GREEN RIVER — Due to damages sustained from last September’s historic late-summer snow storm and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the Green River Pond and Garden Tour will be canceled this year.
Green River was particularly hit hard from the storm that left the city with broken and uprooted trees and shrubs. As estimates of around $1million came in, the City of Green River declared a state of emergency and started working on removing all of debris from the streets, sidewalks and homes. However, the city will see lasting impacts from the storm for years to come.
“It was a very hard decision canceling this year’s tour. However, with COVID-19 and the historic storm Green River experienced last September many garden home owners expressed their concern with proceeding on with the tour,” Green River Pond and Garden Tour organizer Lyneen Murphy said. “Many home owners, including myself, received extensive damage to our gardens and felt having an extra year to get gardens cleaned up and back into viewing order was needed to have a good garden showing.”
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This year’s pond tour was scheduled to tentatively take place the second week of August. In the past, the tours have always taken place either the last week of July or during one of the first two weeks in August.
“This is the best showing time for foliage and blooms,” Murphy said.
Even though the tour has been canceled this year, Murphy is already working on organizing 2022’s tour, which she believes will take place sometime in August. Even then, a lot of the gardens and ponds may not have recovered from all of the damage.
“It will really take years for some gardens to recover from this storm. Many had 70 plus year old trees ripped out of the ground. Some had huge limbs broken in half only to fall onto and crushing ground foliage and into ponds,” Murphy said. “I had several fish killed because of a huge limb that had fallen into our pond. We are all in a state of suspense not knowing how our yards, gardens and water features will withstand the change from such destruction.”
Murphy said other issues the storm caused that many residents didn’t think about is how many gardens lost huge shade trees that sustained shade-loving plants. Without those trees or shrubs to provide shade, those types of plants have also died.
The same shading issue is also true with ponds. A lot of residents place their ponds under trees to keep algae at bay, according to Murphy. These ponds are now completely in the sun, which will certainly create issues for the water, fish and plantings.
Right now, we are all in clean up mode and assessing which plants, trees or bushes did not survive the storm or winter.
~ Green River Pond and Garden Tour organizer Lyneen Murphy
“If garden home owners have trees, they have a big job in cleaning up all the debris left from the storm, she said.
Those whose gardens sustained damages will also need to recreate the garden space that was destroyed, she said. All of this will take time.
For those who are concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic, this will give it one more year and Murphy is hopeful that by then the communities’ numbers will be better.
How the Pond Tour Has Changed
Over the years, the pond tour has changed and evolved. The tour started more than 20 years ago when Lamar and Eileen Green of Green River had a desire to show residents how they can also have backyard ponds in this high-desert climate.
“I wanted to expand the backyard pond experience to show various types of gardening for our area,” Murphy said. “There are so many amazing gardens in Sweetwater County.”
This change was made after Murphy received many inquiries as to why only homes with ponds could be on the tour. Murphy said she agreed there are amazing gardens in Sweetwater County that do not have ponds or water features and they should be showcased too.
“You don’t have to have a pond or water feature to be a part of the tour. I am looking for all types of gardens to show visitors,” Murphy said. “If you have a vegetable garden, chickens, bee hive, flower gardens, perennial gardens, rock gardens, pond, water features or a front door entry that’s got flair, you can be part of the Green River Pond and Garden Tour.”
During the tour, pond and garden homeowners share their successes and failures to visitors when it comes to vegetable, floral, ponding or even chickens. With everything their gardens and ponds have been through since September of 2020, they will definitely have lots to share in 2022.
Even though the pond and garden tour started in Green River, it also features homes in Rock Springs and Jamestown as well. This was something that also changed since the start of the program after Murphy received requests from residents in Rock Springs and Jamestown to be on the tour.
“Last September’s storm created huge changes to many local gardens, but we are resilient gardeners and will be ready for 2022 Green River Pond and Garden Tour,” Murphy said.
Anyone who has questions or are interested in joining the 2022 garden tour, can email Murphy at [email protected]