You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Chelsea Garden Walk offers rare chance to see area's most beautiful gardens

By Alana West

Ten unique gardens will be featured in this year’s Chelsea Garden Walk, including a three-acre “secret garden” in the city and a stunning lakeside garden filled with hundreds of day lilies and ornamental grasses.

The biennial walk, which offers a rare opportunity to view some of the Chelsea area’s most beautiful private gardens, will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Three of the gardens are within the city limits, while seven will be at lakefront homes in the area.

Maps will be available to the garden sites when tickets are purchased. New this year are bicycle routes that link up the gardens. “They can go on bikes to visit the sites. It’s really pretty out to Cavanaugh Lake. They could take the bike route the whole way,” said Trinh Pifer, owner of the Garden Mill, which is sponsoring the Garden Walk along with the Chelsea Area Garden Club.

Chelsea Garden Walk

  • What: Biennial walk featuring nine private and one public garden.
  • When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • Tickets: $10 each, available at the Garden Mill, Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors, the Potting Shed, and at the sites on the day of the event.
  • For more information: Contact Trinh Pifer at the Garden Mill, (734) 475-3539, or visit

The garden walk is a fundraiser for the Chelsea Area Garden Club, and will be used to pay for civic plantings throughout Chelsea, including the old post office, and the library. It will also be used toward a scholarship for master gardener certification, and to help fund small grants that support local gardening projects. Tickets are $10 at the Garden Mill, Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors, the Potting Shed, and at the sites on the day of the event. The event will run rain or shine.

Four of the garden sites are at homes on North Lake, one on Joslin Lake, and two on Cavanaugh Lake. “There are lots of really pretty lakes and rural area, as well as a cute downtown,” said Pifer, who added that of the 10 gardens, nine are private homes.

The 10th is the Chelsea Retirement Community, which has landscaped and designed beds, as well as a formal rose garden, annuals and a hosta and perennial garden. Another of the downtown gardens is owned by two retired teachers, David and Marge Mastie.

“They have Chelsea’s secret garden. Although they are on our main road, you can’t see it,” said Pifer, adding that the garden is three acres with 30 unique gardens and eight garden rooms. “The house and all of the gardens are totally hidden by the conifers,” said Pifer. She said a person would have to drive into the driveway to see it. “But the most spectacular garden is on Joslin Lake. Nancy and Doug Cooper have collected over 700 varieties of daylilies and 50 ornamental grasses,” said Pifer. The garden is Victorian-themed, with garden statues and pergolas placed throughout. “She spends about four hours in the garden every day,” said Pifer. Pfier said that the garden walk is too spread out for people to walk to all of the gardens, so a car or bike is required. “A lot of people start one leg of the walk, go and have lunch and then do the other leg of the walk,” Pifer said.