On a first-autumn-weekend that also features Shore Paddle and the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival, it might be easy to overlook a quiet, grass-roots endeavor that opens some of the town’s “greenest” gardens and homes to public perusal.
But as the borough Environmental Commission points out, the public-welcome happening that’s all about the community’s future has grown by leaps and bounds since last year’s inaugural Green House Tour.
Scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m., the newly rebranded Red Bank Garden and Eco Tour offers a self-guided excursion designed to “educate the local population on the individual and environmental benefits of incorporating sustainable living practices, and to provide residents an opportunity to build and grow together,” in the words of commission chair Frank Corrado.
A major component of a county-wide initiative coordinated with the nonprofit Monmouth County Transition Network, the event embraces more than a dozen Red Bank locations, ranging from private backyard oases to local businesses that support and practice environmental sustainability.
Among them: Sean Walsh, who recently brought the edible landscaping and regenerative design firm AppleSeed Permaculture to Red Bank. The newcomer opens his Linden Place backyard to the tour, and will showcase a number of sustainable designs, such as organic raised garden beds, an edible front yard garden, a solar food hydrator, and compost tea brewer. A special source of pride are his Hugelkultur beds, a sustainable method of growing a typical garden without the need for fertilizer or irrigation.
Residents Peter and Tanya Ptak are on the tour again this year, demonstrating their extensive use of solar power on their property, as well as their well-maintained and thriving backyard bee colonies.
Businesses are also getting involved. The JBJ Soul Kitchen will offer tours of its front yard raised-bed garden from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., and Coffee Corral is offering free hot and iced coffee all day to tour participants who (sustainably) bring their own re-usable mugs.
As Corrado explains, the tour “was actually the brainchild of our last chairperson, Laura Bagwell, and we want to continue the tradition. We feel this a great opportunity to allow residents to not only learn about some of the eco-friendly lifestyles of their neighbors, but also a chance to meet other people and support businesses who feel environmental sustainability is an important topic that affects all of us.”