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Clear Spring Garden Club sponsors backyard tour

April 27, 2013|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • Tulips bloom at 154 Cumberland St. in Clear Spring. The garden will be part of a backyard tour Saturday, May 4, sponsored by the Clear Spring Garden Club.
Kevin G. Gilbert /

CLEAR SPRING — Not all alleys are created equal. In urban areas, many are narrow passageways merely allowing for deliveries behind businesses. But in small towns, they're often quiet paths leading to an unexpected oasis.

Such is the case in Clear Spring, where, nestled not far from traffic on Cumberland Street, residents have created exotic green spaces filled this time of the year with the sweet scents of spring.

Crocus and daffodils have sprouted from rich earth that has softened after a long, hard winter. Squares of tulips provide a riot of color and butterflies sort through the blossoms of flowering shrubs.

It's a breath of fresh air after a season of gray backgrounds. It's Mother Nature's time of renewal.

And what better way to celebrate these signs of spring than with a garden tour.

On Saturday, May 4, the owners of five gardens in downtown Clear Spring will open their gates to the public, welcoming them to eye-catching displays of horticultural prowess.

Also included will be the historical gardens of Plumb Grove Mansion on Broadfording Road.

It's a Backyard Garden Tour, sponsored by the Clear Spring Garden Club — the first such event the club has offered in its 20-year history.

The tour, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is self-guided and free.

Owners will be present to answer questions and share some of their gardening tips.

The idea for the spring event came about after some of the club members visited Annapolis last year for the city's annual spring garden tour.

"Our tour is nothing like the formal gardens in Annapolis," said Clear Spring Garden Club member Kathleen King. "But it is a selection of some of the very nice gardens we have in our town."

King said the five homes are all located along Clear Spring's main thoroughfare, Cumberland Street, and include residences at numbers 19, 145, 154, 155 and 167.

In addition to the private gardens, the tour will feature gardens at Plumb Grove Mansion, built in 1831 and now a museum preserved by the Clear Spring District Historical Society.

According to King, the homes will be identified by colorful watering cans filled with flowers. All gardens should be entered by the side alleyway, except for No. 19, which will be entered by a hallway.

As part of the tour day, all residents of Clear Spring are invited to decorate their porches and gates with flowers, said King.

"It's a way for everyone to feel a part of the event," she noted.

King said the area garden club is very active in the community and is responsible for planting many of the flower beds in Clear Spring. Also, every three years, the club offers "Christmas in Clear Spring," a popular event that includes open houses, musical performances and holiday displays.

"There is a lot of cooperation between the club and the town," she said.

Adding a different perspective to the upcoming spring tour will be the gardens of Plumb Grove Mansion, which, on the same day, will be participating in Washington County's 10th annual Museum Ramble, a self-guided tour of 23 local museums and historic sites.

A circa-1831 brick structure of Federal and Greek Revival architecture, the mansion is owned by the Clear Spring District Historical Society. It is surrounded by period outbuildings and beautifully landscaped heritage rose gardens.

"The rose gardens have heritage roses — Jeffersonian from Monticello," said Betty Shank, a Clear Spring Historical Society member and contact for the Plumb Grove event.

While sometimes spelled Plum Grove, Shank said old documents show the correct spelling as Plumb Grove — the place was "plumb."

Shank said guided tours of the house will be provided by historical society members for the Museum Ramble, but docents also will be in the gardens to answer questions from visitors.

King said the Clear Spring Garden Club meets once a month at St. John's United Church of Christ on the fourth Thursday of the month, beginning at 7 p.m.



If you go ...

WHAT:  Backyard Garden Tour, featuring the gardens of five Clear Spring residences along Cumberland Street, plus Plumb Grove Mansion at 12654 Broadfording Road.

Where:  Clear Spring. All of the homes will be identified by colorful watering cans filled with flowers.

When: Saturday, May 4, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Plumb Grove will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free and open to the public.  Donations at Plumb Grove accepted.

Contact: For more information, call Kathleen King at 301-842-0020.



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