NOLA Secret Gardens Tour to be held March 23-24

In honor of March as National Brain Injury Awareness Month and coinciding with The Brain Injury Association of Louisiana’s annual conference, the 2012 Secret Gardens Tour will take place on March 23 and March 24, beginning at the Milton H. Latter Memorial Library at 5120 St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans and continuing in select gardens along St. Charles Avenue and Dufossat, Baronne and Soniat Streets.

Since 2004, the Secret Gardens Tour has staged this annual event to raise awareness and funds for brain injury recovery programs in the greater New Orleans area.

The Secret Gardens Tour is one of several organizations that have partnered to restore the grounds of the Latter Library. Specifically, tour has funded the installation of a Serenity and Recovery garden that will be open to the public as a way to relax, reflect and experience the healing power of nature.

Plans for the garden will be revealed at the tour.

“A feature of the garden art is a whimsical garden layout intended to stimulate all the senses and provide solace for those facing stress or trauma,” said Marianne Mumford, tour co-chairman.

Seventeen merchants will have their “secret treasures” for sale at the boutique with souvenirs ranging from the popular raffia hats to jewelry and garden art; live music ensembles will be scattered throughout the gardens; and boxed lunches will be for sale from Langenstein’s.

A sample of the gardens featured includes:

—1666 Soniat St.: A riot of color from a naturalistic garden spills out along Baronne and Soniat Streets with its mix of yellow cassia trees, lantana bushes and citrus plants.

—5114 Soniat St.: Shaded by 150-year-old oak trees, lush plants and whispering antique fountains evoke the tranquil past.

—1421 Soniat St.: Papaya trees line a high brick wall amidst checkered monkey grass and Chinese fringe trees.

Tickets are now available for both the private, guided tours and self-guided tours.

Guided tours, which will take place every 30 minutes from 9 to 11 a.m. on March 23 cost $60 per person and include a short garden presentation and free return admission on March 24.

Self-guided tours will take place on March 24 and cost $30 per person.

Discounted admission is available for advance purchase online or by check for self-guided tours and in advance for both tour days for groups of 10 or more.

Advanced purchasing closes March 21 at 5 p.m. Full-price tickets will be on sale the day of the tour.

For more information, visit www.SecretGardensTour.org or call 504-838-3098.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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