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What to Know If You Go: Secret Gardens of South Seminole Heights Tour

The tour showcases the landscapes and entertaining areas in backyard gardens that aren't visible from the street. While the tour is sold out, tour check-in is at the picnic pavilion at Rivercrest Park, 4802 N. River Boulevard, where maps will be pr

If there's one thing residents of Seminole Heights and beyond love, it's a beautiful garden.

That's evident in the sold out status of the inaugural "Secret Gardens of South Seminole Heights Tour" that kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 28. The free tour, sponsored by the South Seminole Heights Civic Association, was funded by a neighborhood mini-grant from Hillsborough County and donations from local businesses, said Nanette O'Hara, tour chairperson.

"We're stunned at the response and the enthusiasm," said O'Hara, adding that about 275 people had registered for the tour. "People in Seminole Heights attend events in Seminole Heights, but we were surprised to hear from people from other parts of the county."

The idea came about after O'Hara noticed that most Seminole Heights neighborhoods hosted signature events.

Except hers.

The idea had been kicked around for a garden tour years ago. This year, it became a reality for South Seminole Heights, an area bordered by Hillsborough Avenue on the north end, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the south end, Florida Avenue on the east end and the Hillsborough River on the west.

"The tour is both a way to showcase something unique about our neighborhood, and a way to inspire people who live in our neighborhood to take pride in their landscapes and create their own secret garden paradises," O'Hara said.

Eight stops are featured on the tour, which includes seven private gardens in addition to the Seminole Heights Community Garden, O'Hara said.

Residents from all over Tampa Bay registered for the tour, from to Lutz to Brandon.

"Our neighborhood is very eclectic and diverse," she said. "The gardens reflect that diversity and uniqueness. We ahve gardens with cool yard art, or no grass and just Florida plants."

While the tour is sold out, here are some things to know if you go:

  • Bicycling would be best, since there will be a few hundred people attending.
  • Dogs aren't allowed due to liabilities that could occur on private property.
  • Kids can come, as long as they are well-behaved.
  • Local businesses are offering post tour discounts at Seminole Heights favorites like The Independent and Cappy's. Just wear your wristband to show you went on the tour. Looking for a freebie? Brooksies is offering a free glass of wine after the tour.

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