Private paradises unlock during the Nichols Hills Garden and Outdoor Living Tour.
For the past 33 years, the Nichols Hills Garden and Outdoor Living Tour has showcased many of the city’s most beautiful gardens and carefully cultivated spaces. Typically held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first Saturday in June, online promotions say the annual event “promises vibrant colors, earthy drama, rich fragrances and edible garden secrets.” This year’s tour will be on June 3.
Susan Marshall, first chairperson of the garden tour and current president of the Nichols Hills Parks, noted that the featured gardens are selected by “looking at the front yards and taking note of who is working with a particular landscaper or horticulturist, such as John Fluitt & Associates or Linda Horn from Total Environment.” Perhaps the most challenging part of organizing the event, according to Marshall, “is making calls to see if people would be agreeable to be on the tour.” Not everyone is eager to shine so public a light on their horticultural efforts or private spaces, but participation means a chance to showcase some of the truly dazzling displays nature — with a little guidance — can produce.
The direct beneficiary of the tour is the Nichols Hills Parks, a non-profit organization that maintains and beautifies more than 30 green spaces throughout the Nichols Hills area. The tour’s garden enthusiast following has grown significantly in the past 33 years — coming a long way since that first year, when ticket holders met at a local church and rode a tour bus to visit the five homes.