Leave some space when you’re decking your halls this season — the Punta Gorda Garden Club has some ideas for you.
During the club’s Holly Days Home Tour — noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday — members will demonstrate how to bring the outdoors inside in ways you probably never thought of before.
“Once you see the decorations on the tour, you won’t look at plants and recycled materials the same way again,” said Bonnie Verminiski, publicity chairwoman for the tour, which consists of four decorated homes and the First United Methodist Church. Each stop on the tour will be decorated by a committee from the club, and committee members will be at each home to explain how the decorations were made.
In addition to the church, the homes on the tour are the Liz Hutchinson-Sperry and Frank Sperry home and Red Hat Studio at 311 Taylor St.; the Julie and Ryan Price home at 231 Goldstein St.; Janet and Richard Wilcox’s “Creekside Cottage” at 721 W. Virginia Ave.; and the Jan and Mark Gregory home at 629 Trabue Ave.
All the homes have historic ties to Punta Gorda’s past. The Sperry home was built circa 1920 for Travis Parnell, the county’s first sheriff. Its detached Red Hat Studio was the town’s first studio. The Price home was built in 1926 as a rooming house, called the Brown House, and was originally located on Taylor Street. The Wilcoxes refurbished their 1940s-era home inside and out, including adding a cottage garden. The Gregorys’ home was built in 2001 to resemble a home from earlier days. It includes many elements reclaimed from the original house on the site.
Each home will have a live, decorated tree and other natural decorations made by members of the garden club. Some may include fresh arrangements, but most are made from dried, natural materials you can find locally; perhaps even in your own backyard.
“Last year, we took grape leaves and made magnolias, and made dragonflies out of a variety of materials,” said Verminski. “You just never know what you’ll see.”
All 77 garden club members participate in decorating for the tour, which has taken place every year since 1992, with the exception of 2004, after Hurricane Charley, when the club just sold poinsettias. After the homes are selected, members tour them and join committees to work on each home. They hold several workshops throughout the fall to make the dried decorations. The homes are decorated just a few days before the tour, when any fresh items are added also.
This year’s theme, Holly Jolly Christmas, is more lighthearted and lends itself to whimsical and light decorations.
Tickets for the Holly Days Home Tour are $10, and can be purchased from garden club members or at any stop on the tour. Refreshments will be served. Poinsettias and possibly handmade decorations will also be for sale.