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Symphony NH hosts tours of exquisite gardens

Floral-themed fundraiser places six area gardens in the public eye

NASHUA – Saturday, the Friends of Symphony NH hosted a floral-themed fundraiser with tours of local gardens.

The self-guided walk-through garden tours in Nashua and Hollis featured local residents showing off their properties, with proceeds going back to Symphony NH in support of their concerts and musicians. This year’s tours featured six gardens; Cindi Owning, of Hollis; Liz Barbour, of Hollis; Vangi Collins, of Nashua; Barb Young, of Nashua; Diane Ventresca, of Nashua and Giorgio Sciortino, of Nashua.

On Saturday, people had the opportunity to explore these properties.

The event is scheduled to continue from 10 p.m. to 3 p.m today. There will also be tours at Fulchino Vineyards in Hollis with a free wine tasting from noon to 5 p.m. Al Fulchino will donate 20 percent of today’s wine sales to the symphony as well.

“This is just another fun activity, to get people to volunteer their gardens,” Susan Laughlin, president of the Friends and coordinator of the tour, said. “They spend a lot of time waiting to get them perfect, and allow the public to come into their backyards and enjoy their hard work. I think people like to have their gardens admired anyway.”

That’s especially true for Barb Young, who’s been cultivating her property, which is a certified wildlife habitat from the National Wildlife Federation, for 22 years, growing it larger and larger with each passing year.

“This is a 22-year-old garden,” Young said. “I’ve been working the property for 22 years and almost everything here I put in myself. The only things that remain from when we purchased the house are the really tall birch trees. Everything else I installed, and my focus is organic gardening for pollinators so, attracting birds, bees and butterflies.”

Her husband also sets up little bee huts in the backyard to allow

native bees to reproduce. Young has lost count of the many different plants on her property, estimating there’s hundreds of species spread around the yard from grasses to flowers, trees to succulents and much more. Her garden is also of four-season interest, with the idea that as one plant dies out another is blooming right behind it to fill its place all year round. With a speciality in shade gardening, she even has plants stretching to the far edge of her backyard by the treeline.

“Growing up my dad was a big gardener, and I didn’t really realize it at the time but I was an art history major, so I love color, shapes and textures…and I’m not a very good artist, so this is like my art,” Young said. “This is my artistic expression, and I’m just obsessed with plants, I just find plants so incredible.”

From front to back, and even stretching along both sides of the house, her property acts as a magnet for monarch butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, among other critters who stop by her serene sanctuary. She said she’s able to host these animals in such a way because she refuses to use chemicals, ensuring everything is organic. She moved into the property back in 1995, planting her roots, so to speak, the following year in 1996, and ever since the garden has just expanded, blooming to be what it is today.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.