Annual Secret Garden Festival highlights residents’ creativity and imagination
Fredericka Manor is known for its lush landscape, featuring more than 500 trees, including many rare and ornamental species. Hundreds of shrubs, flowers and succulents also dot the 24-acre community, many blooming year around creating a serene oasis that has been likened to heaven on earth!
Choose to walk down any path at Fredericka any time of year and witness an explosion of color and leafy vegetation. Garden beds showcase blooming rhodies and lush hostas, statuesque irises and climbing vines on custom-built arbors.
Yes, the landscape team does a great job, but many residents also have a hand in creating private gardens that reflect their own personalities and imaginations. Their handiwork is celebrated each spring when the Fredericka Garden Club sponsors the Secret Garden Festival, a walking tour of dozens of resident-created gardens.
Those living in cottages are able to plant directly in the ground surrounding their residences. But gardens can also be found in pots on a front porch or a patio, in a kitchen window box and in planters inside tower apartments — anywhere at all, any size at all!
Resident Mary Clement came up with the idea for the Festival and garden tour a few years ago after seeing so many beautiful gardens during her daily walks around campus. “Why not have a tour for everyone,” she said. “Since so many people have done creative things with their small yards, and inside their homes, let’s share.”
During the guided tour, visitors can ask questions about each garden and may pick up tips from each other about growing and the plants themselves. Fredericka also has a community garden where residents can reserve a space and grow flowers or vegetables. The community garden is included in the tour.
“The Festival is a week long,” Mary says. “We divide the community into sections or neighborhoods and visit one neighborhood each day. Last year, we featured about 20 gardens.”
One of those gardens belongs to resident Tracy Moncure, who grows perennials, succulents and annuals. “The tour is just beautiful,” Tracy said. “I’ve seen roses, calla lilies, agapanthus, just to name a few. The gardens are nice but the best part for me is visiting with my neighbors and getting to know them.”
Unfortunately, in 2020, the Festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, but Mary hopes it will “blossom” again in spring 2021.
“Gardening is an excellent way to relax and do something outside even during the pandemic,” Mary said. “Even though our community is well-landscaped, management encourages us to be creative with our personal gardens. We are looking forward to coming back strong in 2021.”