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A growing tradition: Garden tour today

Like watching a baseball game, barbecuing or swimming in the pool, the Bethlehem Garden Tour and Plant Sale is a summer tradition.

Five private homes and two public gardens are included on this year's tour, which will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13 at locations throughout the town.

Tickets for the garden tour are sold the day of the event at 4 p.m. in the parking lots of the Slingerlands Price Chopper, 1355 New Scotland Road, Slingerlands, and the Glenmont Price Chopper, Town Squire Plaza, Glenmont.

The fee is $12 per person.

Anywhere from 250 to 350 people attend the annual event, depending on the weather.

We have never had to cancel, but weather does have an impact, said Marcy Corneil, garden tour chairwoman.

A plant sale will be held the same day of the tour, also from 4 to 8 p.m., across the street from the Bethlehem Public Library. There is no fee to attend the plant sale.

"Over 300 perennials and pots will be on sale," said Corneil.

The Bethlehem Garden Tour is now in its 11th year, and proceeds are used to create and improve public gardens throughout the town, including at the intersection of Cherry and Kenwood avenues, outside town hall, along Delaware Avenue and in Selkirk.

"This year's public gardens on tour include one in front of town hall designed by the garden club and another in front of the library done by the Delmar Progress Club," Corneil said.

Last year's tour raised more than $2,500. Proceeds from the plant sale fund an annual elementary environmental science grant given to a local school. A $1,000 award was given this year to Clarksville Elementary School.

"It means so much for the students to have a hands-on experience," said Clarksville teacher Barbara Riegel, who applied for the grant with teacher Heather Bush. "You want to let the kids know this is their world and they need to take care of it."

A butterfly habitat will be created at Clarksville with money from the garden club award. A quiet place for students to observe nature in a close-up setting will also be constructed with the funds.

There are currently between 60 to 80 members of the Bethlehem Garden Club who meet monthly between September to May.

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