The Crestone Eagle • July, 2021

Art in the Garden Tour is back! Happening August 8

by Matie Belle Lakish

Hallelujah! Summer is here, and afternoon rains are showing up. Flowers are blooming, and veggies are thriving! What more can we ask for in the mountains?

It’s time for sharing! Local gardeners may remember some previous garden tours. Before COVID-19, we had many occasions for sharing our gardens, and in 2017 we had our first Art in the Garden Tour. We continued with a second in 2018. 

How does it work? It’s a tour, so gardeners invite artists to their gardens, and then visitors pick up a map, go to the gardens, and view the artwork or listen to the music while touring the gardens. There are opportunities to ask questions of gardeners about what they are doing in their space, as well as a chance to engage with the artists.

We have many new residents with questions, as well as several experienced gardeners with lots of knowledge to share. This is a great way to share information. Growing vegetable crops will be the main focus, but flowers and fruits add richness, beauty and nutrition to our lives. 

Our town is also known for our artists, who create in an amazing variety of art forms and mediums. When displayed or performed in a garden setting, the art becomes even more alive. Let’s share our knowledge, and our beauty once again! Save the date—Sunday, August 8, from noon to 4pm. 

Gardeners who would like to share their knowledge and techniques are asked to call or email Matie Belle Lakish, 719-256-4252, matieb42@gmail.com, and tell us more about your garden. When messaging us, be sure to indicate that you are interested in the tour and leave clear contact information. 

If the gardener would like to invite artists they may know to show or perform in their gardens, that is probably the best way to do it. If you are a gardener, but don’t know any artists, we will work with local artists to find appropriate gardens. 

In the past, some artists arranged for displaying their work, or performing their music, in a garden with which they were familiar. Some artists are also gardeners. Collaboration is wonderful. Make your own arrangements with gardeners or ask us to assist you. Artists may offer their work for sale if they wish.  

The Community Garden, located next to the Little Shepherd Episcopal Church, will be the first stop. Here you may pick up a map to guide you to the other gardens. Visit with Ginny and the collaborative of gardeners who are growing food to share with the community food bank. 

Alternatively, go to the Crestone Artisan’s Gallery and get a map. These maps will allow you to chart your own course and visit the gardens and artists that seem most compatible with your interests and schedule. Check out the displays at the gallery. 

If you are a new gardener to the San Luis Valley, or own property, but are a bit afraid of the challenges of this area, this tour can be very helpful. For those who have visited my garden in the past, I have been able to show some of the techniques that I’ve found work best here, including varieties of plants that handle our short seasons, soaker hose irrigation basics, and experimental techniques. We’ll all get to see if my straw bale garden is working. 

Several veteran gardeners will be participating, so this is a great way to learn more from those who have gardened here for some years. What techniques work the best? How do they handle weeds? And the biggest challenge in the desert—the water? Or is it the bugs? Or the bears? Or the deer? Check out irrigation techniques and fencing options.

We hope to offer tours of several gardens located in different local micro-zones. How does gardening in the Chalets on a hillside differ from conditions in Casita Park or the Grants? What can you do to improve sandy soil, or alkaline soil? How about that wind? The rock squirrels? The voles?

At some locations you may learn about aquaculture or animal husbandry. Some gardeners also have fish, chickens, or even goats. There’s a lot to explore. 

And for a Sunday afternoon, what can be better than listening to one of your favorite musicians, while admiring a great drawing or photograph or sculptural piece displayed among beautiful cabbage plants, apple trees, or the purple blooms of Clematis vines? 

Save the date, August 8.

For more information contact Matie Belle at 719-256-4252.