Bill Doughton is not one to raise people's expectations.

Bill Doughton is not one to raise people's expectations.

Yet, he thinks the Merion Village Association's 11th annual garden tour is shaping up to be an impressive event.

"We've always had some world-class gardens," said Doughton, tour committee chairman. "It might be some of the best ever a fabulous mix of mature, established gardens along with some newer, more recently renovated and redesigned areas."

The tour, featuring nine gardens, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 11. There are several new facets of the tour, Doughton said.

For starters, Ken Fultz has been named the first honorary chairman. Fultz, chair of the local garden club, said he is pleased to receive the designation.

"It's nice when people think of you that way," he said.

The tour coincides with the 25th anniversary of the association, which was formed to bring streetlights to the area, Fultz said.

"Who thought it was going to be around for 25 years?" said Fultz, who has held various positions with the association, including president and secretary.

With the support of the 2010 garden tour partners, the association will promote "green" initiatives, such as recycling, Doughton said. All featured gardens and adjoining residences have been certified by the city as "GreenSpot Columbus" residences. The Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District will conduct a live demonstration of a rain barrel installation.

"It's a community-driven organization and we want to take advantage of the new energy and youthful energy we have to sustain things for the next generation," Doughton said.

The tour is the biggest fundraiser for the Merion Village Association, which raises money through the sale of food and beverages and a plant raffle, Doughton said. Those funds pay for many events throughout the year, plus a newsletter and meeting space.

For more information and updates on the tour, visit the association's website at