Carol O'Meara, Colorado State University Extension

If you’ve been riding around with a gardener lately, you might have found it a hair-raising trip. Between spotting plant sales and gardens looking glorious from the moisture we’ve gotten, our driving habits more closely resemble a squirrel in traffic than a sedate motorist.

Circling back to take another look at a plant in bloom is common; it’s why we take three hours to run a one-hour chore. The only way to satisfy the itch to see gardens is to embark on tours. Fortunately, garden tour season is almost upon us. Check out these in our area:

The 17th Annual Whittier-Mapleton Garden Tour is June 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., showcasing outstanding gardens in the historic Mapleton Hill neighborhood. Privately owned, these beautiful gardens are not open to the public at any other time of year. The gardens are selected to show a variety of types: mature, avant-garde, lavish and modest. They feature exotic plants, rare and gorgeous flowers, extraordinary hardscaping, terraced landscapes and gardens that cleverly exemplify ways to implement water-wise and captivating plantings.

Proceeds benefit the Whittier International School. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and teens, kids 12 and younger free (no dogs please). Advance tickets are $15 and available in Boulder at Sturtz and Copeland, Pharmaca, Spruce Confections, Boulder Book Store, Seeds Café, Cured and The Flower Bin in Longmont. Tickets the day of the tour are $20 at the ticket booth located at 840 Mapleton Ave. in Boulder. For tickets and information, visit whittiergardentour.com.

Longmont Symphony Orchestra Guild’s 42nd Annual Festival of Flowers garden tour takes visitors through five outstanding gardens, June 7 through 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Support the orchestra while enjoying the blooms of the private, lovely gardens. Tickets are $15 and available from Symphony Guild members and in Longmont at the Flower Bin, Front Range Flea Market, Longmont Florist, and Duran Hobby Acres. For more information and ticket purchasing locations, check out longmontsymphony.org/garden-tour.

The 15th annual Loveland Garden Tour, June 15, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. showcases nine private gardens in northwest Loveland. The tour features art for the garden by regional artists and a silent auction of upcycled items suitable for outdoor spaces.

Proceeds from the event benefit Loveland Youth Gardeners, a local nonprofit organization providing educational programs for youth ages 5 to 21 and fresh produce for low-income community residents. Tickets are $20. Tickets are available online at lovelandyouthgardeners.org
or by calling 970.669.7182.

The Junior League of Fort Collins is sponsoring the 37th Annual Terrace and Garden Tour, June 22, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. As the major fundraiser of the year, the garden tour supports programs such as the Junior League Career Closet, Lincoln Center Children’s Imagination Series, Done-In-A-Day Projects and Kids in the Kitchen. Tour the gardens, then stay for the block party the Junior League is hosting, with live music and food trucks. Tickets are $20 but if you want the VIP treatment of food and beverage sampling during the tour, $35. Tickets can be purchased online at jlfortcollins.org/fund-development/junior-league-garden-tour.

By Carol O’Meara. Colorado State University Extension, together with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, provides unbiased, research-based information about consumer and family issues, horticulture, natural resources, agriculture and 4-H youth development. For more information contact CSU Extension at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Box B, Longmont, 303.678.6238, e-mail comeara@bouldercounty.org or visit ext.colostate.edu/boulder.