he beauty of New Orleans is truly unique. Each pocket of the city — from the Northshore to the south, from the Westbank to the east — has its own special treasures. Since its inception in 2004, The Secret Gardens Tour has been revealing the treasures found in the private gardens of Uptown New Orleans. More than 1,000 locals and tourists attended last year’s event, and more than $40,000 was raised and allocated to several brain injury recovery programs, including the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana; the Acquired Brain Injury Survivors Support Group; and St. Andrew’s Village, a special community for disabled adults. Additionally, The Secret Gardens Tour funds The Greater New Orleans Resource Guide to Brain Injury Recovery.

Word of mouth has established The Secret Gardens Tour as one of the best outdoor garden events in the city. During the main tour on Saturday, renowned landscaping experts and some homeowners will be on hand to answer questions and offer insider details. Aside from the tours, visitors come to enjoy musical performances, the floral labyrinth and gourmet boxed lunches for sale. They also enjoy exploring Secret Treasures, an outdoor boutique offering garden accessories, gifts and art by local artists and merchants. This year, we are proud to announce that several local hotels, restaurants and retailers have joined in our celebration and will be featuring Secret Gardens-inspired special rates, menus and window displays, as well as other Secret Gardens Tour promotions.

For an additional donation, private guided tours are available on Friday. Led by volunteer docents, visitors will have the opportunity to meet the professionals responsible for creating or maintaining each garden. Each expert will deliver a short summary of his or her involvement with the garden. Some will discuss the project as a “before and after” complete with visuals, while others may discuss the style of the garden, point out its highlights and answer questions along the way. Visitors attending the Friday tour will benefit from a preview of the gardens and exclusive time spent with the gardens’ experts. Tickets to the Friday tour also include return admission for Saturday.

The first Secret Gardens Tour began with a group of New Orleans families who had been personally touched by the challenges and triumphs experienced throughout brain injury recovery. Much like a secret garden, there was little known about brain injury and few resources available to help those navigating the route to brain injury recovery.

These families sought a way to provide a variety of information –– everything from local traditional health care systems to locating alternative health care while informing the public about the causes and prevention of brain injury.

Thus, the seeds were sown for the first Secret Gardens Tour in March 2004, followed by another successful tour in March 2005 with a four-year break due to Hurricane Katrina. The Secret Gardens Tour was presented again in March 2009.

The 2010 tour, themed Art in the Garden, will be among our most spectacular tours yet! Not only will it showcase the natural beauty found within 10 private gardens near and along Exposition Boulevard and Audubon Park, but it will also highlight the man-made beauty that is found in many of the gardens’ unique outdoor art installations. Bird Island, the man-made island situated in the center of Audubon Park, will be a featured stop on the route, as well. 
It is our pleasure to present to you Art in the Garden, the 2010 Secret Gardens Tour. We hope you will join us on Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13 on historic Exposition Boulevard along Audubon Park, and we encourage you to visit our Web site, www.secretgardenstour.org, for ticket information and additional event details.

Marianne Mumford, 2010 Co-Chair, The Secret Gardens Tour
Kathleen Waring, 2010 Co-Chair, The Secret Gardens Tour

Ticket Information

Private Guided Tours

Friday, March 12, 2010

9 a.m to 11 a.m., every half hour

• The Secret Gardens Tour is pleased to offer a limited number of private tours guided by landscape and design professionals whose gardens are showcased on the 2010 tour. The tour groups will consist of approximately 10 people plus the guide and will start at 9 a.m. to 11a.m. every half hour

• Ticket-holders for the exclusive private tours will be granted complimentary admission to the self-guided tour the following day.

• The private tours are expected to take about 90 minutes but could last as long as two hours depending upon each group’s interest in each garden and the length of time spent asking questions, lingering in the gardens and walking to each garden.

• Tour-goers will meet at 6300 St. Charles Ave. for their designated tour group time. Tickets for the private tour are limited and will be sold in advance for $60 per person and $50 per person for groups 10 or more. Limited tickets will be available for sale online until March 10.

• Tickets can be purchased online at www.secretgardenstour.org, and tour times can be scheduled by contacting Marianne Mumford at marianne@landscapeimagesltd.com or 734-8380.

Self-Guided Tours

Saturday, March 13, 2010

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Tickets for the self-guided tour are $25 each and $20 each for groups of 10 or more (online only) if purchased online at www.secretgardenstour.org by Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at 5 p.m. After that time, tickets may be purchased at the event for $30 each. Children younger than 5 can attend for free.

• For more info, please  contact Lisa Alpaugh at 838-3098 or SecretGardensTickets@gmail.com.

• If the tour is canceled due to rain, please consider your ticket a donation. Refunds will be given only on demand.

• Funds raised from the tour will be used for educational and charitable purposes to benefit survivors of brain injury. We welcome any additional donations or sponsorship. The Secret Gardens Tour is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Funds raised from The Secret Gardens Tour will go to local brain injury education and recovery programs.