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Music in the Garden

Natural settings, landscaped hillsides, manicured gardens -- it's all a part of the P.E.O. Garden Tour and Tea, set for July 22.

Taking place every two years, the garden tour and tea is a combined effort of the two local Philanthropic Educational Organization, chapters DQ and FG. Funds from the event are split between the two chapters and are used for scholarships for women to further their education.

"It's not just a fund-raiser, it's good camaraderie, too," co-chair Mary Schutz said.

The theme for the 8th Garden Tour and Tea is "Music in the Garden," and the music will not only be in the gardens, but the gardens and the music will fill First Lutheran Church, the site of the tea, as well.

"We always pick a theme and then try to decorate around it," Schutz said. "We thought it would be fun. We always bring the garden into the church, too."

The event is Thursday, July 22, and the gardens are open 11 am. to 3 p.m. There will be three seatings for the tea -- 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Cost for the tours and tea is $25, and those not interested in attending the tea can tour the gardens for $8, payable at any of the gardens.

Maps for the four locations will be available at the tea. All seating for the tea is reserved, and can be reserved by calling Maxine Nelson at 218-847-7539 or Judy Enslin at 218-334-2648.


"The name 'Garden Tour and Tea' has been used since its inception in 1997, but it is no longer a tea," Schutz said. "It has grown into a lovely four-course luncheon."

The tea will take place in the First Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes. Enter through the back parking lot to access the dining room.

In keeping with the musical theme, the first course is the "Prelude," followed by the "First Movement," the "Second Movement" and ending with the "Finale."

There will be mint infused lemonade with spiced nuts, cold soup with a finger sandwich, a tart and a salad, mousse graced with a note. Each item also has a musical name, such as "Symphony of Greens with Vivaldi's Vinaigrette and Flowers." The menu will be displayed on the tables.


The four area gardens on this year's tour include those of Cindy and Mark Fritz at 1492 East Shore Drive; Gail and Mike Gunderson at 1812 East Shore Drive; Velva and Bill Strand at 2226 Wilderness Trail (on Glawe Lake off South Shore Drive), and Mary and Marty Solmon at 12044 County Highway 17 (Lake Melissa).

"A lot of thought has gone into this," Schutz said.

Vicki Johnson is in charge of finding and securing the gardens for the tour. This is her third year finding them, and it's a personal quest as well as for the P.E.O. tour.

"I like to garden, so I'm always looking for ideas, and I appreciate the people who put time and energy into it," she said.

After having a couple homes back out of the tour, Johnson said she's got them in mind for next time's tour. As for this year's though, the Fritz garden is one she's been watching for a while.

"They're next door so I've watched their project evolve," she said.

The gardener working with the Fritzes, she said, has been meticulous as to color and what should go where.

Johnson approached the Gunderson home because of the history aspect. Her lilacs are over 100 years old, and the house is one that Teddy Roosevelt once stayed at.

The Strand home "caught my eye last fall," Johnson said.

She said she was out driving around last year and had to stop, back up and find out who lived at the Strand house. The path leading down to a gazebo is inviting.

Last year, the Solmon house was on the home tour, and the mostly perennial gardens was one address she wanted on this tour. There is a story behind the rock that Solmon hauled in and placed himself also.

The gardens and stories behind them "are all a little different," Johnson said.

During the tours July 22, each garden owner will have typed up a description and details about their garden, which will be handed out to those on the tour. A P.E.O. member will also serve as a garden tour, and will highlight points the homeowners want.

Music in the gardens will include the Purple Pan Steel Drums, Adoration Flutes, a brass ensemble, pianos and more. In the church lobby, there will be piano before the first seating, piano and cello before the second seating and piano and oboe before the last seating.

"The gardens will be brought into the lobby with lots of potted green and flowering plants," Schutz said.