Julie Dawson’s garden features a gazebo that  is laser-cut with one of her kaleidoscope designs.

Julie Dawson’s garden features a gazebo that is laser-cut with one of her kaleidoscope designs.

Photo provided by Julie Dawson

Beautiful blooms have a story to tell at Franklin Garden Walk

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 4, 2024


BIRMINGHAM/FRANKLIN/BLOOMFIELD HILLS — There were no flowers on the property when Birmingham resident Julie Dawson moved into her home 50 years ago.

She has since transformed her home into a beautiful space that combines art and nature.

This year, she is participating in the Franklin Garden Walk June 19.

Her main garden was started with the help of her mother, who brought or sent her perennials from her Illinois garden. From there, the garden continued to grow.

Dawson is an artist, and she uses her art to enhance her garden space. One of her kaleidoscope designs, featuring native animals and birds, is laser cut on the blue and silver gazebo in her yard.  Metal giraffes and allium adorn the shade plants in one of her gardens. In the spring, peonies, clematis, anemone, azaleas and dogwood beautify the outside of her art studio.

She has a pergola in her courtyard that provides a shady seating area, decorated with blue pots and her designs on the cushions. The space is surrounded by bells from around the world, pairing well with the coffee table book Dawson authored, “Seeing the World through the Heart of its Bells.”

Upon Dawson’s terraced rock garden, one can spot 14 “Sillybillies” garden sculptures — characters from the children’s book series she wrote and illustrated.

Within Dawson’s acre of woods, plentiful springtime daffodils grow. Later in the season, fern and native wildflowers fill the space.

“I like my gardens,” Dawson said. “I like to have people come and just enjoy them and sit down, meet people and have great conversations. That’s what it’s all about.”

Dawson’s garden is one of five included in this year’s Franklin Garden Walk. The gardens are located in Birmingham, Franklin and Bloomfield Hills.

“All of these people were very generous and wanted to do it, and all of their gardens are really beautiful,”  Sharon Wolf, of the  Franklin Garden Club, said.

The Franklin Garden walk is a fundraiser run by the club. They provide college scholarships, and support several local horticultural and environmental programs.

The Franklin Garden Walk will take place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. June 19. In addition to the five gardens, there will be an artisan market 9 a.m.-5 p.m. near the Franklin Gazebo in Franklin Community Park.

On the day of the tour, Tickets can be purchased at the Franklin Gazebo on the day of the tour for $15 cash or check. Advance tickets cost $12 cash or check at the Franklin Village Boutique or the Franklin Public Library. Online purchases can be made with a credit card at 2024franklingardenwalk.eventbrite.com.