Secret Gardens of West Chester Tour Set for Sept 9

WEST CHESTER >> Ever wondered what other local garden owners are doing to make their gardens so beautiful and inviting? Now is your opportunity to find out. On Saturday, Sept. 9, Barclay Friends will host its 13th Annual Secret Gardens of West Chester garden tour of private gardens and plant sale. The tour and plant sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and give a fun peek into gardens of local West Chester property owners.

“This year, the tour will feature 15 gardens of local home owners including Barclay Friends, which is home to six lovely gardens for residents of our community,” said new executive director Linda Sterthous, who joined Barclay Friends in July.

Not only will gardening enthusiasts enjoy visiting gardens, but their ticket purchase also supports Barclay Friends horticultural therapy program for residents of the senior living community. “Gardening is naturally therapeutic,” said Barclay Friends horticulturalist Cheryl Bjornson. “Our therapy program gives residents the opportunity to connect with the environment, while eliciting memories and socializing with others.” Residents’ gardening activities also assist other community providers such as the Chester County Food Bank; Barclay Friends donated about 750 pounds of fresh produce over the past two years from its raised beds.

Renee Talley, owner of the West Chester based landscaping company Flowers & More, has been a tour-goer as well as the event’s presenting sponsor. Her garden was featured on the 2010 tour and will be featured on this year’s tour after two years of preparation. She says, “The tour is a gardener’s reunion. You get to see garden elements change each year. One of the most intriguing aspects of this event is that you will see gardening ideas on the tour that are obtainable for the local gardener. Take some ideas and run with them!”

Renee has provided gardening services to Barclay Friends for 10 years. One of her most memorable moments at Barclay Friends was landscaping the front of the building. She sat inside looking outward at the gardens through the windows. “I wanted to look at the gardens from the residents’ perspective to help meet their needs.”

This perspective is echoed by Linda Sterthous: “Barclay Friends values include adapting the environment to the resident – not the resident to the environment; we are committed to a person-centered approach here.”

Renee is particularly passionate this year because a number of her neighbors are participating in the tour that she feels has united her neighborhood. “The tour is a spontaneous outpouring of love for West Chester, Barclay Friends and gardening.”

Tickets are $20 in advance of the event and $25 the day of the tour. For more information, visit×225.jpg or call 610-918-3429.

As reported at on 8/27/17