An unpredictable spring season had WesterFlora organizers concerned they wouldn't have enough sites for the annual garden tour this summer.

But Westerville's gardeners came through, and the event will have a full slate of 12 gardens, including nine newcomers to the award-winning tour that takes place throughout the city Sunday, July 16. The free WesterFlora Garden Tour, with the theme "A City in Bloom," will run from 1 to 7 p.m.

Kathy Segal falls into both camps – the worried gardeners and tour newcomers.

Concerned by the weather and unseasonable spring, she and her husband, David, did not expect to be in the tour at all.

"We couldn't get out as early as we wanted to and get things done," Kathy Segal said.

But the newly retired Segal found she had more time than usual, and members of the Westerville Garden Club had been asking her for years to include her garden in the tour. So, like others who were called to action by the relative lack of applications early on, she took the plunge.

"I've kind of been saying, 'When things grow in a little better I'll do it,' for a while," Segal said. "I finally decided that this year I'll do it."

The Segals have a "shade garden" with a waterfall feature and a variety of plants tucked into their back yard on Landings Loop on the northeast side of the city. Segal described the garden as "our own peaceful place," and said it didn't take long for gardening to go from a casual endeavor to a bit of an obsession.

"You add a few things this year and that year and it all snowballs," she said with a laugh. "Then one day you're addicted to going to garden stores."

Segal has always enjoyed gardening and has attended multiple Westerflora tours in the past, but had never felt that she put enough time in to make it worthwhile for her. But with more spare time, the recently retired school nurse (and her husband, who chips in with grunt work) put it all together.

Like other gardens, Segal's space will have artists and a musician in the yard during the tour, and said she would love for the space to bring joy to others.

"I just hope people enjoy it," she said. "That's what it's created for."

Sponsors of the tour include Westerville Parks and Recreation, Hoover Gardens and the Westerville Garden Club, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

In honor of the milestone, the garden club's Hanby House Kitchen Garden will be on the tour. The historic Hanby House will be open for free tours.

A map and entertainment schedule for the tour can be found at Westerflora.com or in a brochure available at the Westerville Public Library, Westerville Community Center and Hoover Gardens.

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