Home, community gardens featured in Aug. 3 tour

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 29, 2019

 The home of Stephanie and Randy Woolridge, on Port Street, will be on this year’s St. Clair Shores Yardeners Garden Tour Aug. 3.

The home of Stephanie and Randy Woolridge, on Port Street, will be on this year’s St. Clair Shores Yardeners Garden Tour Aug. 3.

Photo provided by St. Clair Shores Yardeners

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Because of her heritage, Stephanie Woolridge traveled many times to Japan as she was growing up. Her husband, Randy, has also traveled the world extensively.

“My husband went with me to Japan for the first time in 2008,” Woolridge said. “We’ve gone to different locations and we just take inspiration from there.”

The yard and gardens at their home on Port Street reflect this love of travel, taking its inspiration from Japanese gardens and European cafes.

“We both love European cafes. We also love wine,” she said. “We sit around and drink wine in the European cafe section (of the yard).”

The Woolridges’ garden is one of six residential gardens that will be on display during the St. Clair Shores Yardeners’ 26th annual Garden Tour, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 3. This year’s tour will also feature the St. Clair Shores Community Garden.

Laurel Fowler, of the St. Clair Shores Yardeners, said that the group wanted to let other residents know about the Community Garden, where residents can rent out a 4-foot by 10-foot garden plot for $80 for the season. The garden also showcases composting, rain barrel usage and a bee hive.

Fowler said that the Woolridge garden is “worth the trip.”

“They designed it around things that they love,” she said. “They have some really nice specimen trees and the paver work is just really nice.”

Woolridge said that their garden is inspired by the Japanese philosophy of, “Work with what you have that grows.” 

The yard includes shaped trees, burning bush, hostas and ferns, as well as water features, pagodas, bells and windchimes.

She said that they began working on it when they moved into the home in 2001 and didn’t realize just how much money they would end up spending at Hall’s Nursery as the garden developed throughout the years.

“We just kind of dabble in things that make us happy,” she said. “It’s a de-stresser.”

Fowler said that another garden on the tour is done by a man whose mother, father and brother were on the tour two years ago.

“Gardening is in the family,” Fowler said. “We have another garden that has three sides of the lot visible to people walking by or driving by, so they’ve created nice privacy.”

Gardens are nominated by friends or family, or sometimes by the homeowner themselves after they take a tour. Sometimes, Fowler said, members of the Yardeners spot a garden in the community and contact the resident themselves. Residents can nominate gardens by emailing scsyardeners@gmail.com. 

Tour maps with garden descriptions will be available for $5 at the Selinsky-Green Farmhouse Museum, located on 11 Mile Road behind the St. Clair Shores Library, 22500 11 Mile Road. There will also be vendors at the Farmhouse Museum where visitors can purchase garden-related items.

The garden tour is one of the main events the Yardeners host each year, along with a spring native plant sale. The Yardeners also host educational programs throughout the year focusing on gardens and nature at the library.

“It started out showing earth-friendly gardening practices and we still try to show that,” Fowler said of the tour. “Sometimes people just have unusual gardens that are nice to see, to get ideas from.”

Call Staff Writer Kristyne E. Demske at (586) 498-1041.

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