Sunday, July 5, 2020
Enthusiast Touts SBG’s Value in a Pandemic as Garden Blooms with Flowers and Activities
Flowers—and activities—are beginning to bloom at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden.
Saturday, May 30, 2020


Virtual wildflower walks. A free pocket sketching demo. Socially distanced yoga. And a workshop on herbs for COVID-19 and flu pandemics.

More than flowers are beginning to bloom at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden as Idaho gradually loosens restrictions on activities.

In fact, today—Saturday, May 30—those who have been cooped up for 10 weeks are invited to the garden between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to help with a few spring cleaning projects. Volunteers will be rewarded with kombucha and ice cream.

Jeanne Cassell, Poo Wright, Ann Christensen and Jen Smith led a small group of nature lovers to the Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh in search of blue camas, birds and bugs this week. They posted the walk on the garden’s Facebook page and plan to make an encore presentation of a virtual wildflower walk next week.

Kath Macaulay will offer a free pocket sketching demo at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, June 24 over Zoom. Then she will hold a pocket sketching workshop for $225 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. June 16, 19, 23, 26 and 30. Contact Kim Chaplin at or 208-726-9358 for more information.

Parents are invited to bring their tots to the garden for Discovery Club at 10 a.m. Wednesdays in June and July beginning June 3. The hour-long sessions, which include plant and bug identification, are free for members and $5 for nonmembers.

Socially distanced guided tours of the Garden of Infinite Compassion and the new Serenity Garden will be held between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays through the end of July beginning June 13.

And McCall herbalist Darcy Williamson is planning to hold an Herbal Support for COVID-19 and Flu Pandemics class Sept. 12-13.

The 25th annual Garden Tour will proceed on Saturday, July 25, showcasing outstanding properties in Golden Eagle, Gimlet and Aspen Hollow. The garden tour will culminate with a 25th anniversary celebration of both the Garden Tour and the Sawtooth Botanical Garden at the garden itself.

The entire tour is accessible by bicycle, with a bicycle tunnel underneath Highway 75 connecting Golden Eagle with the remainder of the properties. COVID-19 health and safety guidelines will be followed.

Gimlets in the Garden, the garden’s annual gala fundraiser, is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 26, and will be organized according to COVID-19-related guidelines. Tickets will go on sale in July.

And the Bug Zoo, which was to have been held in April, will now be held Sept. 23 through Oct. 1.

Other early- to mid-season private events, classes and workshops that have been postponed may be held later in the season.

“We are taking everything in stride,” said Executive Director Jen Smith. “We want to provide wonderful and safe social-distancing opportunities in beautiful outdoor spaces, and our region has no shortage of that!”

 With the garden now open, organized youth day camps are encouraged to visit. A nominal per-child fee will be assessed to cover staff and age-appropriate educational content. Contact Education Program coordinator Kim Chaplin at for more information.

Private events may also be held at the garden. Contact Gardens Manager Kelly Odell at for more information.

Susan Flynt, who has served on the board of the garden for more than 20 years, said the garden is a very special place to visit during the pandemic.

“Gardens can lift one’s spirit, as well as educate. Idaho’s south-central biomes are displayed at the garden with the Alpine, Montane, and Riparian biomes. The Serenity Garden, which includes a Prayer Wheel, is beautiful landscaped and truly is serene. Spring is a magical time to visit the garden as flowers and shrubs are waking up from their winter nap and budding with a multitude of bright green colors,” she said.

Flynt who recently stepped down as board chair to focus on arts and theater and other passions, said she has had years of beautiful memories watching the Sawtooth Botanical Garden wake up every spring.

“Having watched the garden mature over these 20 years has been magical. Our community is blessed to have this wonderful resource, and I look forward to seeing the garden grow in the future.”

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden is located four miles south of Ketchum at the corner of Highway 75 and Gimlet Road.

Visitors are welcome—unless they’re feeling ill. Visitors are also asked to practice good hand hygiene, using sanitizing stations available at the garden, to consider wearing a mask and to be respectful of physician distancing with other visitors.

A nominal admission fee is forgiven for all healthcare and frontline workers for the season. SBG members, those attending events or classes and members of public botanical gardens in the American Horticulture Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program also enjoy free admission.


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