Visitors to the gardens and homes on this year’s 22nd annual Quilts in the Garden tour on July 11 are in for a number of special treats. Each property is unique in its own way due to its history, current usage, or items on display.

Sponsored by the Sisters Garden Club, this self-guided tour will visit five locations plus the Sisters Community Garden where lunch can be purchased, by the first 150 patrons, from members of the garden.

The Community Garden, located on East Barclay Drive next to Sisters Eagle Airport, provides a lovely setting for a lunch of fresh and healthy items under sunshades scattered through the garden. Quilts are displayed on the fence surrounding the garden with stunning mountain views as a backdrop. The garden has 44 raised beds, plus two elevated beds at wheelchair height. There is also a shared greenhouse and six shared plots for fruit, herbs, and flowers.

Tour chairperson Donna Lipscomb is coordinating the tour for her second year. She likens organizing the tour to “planning an extensive campaign.”

After getting people to agree to open their homes/gardens to over 500 people, a schematic is produced for each location to enable planning the placements for check-in tables, water stations, parking, special displays, and posting of garden club members who act as hosts at each site.

Each location has its own unique qualities that provide the backdrop for specially themed quilts, garden art, and this year a particular book by an Oregon author.

The actual tour takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Thursday of Quilt Show Week, but preparation begins months in advance. It takes an army of volunteers to stage the tour, with captains for each area – quilts, parking, vans, special exhibits, tickets, marketing – everything it takes to stage the tour.

The week of the tour includes the delivery of tables and tubs full of supplies to each tour location on Tuesday or Wednesday. The quilts are hung early on Thursday morning and taken down immediately following the tour. Supplies are collected, money is turned in, quilts are returned to their owners, and another tour is in the history books.

Last year over 500 tickets were sold, and this year may beat that record. Tickets are now available for $20 per person (children under 12 free) from the Sisters Chamber of Commerce at 291 E. Main Ave. or The Gallimaufry at 111 W. Cascade Ave. Tickets may be purchased on tour day at homes one and three. The tour can be started at any of the garden locations. Simply follow the map inside the ticket and look for colorful silk flags at the entrance to each of the gardens. (See related story on page 10.)