All kinds of tours can be taken through our town, and the recent Gardens of Stowe tour gave people a glimpse into the bloomiest, most colorful and most creative gardens around town. The tour included both commercial gardens — at inns, restaurants and hotels around town — and home gardens.

“We wanted to feature some of Stowe’s most interesting gardens, both commercial and residential,” said Mary Skelton, one of this year’s co-organizers. Stoweflake Resort & Spa served as home base, where tourists could pick up maps with garden descriptions and go off on their own self-guided tour.

“We try to stagger them in different directions so there’s no bottleneck,” Skelton said. Ten gardens were featured this year.

Skelton helped found the Gardens of Stowe tour three years ago. It’s a fundraiser for Stowe Vibrancy, which promotes and hosts events and activities in the community. Last year’s event raised about $1,000, Skelton said; so far, more has been raised this year, with more than 100 people heading out to the gardens.

She hopes people find inspiration in the gardens of others. In the springtime, she said, “everybody’s really excited about gardens and gardening, and it’s fun to pull weeds and spread compost and lay in the dirt, and see what other people are doing in this wonderful, exciting, new birth season.

“It’s just exciting. Everybody comes and they’re enthusiastic about it, and the novelty of weeding hasn’t worn off yet. They’re excited to see what other people are doing and get ideas for another kind of rock garden and another water feature” than they’ve seen, Skelton said.

Blooming at the Bistro

The Bistro at Ten Acres will be a stop on the tour for the first time.

In 2016, the Bistro at Ten Acres added a patio, and Mark Fucile, who owns the Barrows Road property, said he realized a “classic Vermont garden,” including coneflowers, daisies, black-eyed susans and phlox, would look great to separate the dining space from the road.

“When the patio was built, I put in 96 perennials around it, and to date, 95 of them are still there. I’m pretty happy about that,” Fucile said.

Since then he’s put in a few annuals that reseed themselves every year, such as cosmos and dwarf sunflowers, which grow to about 3 and a half feet tall.

“From a maintenance standpoint, honestly, it’s pretty easy. I go through it and deadhead, cut back after blooms. In the fall, I cut everything down and just put it to bed. In the springtime, it gets a layer of mulch, with the exception of this year, because it felt to me like there was plenty of mulch and I didn’t want to overmulch. I just turned the topsoil over,” Fucile said.

It’s satisfying for him to work in the garden, and he’s excited for people to see his hard work.

“It’s particularly satisfying to have people come. If I’m deadheading, lots of people just stop at the stop sign and tell me it looks nice, and I appreciate that.

“The guests who dine on the patio comment, they take pictures of the flowers with the cows in the background and post it to social media,” Fucile said. “That’s rewarding because in a way, you’re creating a memory for them, and it’s a feel-good for me.”

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