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Massena Valley Garden Club holding 2014 Garden Tour on July 19

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MASSENA - Seven local gardens in the Massena and Louisville area will be on display during this year’s Massena Valley Garden Club 2014 Garden Tour, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 19.

Frank Catapano, one of the local residents opening up his home, will have limited hours of noon to 3 p.m.

“He has a beautiful pond in the back of his home,” Garden Tour Chairman Paul Willer said.

He said three of the homes are located on Wilson Hill, three are in the town of Massena and one home is located on state Route 131.

“In most cases, a lot of them have been Garden Club members. Others are just some extraordinary-type gardens,” he said.

Tickets for the tour, which are $12, include a map with the locations of the homes on the tour. The tickets are available at the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce, Frenchie’s Chevrolet, Frenchie’s Ford, Phil and Jackie’s, and Studio 162 in Massena. They’re also available from any Garden Club member or Mr. Willer, who can be reached at 769-7341.

He said visitors can use the gardens as inspirations for their own homes.

“People will spend the whole summer driving by and going, ‘I’d just love to walk down through there.’ It’s a great resource for ideas and it’s a learning experience. It gets a person to say, ‘I want to do something like that.’ It’s a nice little opportunity for people to talk gardening or just to talk about how they came up with that idea,” Mr. Willer said.

Building the gardens doesn’t happen overnight, he said. In his case, they started with a couple of rose bushes off to the side. From there, they added a little tub and water.

“Before we know it, it’s, ‘Let’s have a little stream coming down.’ It’s something that really grows,” Mr. Willer said.

The Garden Tour is typically held every other year as a fundraiser for the Massena Valley Garden Club. It was scheduled for 2013, but ended up being delayed until this year.

“There were a lot of people that were going to be in the show that went gung ho, even including myself, but at the last minute we said we were going to have to cancel it,” Mr. Willer said.

He hoped to have eight homes for the tour this year, but is happy with the seven who will be showcasing their gardens.

“I just missed having the eighth one. Sometimes it’s too much work,” he said.

In addition to touring gardens, some homeowners will be providing other amenities such as snacks and refreshments.

“We’ll put out crackers and cheese. At our place, to go along with the Nantucket Garden theme, we’ll put up Nantucket books and Cape Code magazines,” Mr. Willer said.

Money raised from the Garden Tour will go for beautification around Massena and the club’s scholarship program. Mr. Willer said club members - there about 15 active members out of the approximately 30 total - have been busy planting daffodils around the community the past few years.

“We’ve been planting 2,000 daffodils each year since I’ve been a member of the club,” he said.

Some are located on state Route 37 in front of the Johnson Newspaper Center, while others are located near the Elks Cub, Massena Housing Authority, Prospect Park across from the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation’s Administration Building and near SkinStitch Corp. on Center Street.

“They will multiply on their own. With any luck you get the right person coming into town during the spring and they would say, ‘This town is absolutely beautiful,’” Mr. Willer said.

Some other fundraising money goes into other gardens, such as one located at the entrance to the Homecroft area, he said.

“This community really does take an extra special pride in their gardening and how they keep things nice. It’s beautiful to go for a walk in any part of town, the way people really make an extra effort,” he said.

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