“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey Hepburn

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ -- Six gracious Mountainside homeowners welcomed visitors into their backyards on Saturday to saunter among hydrangea, oleander, hibiscus, roses, succulents and so much more.  The biennial Tour of Mountainside’s Gardens, orchestrated by the Mountainside Restoration Committee, has become one of the most beloved fundraisers in the Borough; and, like gardening, is largely dependent on perfect weather.

Each property had its own theme, ranging from a contemporary Southwest garden, to a historic Georgian revival style home built in the early 1900s.  There was a lovely cottage garden with curving border beds, and two homes featured spectacular gardens perched along the edge of the Watchung Reservation.  Another was a backyard poolside oasis, surrounded by whimsical décor reflecting the unique character of the homeowners. 

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There was no shortage of entertainment at each of the homes as well. Folks could try their luck at a game of "chicken plop bingo," take their chances for many lovely prizes at the gift basket raffle, or shop for handmade birdhouses, terrariums and original photo note cards at the boutique.  Homeowners also shared information about the history of their properties and provided gardening tips, and even offered clippings from some of the plants.

Along the way, hungry tour goers also had the option of stopping in for a bite to eat at the Publick House, whose owners generously  donated the proceeds from the lunch tickets toward restoration and maintenance of the Levi Cory and Deacon Andrew Hetfield Houses. 

Currently, the Levi Cory House is undergoing much needed renovation.  Future plans for the structure include a museum for children’s interests, as well as a fundraising boutique. Committee members include: Scott Daniels, Ruth Goense, Carol Clark, Jason Pastore, Alice Cowell, Bob Gardella, Carol Goggi, Diane Kontra, Thomas McGee, James Toner, George Urban, Sandra VanderMeer and Ethel Ward, with Wendy Caccamo the Borough Council Liaison. 

The Committee wishes to extend its heartfelt thanks to the homeowners for sharing their beautiful gardens with the public: Dana and Darren Tietsworth; Mary and Bob Greeley; Zofia Bielecki; Peter Roblejo; Diane and John Manziano; and Janis and Michael Lamb.

Much appreciation for monetary contributions and support are also extended to: A.P. Mazzilli Landscape Contractors; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage; Christoffers Flowers and Gift Shop; Dreyer Farms; Mazzella’s Gourmet Market; Jeff Houston Electrical; Ferraro’s of Westfield, The Publick House; and Michael and Janis Lamb.

The Mountainside Restoration Committee is always seeking new volunteers!  Upcoming events for 2018 are: Fall Mum and Plant Sale: September 13 through 16; Annual Yard Sale: September 14-15; Four Centuries in a Weekend Open House: October 20-21; Veterans Day Luncheon: November 11; Village Shop Boutique:  November and December, dates/times TBA; Cookie and Hot Cocoa Sale at the Boro Tree Lighting: December 1; Adult Wine and Cheese Gingerbread Open House: December 8; and family Gingerbread Open House: December 9.  Please visit www.mountainsidehistory.org for more information.

For a virtual tour of this year's Mountainside's gardens, please scroll through the photo gallery on this article.