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How does your garden grow?

Friendships, memories bloom at Dryden tour

Photos by Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Sybil Martin, of Lansing, left, and her friend Nancy Nielsen, of Groton, look over lillies along a hillside at Donna Stone and Glady West’s house as part of the Dryden Garden and Art Tour. For five hours, people went to each home and walked through the gardens listening to music, viewing artwork on display and taking away inspiration for their own garden.

DRYDEN — Dryden resident Khaki Wunderlich has spent years creating a space that encompasses her love for Japanese culture and remembers her family.

It’s a reminder of two grandparents who lived in Japan during the occupation following World War II. A lantern she can see glimmering through her patio door is for her mother and the fond memories of being introduced to Japanese art as a child.

Artist and designer Christine Shanks displays her work at Khaki Wunderlich’s garden Saturday during Dryden Beautification Brigade garden tour in Dryden. Wunderlich’s garden was one of five on display Saturday as part of the Dryden Garden and Art Tour.

Another lantern that sits under a star magnolia tree is for her husband, Jack. The tree was where he took his last photo before he died.

“When it blooms each spring, it kind of feels like he’s back with me,” Wunderlich said.

Her garden was one of five on display Saturday as part of the Dryden Garden and Art Tour. For five hours, people went to each home and walked through the gardens listening to music, viewing artwork on display and taking away inspiration for their own garden.

For Christine Shanks and Wunderlich, the tour meant expanding on their friendship, which first developed while working at the Tompkins Cortland Community College together. On Saturday, Shanks hung her artwork in Wunderlich’s yard.

“We want to bring the community together and inspire people to try new things and see what’s growing well in the area,” said Mary Kirkwyland, the Dryden Beautification Brigade coordinator.

The brigade began in 2007 in part because of a Tompkins County grant to match volunteer hours in the village.

The committee first began caring for gardens and parks in the community. In 2009, the tours began as a way for others to share their horticultural wealth.

For Phyllis Bryn, working in her yard brings her back to her family farm where she and her mother would plant flowers and vegetables.

“It’s just so relaxing,” Bryn said. “It’s my happy place.”

Joanne and Randy Sterling spent the day greeting and driving people in a van — with flowers attached here and there — to each house. Joanne Sterling said the event is a learning moment for those who don’t know much about gardening. It’s also a time to be inspired.

“I appreciate the beauty and the work that goes into the garden,” Sterling said.

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