Great turnout, inspired spaces highlight RAP Garden Tour

Great turnout, inspired spaces highlight RAP Garden Tour
A group of local ladies from the Corrigan family were out to enjoy the day as Gabriella Rogers, Casey Rogers, Edna Corrigan, Emily Higginbotham, Kate Corrigan, Carol Yazdiya, Shawn Corrigan-Smith and Laurie Corrigan toured the neighborhood and connected with family.

Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) took a bold step and forged forward with its first Garden Tour 2021, as locals begin making way out of pandemic mask mandates to enjoy more local activities and events.

From exquisite yard art in the “Art Garden – Avant-Garde Yard”, to a Jacksonville Jaguar gameday sanctuary at “Made for a Staycation”, an unforgettable memorial garden at “A Calmer Karma” and a butterfly-themed “Flutter by Fantasy”, there was something to takeaway from the many unforgettable yards and patios featured on this year’s tour, sponsored by the Resident Community News Group.

It was the perfect day for the 2021 Garden Tour, presented by Riverside Avondale Preservation May 8. The natives were restless, from sold-out buggy rides and depleted ticket packets in the early a.m. hours, it was evident the neighborhood tour was a hit from the get-go.

According to Executive Director, Shannon Blankenship, who took part in the day’s festivities and was recently announced in her position, it was a huge success that far outpaced expectation.

Gary and Angela DeMonbreun at home  in their garden tour stop titled “Made for  a Staycation”
Gary and Angela DeMonbreun at home in their garden tour stop titled “Made for a Staycation”

“We were thrilled with the results and feedback from Riverside Avondale Preservation’s inaugural Garden Tour,” she shared. “Over 800 people purchased tickets and more than 60 volunteers stepped up to help bring this wonderful event to life.”

Event co-chair Hazel Cleary echoed the sentiment regarding turnout.

“I was surprised at the turnout. The night before I was wondering ‘Will anybody come?’, and then we ran out of the 450 gift bags with seeds,” she continued, “it was such a happy event. All sorts of people were having fun and enjoying themselves,” she said. Cleary chaired the event, alongside co-chairs Ann Burt and Jan Coleman.

Inspiration for small and large gardens was evident in the many interesting and varied displays of plants, flowers, and vegetables at each themed garden space, in addition to yard art, sculptures and some interactive spaces for prayer, peace and tranquility.

The tour was made up of 12 homes, five businesses and three featured parks available to visit throughout the neighborhood and live music and art throughout stations on the routes. From as far North for historic guided tours of Memorial Park, thanks to the Memorial Park Association and former Board President, Patti Houlihan; to the further reaches back to the corner of Avondale Ave. and Park Street, where Native Park played host to visitors and native Florida plants reign supreme, there was no shortage of something for everyone to enjoy.

“There is great interest in building and growing beautiful landscapes at home, and there is no shortage of unique, diverse ways to do it,” wrote Blankinship. “We are showcasing ideas and sparking conversations about art and nature at home in a fun way.”

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