Everything has lined up perfectly for the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) to host its first garden walk.
After several other events had to be canceled because of COVID-19, the inaugural BAPA Beverly/Morgan Park Garden Walk, set for Sunday, Sept. 13, will allow BAPA to showcase the community, bring residents together and support the local economy.
An array of residential gardens will be featured, as will public gardens at schools, train stops and churches.
BAPA Executive Director Mary Jo Viero said the idea was pitched to her at a Weeding Wednesday, when volunteers team up with BAPA to clean up popular neighborhood spots, and interest ramped up immediately.
“It really made sense because we can partner with all of our local businesses,” Viero said. “It’s just a really good way to bring everyone together.”
The walk will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at bapa.org for $20; on the day of the event, tickets will be $25.
BAPA was already forced to cancel the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, held every July, and the Ridge Run, which had been postponed from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend, is now officially canceled. The BAPA Home Tour, which was also initially postponed, has been canceled.
According to BAPA, 10 private gardens will be showcased, from 89th to 117th streets, from West Beverly to East Beverly. Some of them have been winners in the garden contest hosted by the Chicago Bungalow Association, which is a walk sponsor.
One garden is next to the Dan Ryan Woods and features a meditation pond with sand and ceramic fish, a garden of kitchen herbs, and a variety of perennials and potted plants.
Public gardens at Kellogg, Sutherland and Vanderpoel elementary schools, as well as the 91st Street Metra Rock Island Line stop, will also be featured, as will several front yard gardens that people can view from their cars.
Several stops will feature tastings and other interactive experiences.
The walk will start and end at the Edna White Community Garden, 1850 W. Monterey Ave., where participants will receive maps and be directed to participating gardens.
Viero said phone calls and emails poured in with suggestions on which gardens to showcase. After several visits, she and BAPA Assistant Director Grace Kuikman chose those that are larger in order to allow for social distancing.
“Grace and I toured quite a few,” Viero said. “It was great because people were super-excited about it, and they were proud of the gardens and wanted to share them.”
With the pandemic limiting people’s social interactions, gardening has become more popular worldwide.
Kuikman said that’s been the case locally, and steady rainfall in recent months helped the gardens blossom.
“We had some really exceptional garden spaces in the community this year,” she said.
Other sponsors and partners include Southtown Health Foods, Beverly Bank, County Fair Foods, OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center, City Grange, Steuber Florist and Greenhouses, Blossom Boys, and Oak & Bloom.
The garden walk will be BAPA’s only community-wide special event for 2020, and Viero said it will be held again next year, but a few months earlier.
June or July might be a better time for the event, but she’s excited about what the inaugural walk has in store.
“We’re going to try in September,” Viero said. “I think it’ll be kind of fun because the gardens will be changing over to the fall, which is OK.”
In case of inclement weather, the BAPA Beverly/Morgan Park Garden Walk will be held Sept. 20.
For more information about becoming a sponsor or volunteer, call BAPA at (773) 233-3100 or email email@example.com.