After traveling twice to Buffalo, New York, to visit the nation’s largest tour of residential gardens, retired Memphis schoolteacher Kim Halyak experienced an epiphany. “When I saw the impact it made on the city, I was blown away. It was so exciting to see these neighborhoods, which reminded me of my own back home, come to life. So, I started picking the brains of the organizers in Buffalo.”
When she presented the idea to the members of her local garden club, 28 homeowners agreed to open their backyards to the public for the inaugural Cooper–Young Garden Walk.
During this annual event, gardeners show off the secret gardens of the pretty bungalows and shotgun houses that spill out from the intersection that gives the neighborhood its name. Old favorites will once again delight visitors, such as the garden of fire chief Gina Sweat, with its vintage fire seals and toy trucks filled with ferns, while newcomers, including the garden of Val Makarsky, a recent transplant from Virginia Beach, will be introduced.
Fees for the tour and a reception, benefit neighborhood beautification efforts and includes the opportunity to enjoy lectures and demonstrations related to the current year’s theme.
Whether you come for the blushing hues of pink and lilac that burst into bloom every spring in the Cooper–Young neighborhood or for the blaze of crimsons and golds that lights the specimen trees of Elmwood Cemetery each fall, you’ll find that Memphis ain’t just the blues; it’s ever green.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 version of AAA World.