Rochester residents share secrets of their backyard beauty

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published June 12, 2018

 Vito and Bonnie Coraci, and dog Maggie, will open their garden to guests June 21 during the 19th annual  Rochester Garden Walk.

Vito and Bonnie Coraci, and dog Maggie, will open their garden to guests June 21 during the 19th annual Rochester Garden Walk.

Photo by Deb Jacques


ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS — Secrets of the successful gardener will be revealed during the 19th annual Rochester Garden Walk June 21.

Bonnie and Vito Coraci will display their charming in-town garden. The couple have lived in their house for seven years.

“It is wonderful,” Bonnie Coraci said. “Downtown (Rochester) is so much fun — and we just walk down the street to get there.”

Their picture-perfect patio and yard are enhanced by a mailbox replica of their 118-year-old house, built by a former homeowner.

In addition to the Coraci garden, Rochester Garden Walk participants are invited to enter four other private gardens.     

Walk co-chair Colleen Dykstra said several of the sites are on large, almost 1-acre properties.

“All of them are do-it-yourselfers,” she said.

Public gardens — including the Children’s Garden at the Rochester Hills Museum and the Older Persons’ Commission’s garden — will also be on the tour. Local garden author Nancy Szerlag will display a garden that she has personally designed and installed, and she will be available to discuss her work.

The event is co-sponsored by the Rochester Garden Club and the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.      

“Garden walks are the perfect way for curious gardeners to explore beautiful local gardens and learn more about this passion,” walk organizer Jenny Van Dusen said.

Additionally, an open-air market featuring Michigan artisans will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. the day of the walk inside the Rochester Hills Museum calf barn. Sale items will include metal designs, garden art, pottery, plants for the garden, fabric work and vintage finds.

A special 11 a.m. program will address one of the newest gardening crazes, succulents, also in the calf barn. Door prizes will be awarded during the program — which is free to Rochester Garden Walk ticket holders.

Rochester Garden Walk ticket holders are also urged to tour the Rochester Hills Museum grounds, which are located at the historic Van Hoosen Farm homestead, founded in 1840.

Dykstra said she is always on the lookout for amazing gardens.

“We are always interested in hearing about beautiful gardens for our future walks,” she said.

The Rochester Garden Walk will be held 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 21. Tickets cost $12 in advance and $16 on walk day. Advance tickets are available at Bordine’s of Rochester Hills and Lytle Pharmacy, and at

Beginning June 18, tickets can be purchased at the Rochester Hills Museum, located at 1005 Van Hoosen Road, between 1 and 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

For more information, visit or call (248) 656-4663.