Mark your calendars for the Bisbee Garden Tour on Saturday, Aug. 31, (Labor Day Weekend) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year the tour takes in nine gardens in and around Warren, Naco and San Jose. None of them have been opened to the public before. Each demonstrates a different way of gardening in Southeast Arizona.

First there are two wild and beautiful gardens high up on the Warren terraces with views to kill for, followed by another couple of gardens right across the road from each other a few steps from the Warren Ball Park — one a stunning, private, enclosed courtyard and the other a traditional corner garden packed with plants, vegetables and herbs.

A mile or so south of Warren in the middle of the desert, there’s an astonishing walled garden with an outdoor dance floor. South and west along the Border in Naco you’ll be surprised again by a totally unexpected cottage garden (complete with white picket fence!) hidden behind a traditional adobe house.

Moving north up Naco Highway, you’ll pass an orchid fancier’s greenhouse sporting many of the surreal and fragile plants before reaching San Jose and the final two expansive and established private desert gardens.

There is a 10th garden on the tour: at Vista Park itself, boasting 12 different species of trees, all pointed out in the self-guided tour leaflet available at the ticket table in the farmer’s market on the day of the tour.

Tickets to the tour cost $15 each. They are available on the day of the tour in Bisbee, both at the farmers market in Warren across from the Warren Ballpark and in Grassy Park in downtown Old Bisbee. They will also be on sale at the Aug. 22 Sierra Vista Farmers Market.

(Ahead of the Tour tickets can be purchased at The Copper Queen Library in downtown Old Bisbee and at Finders Keepers and High Desert Market up from the Library on Main Street.)

This is a self-drive tour with easy parking at each garden.

The ticket includes a map showing where all the gardens are, with a suggested route between them. No dogs are allowed.

Finally, as you visit the gardens, you’ll see artists at work at their easels. Their paintings will all be displayed in Grassy Park in Old Bisbee at 4 p.m. that afternoon, where they will be sold at a lightning silent auction before 5 p.m.

Artists who would like to paint in the gardens on the day of the tour are welcome to do so for free! Pre-registration is at the Copper Queen Library in Bisbee, or at bisbeebloomers@gmail.com.

On the day of the tour, artists should go to Grassy Park from 8.30 a.m. onwards to get their canvases (up to three per artist) stamped, and get a garden assigned to them.

At 3.30 p.m., they can take their paintings back to Grassy Park to be displayed at a Pop-Up Art Show and sold at the silent auction between 4 and 5 p.m.

— Submitted by Jane Gaffer

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