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Garden tour to support Canadian Liver Foundation

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Take in the beauty of East Kildonan while benefiting a worthy cause.

The Manitoba branch of the Canadian Liver Foundation is hosting a rain-or-shine garden tour of eight gardens in an eight-block radius on Sat., July 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Several of the gardens have won Winnipeg in Bloom awards, organizers say.

The foundation’s program co-ordinator, Luella Stephens, is organizing the event and is hosting one of the stops at her home. Stephens, who has lived in the neighbourhood for nearly 30 years, once organized a similar tour about a decade ago, and found neighbours were eager to participate once again.

"You get to talking, and you become friends over the years," she said. "You stop and chat, exchange plants, and they were gracious enough last time, and 10 years later, they jump to the pump, would love to do the tour."

Each garden will have a host, often the gardener, to explain the intricacies of each spot.

"They’re all very diverse," Stephens said, explaining one garden has a water fountain and pond while backing onto the Red River, another spills onto the front boulevard,
Stephens explained the streets on the tour are shaded by tall elm trees, and those looking to make a day of the event can drop by Fraser’s Grove Park for a picnic.

The Stephens’ garden is primarily tended to by husband Jim, who describes the garden as a "yin and yang" presentation, as he has a woodland garden, gravel garden, and traditional English garden styles, among others.

Regional co-ordinator Bianca Pengelly said she’s always excited about new ways to raise awareness of liver disease and maintaining liver health. The garden tour is particularly exciting, since it promotes healthful eating and physical activity.

"Gardening is very therapeutic," Pengelly, a St. Vital resident, said. "It’s relaxing, at the same time, you’re getting fresh air. There’s nothing that’s too vigorous. There are a lot of people with liver disease that don’t have the energy for physical activities to help themselves, but gardening can be an easier way to do that for themselves."

Tickets are $15 and available at the Canadian Liver Foundation (210-375 York Ave.), Petrasko Bros. (1577 Henderson Hwy.), Green Scene (245 Lilac St.), St. Mary’s Garden Centre (2901 St. Mary’s Rd.), Schriemer’s Home and Garden (2857 McGregor Farm Rd. N.)

Addresses and maps will be given out at the time of the ticket purchase.

Pengelly said the proceeds raised will go directly to the foundation’s efforts to further research, support, and education, as it doesn’t spend money on advertising.

Stephens added the national organization sets aside approximately $2 million for research grants to give to researchers annually. The foundation estimates liver disease in various forms affects one In 10 Canadians.

For more information on the local chapter’s efforts, visit http://www.liver.ca/clf-chapters/locations/manitoba-saskatchewan/

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