questions.
The garden tour is 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.
All tour participants are asked to assess their health prior to visiting any of the gardens. Those feeling sick or with an elevated temperature should stay home. Everyone, including the garden hosts, are required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available for use.
Proceeds from the tour will benefit the educational programs of the URI Master Gardener Program, including the Gardening and Environmental Hotline, free soil pH testing service, information kiosks and public presentations.