Thank You

64th Camden House & Garden Tour

Sixty-four is a lot of years, and the annual appearance of the yellow tulip signs and the converging crowds on the third Thursday in July is old-hat around Camden and Rockport.  But the Camden Garden Club’s House and Garden Tour manages to be fresh and exciting every year, thanks to the generosity and goodwill of so many area homeowners and gardeners.
While the Tour is a big event and therefore easy to notice, sometimes local citizens may not notice the results of the Tour, things they see every day, year after year.  For example, people like the hanging baskets of red geraniums on the Camden lampposts and would certainly miss them if they weren’t there.  They like the flowers in the traffic islands, and in the bridge boxes, at the Arch, and at the Chamber of Commerce.   They would know if they thought about it that all those baskets, boxes, and beds require frequent watering and fertilizing (3 times a week).  People like the well-groomed shrubbery beds curving around the Village Green.  They like the lighted holiday wreaths on the lampposts in December.  They like the new children’s amphitheater at Laite Beach and the new trees and shrubs along the front of the Middle School.  They may even know about the dozen or so new trees planted on Camden residential streets, year after year.  But many people seem to think those lovely additions to the quality of life here happen by themselves.  “Isn’t that paid for by our taxes?”  we hear fairly often.  No.  Except for a part of the cost of the street trees, all of that is paid for by the Annual House and Garden Tour.
It’s a big garden club, somewhere around 150 members, but the Tour is a huge project and every year we recruit friends and relatives to help us greet the public in the rooms and gardens and to direct parking.  All have been gracious and reliable; we couldn’t pull this off without them.  Every year the area business community responds to our letters with contributions to the Tour’s expenses.  The area newspapers have accepted our building-the-excitement news releases with a cooperative spirit.  We are grateful for the help of all of these and for their acknowledgement that the Tour exists entirely to benefit this community.  They know we’re all in this together.
This year Marcy, Megan, and Peter van der Kieft and Ellie Appleton of Margo Moore Interiors in Camden invited tour goers to an afternoon garden party, with tea sandwiches, cookies, and beverages to cap the day, a lovely idea, much appreciated by the weary but happy tour goers and tour staff who gathered to share their stories of the day.
So many people worked many months – long, long hours – to accomplish the beautiful 64th tour.  I cannot name them all in this space but must tell the world here of the remarkable dedication of this year’s Tour Chairman, Ann Reis-Cole.  Thank you, Ann, and thanks to Ann’s family, who have aided, abetted and lived through this immense project, and last year’s, as well.  Other committee chairs were splendid, too:  Camy Vitullo, staffing; Sally Smyth, publicity; Fran Moore, signage and business contributions appeal; Pat Nelson, traffic; Molly Foster, flower arrangements; Meredith Scheck, set-up; and Signe Mather, Ann’s shadow this year and next year’s chairman.
The day was hot, in the 90s, but as was often mentioned, it didn’t rain. The crowd was large and happy.  We won’t know for a few more days if we made our budget numbers, but it was a grand Tour. All of Camden and Rockport showed our visitors from all over New England what a lovely piece of the world this is and what gracious people live here.  Thank you to all who said yes and made it possible.
Sherry Cobb
The Camden Garden Club

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