Franklin shows off its green thumb with 33rd annual garden walk

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 4, 2018

 Bingham Farms resident Frank Venegas will be showing off his property, pictured, as part of the Franklin Garden Club’s annual Franklin Garden Walk June 13.

Bingham Farms resident Frank Venegas will be showing off his property, pictured, as part of the Franklin Garden Club’s annual Franklin Garden Walk June 13.

Photo provided by Cynthia Amann

FRANKLIN — Many Franklin residents will say their community has some of the best gardens in Michigan, and they will show some of them off for the Franklin Garden Club’s annual Franklin Garden Walk.

“It is a walk through several gardens,” explained event co-chair Cynthia Amann. “This year we have five gardens we’ll be showcasing, varying from a simple front yard garden to a 12-acre property. We also have one with a World War II-era conservatory on it. You buy a ticket to the gardens, and you get a wristband and a map and drive from garden to garden, because they’re not all within walking distance of the Franklin Village Green, where we meet.”

The event will take place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, June 13. After a two-hour break, it will continue 6-9 p.m.

Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 the day of the tour at the Franklin Village Green gazebo. Tickets are available at the Franklin Village Boutique, 32716 Franklin Road, and online at www.franklingardenwalk2018.eventbrite.com.

Boxed lunches from Panera Bread are available for purchase. The price starts at $10, and the lunches include half of a turkey roll-up or half of a vegetarian roll-up, plus a salad, chips, fruit, a cookie and water. Tickets including the lunches will only be available until June 7.

The Franklin Garden Club started in 1953, and the walk raises funds every year for several philanthropic causes, including the Franklin Historical Society.

“This is the 33rd year of the walk,” said Amann. “We usually give out two scholarships of $1,000 each — to Michigan State University and one to the University of Michigan. We also have donated funds to groups such as the Belle Isle Conservancy and the Earthworks Urban Farms and Forgotten Harvest in the past. We try to give money to as many groups as possible each year. None of the proceeds are kept for the club.”

Bloomfield Hills resident Jean Hansen, who is a substitute teacher at Detroit Country Day School, will have her garden featured on the tour. She said it was a friend and neighbor who convinced her and her husband, Jay, to feature their home on the Franklin Garden Walk.

“My neighbor ... is kind of a do-it-yourself landscaper and architect. She has been helping us with our garden,” said Hansen, noting that her neighbor’s house was featured on the walk before, “so she convinced me to take part. I have a love of gardening, and she said she has met so many people through gardening, and said I might find the same passion.”

Hansen began working with her neighbor during a graduation party for Hansen’s daughter.

“Two years ago, for my daughter’s graduation party, (the neighbor) revamped our backyard, and we were so pleased with what she did we gave her free rein to redo our backyard,” said Hansen. “She came up with a low-maintenance garden with lots of perennials that last all year round,” she said, describing the effect as an “Upper Penninsula feel, with beauty and a sense of isolation or privacy.”

Hansen’s children also helped make the garden stand out and look unique.

“My daughters are both artists, and I have some of their work spread out through the garden,” Hansen continued. “Molly is a glass artist, and I have some of her pieces there … and Hannah does photography and mixed media, and I am hoping to have one of her pieces done on mixed metal and done by the time of the walk. I like incorporating their creativity in the garden.”

The walk will be held concurrently with the Artisans Market, which will take place 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the Franklin Village Green.

“We have about 15 vendors on the green, and (the work) varies from pottery to sculpture to things like metal and recycled plastic bottles,” said Amann. “We try to have the same kind of arts and crafts vendor feel you could find at any of the local shows.”

Both Hansen and Amann said the Franklin Garden Walk will be a great way to enjoy a summer day and to take in the beauty of the Franklin area.

“This is a very pleasant way to spend a morning and afternoon walking through people’s gardens and enjoy the beauty and nature and hard work that the gardeners put into their gardens,” said Amann. “You might see the house from the road, but when you see behind the house and get a close look, you see you had no idea how much work and what some of these gardeners have done. It’s beautiful and awe-inspiring. It will make you want to go home and work on your own garden.”

More information is available at www.franklingardenclub.org. People can contact Amann at franklingardenwalk@gmail.com.