NARRAGANSETT – When attending Sunday services, parishioners at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Central Street are typically greeted by the sight and smell of various donated flowers, the majesty of a towering copper beach tree at the front of the church and the tranquility of a small, spiritual labyrinth nestled in a corner near the church’s entrance. This weekend, the St. Peter’s garden and the grounds, along with the church itself, will be open to the general public as part of the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) Master Gardeners’ ninth annual “Gardening with the Masters” tour, which sees expert botanists from around the state and beyond open their gardens up to the general public for a walking and informational session for one weekend bienially during the summer months.
The biennial “Gardening with the Masters” tour extends to 26 gardens throughout the region, each overseen by a URI Master Gardener. Six South County gardens will be featured on the tour, including the one at St. Peter’s.
The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30. Guidebooks for the event, which detail each garden on the tour, serve as tickets to the tour and are good for both days. Guidebooks are $25, or $22 in multiples of two, and must be purchased in advance. The books can be purchased online at uri.edu/mastergardener/tour. For more information, call (401) 874-2900. Children under 18 attend free.
According to Kate Venturini, administrator for the URI Master Gardener Program, each garden is unique in name and design and each garden is tended with the principles of integrated pest management in mind, with minimal or no chemical inputs or soil disturbance. Every garden has also changed and developed to reflect the personal style and flair of its master overseer, according to Venturini.
“Tour participants are encouraged to plan a route when they receive their guidebook so that they can visit as many of the gardens as possible over the two-day tour,” said Venturini. “Planning ahead will be helpful and make the tour more enjoyable.”
URI Master Gardeners will also be available on-site throughout the weekend to lead the tour, answer questions and engage with the public. Proceeds from the tour will benefit the educational programs of the URI Master Gardener Program.