Jun. 10—NEWBURYPORT — The Museum of Old Newbury will host its 42nd annual Garden Tour, "Sowing the Seeds: A Season of Renewal," this weekend, inviting visitors to explore the area's hidden botanical gems.
The event, which is the museum's largest fundraiser, will return to an in-person model, after pivoting to a virtual format last year amid COVID-19 concerns.
As popular as the museum's videos were, these gardens — from the vibrant colors to the smell of the flowers — were meant to be experienced firsthand.
"It was a reasonable substitute, but you can't replace the in-person event," Executive Director Susan Edwards said.
This year's event, taking place Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., features five gardens in Newburyport and three in Newbury.
Attendees must purchase their tickets online, but can do so now and throughout the weekend's event. Tickets will work for both days and since it's self-guided, attendees can start at whichever garden they wish.
Upon purchasing tickets, participants will receive the link to a digital booklet, featuring directions to each garden and a list of nearby restaurants. There will also be descriptions and photos of all the gardens.
Most of the homeowners, in addition to museum volunteers, will be on site at each garden to answer questions.
In working with the museum, homeowners have supplied a history of their gardens, as well as fun facts such as their favorite plant, favorite garden tool, favorite bird or butterfly and their go-to garden center, Edwards said.
Most the gardens will feature "plein air" artists from the Band of Brushes, or a group that enjoys painting in the outdoors.
Participating artists this year include Dorothy Aham, Michelle Champion, Grace Daly, Karen Fitzgerald, Mary Francis, Christine Molitor Johnson, Fran Kaplan, Kris Munroe, Janice Reynolds, MaryAnn Varoski and Mary Carolyn Webber.
One of the Newbury gardens sits on the edge of the Great Marsh with views that are "absolutely spectacular," Edwards said.
There will also be a plant sale at the museum's nursery, located in the lower garden behind the 1810 carriage barn. Plants for sale will include iris, hosta and other perennials propagated from the Cushing House's own gardens.
Addressing the name of this year's event, "Sowing the Seeds: A Season of Renewal," Edwards said, "This is a year of renewal for all of us, as we come to life again, just like the gardens, and sow seeds for better days ahead."
Tickets for the event are $25 for museum members and $30 for non-members.
To learn more, visit www.newburyhistory.org.
Participants are also asked to share photos of their favorite gardens with the museum by emailing email@example.com or texting 617-429-2217 with the person's name, town they live in and the number of the garden featured.
If enough photos are submitted, three winners will be selected to receive free tickets to next year's garden tour.
All photos will be featured in upcoming newsletters and on the museum's website.