BELLEFONTE — Kathy Stabile took some time Sunday to stop and smell the roses — and the lilies and the milkweeds.
The green-thumbed Stable, of State College, was in her element, strolling through some of the best gardens in and around Bellefonte.
Flowers of every color bloomed. Enough vegetables and herbs to feed an army — or run a gourmet kitchen — grew.
It was all part of the Bellefonte Garden Club’s 2012 Garden Tour. The event drew crowds Sunday afternoon to nine gardens in the region.
For Stable and her friend, Alison Norris, of Boalsburg, who are both long-time gardeners, it was a chance to be around what they love best. Norris said it was gardening that first drew the friends together almost 30 years ago. That’s when Stable moved to the Boalsburg area from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Growing up in an apartment in the city, Stable said she didn’t know a weed from a flower when she moved to the area. She has spent the last 30 years making up for lost time.
Lately, with her back acting up, Stable is happy just being out around the flowers. “Now I like to get out and look at the plants,” she said.
Robin Fiester and Sandy Dunham were among those admiring the plants outside Penn State Extension master gardener Beverly Harader’s home on Little Marsh Creek Road.
The pair, who traveled from Eagles Mere for the tour, are long-time friends of Harader’s, “so we knew this would be exquisite,” Fiester said.
Dunham, marveling at the work that went into the garden, said they were not disappointed.
“I have a vegetable garden, and I can’t keep it up,” she said.
Such a garden isn’t easy to maintain, Harader said.
“I’m in the garden 10 months out of the year,” she said. “It’s a huge amount of work.”
She has happy to show off the fruits of her labor Sunday for the first garden tour the club has held in five years.
Harader said the event is the club’s main fundraiser for the year, and it goes toward the operation of the children’s garden.
“It just felt like time to bring it back,” she said.
Next door, her neighbor, Beth Russell, was giving tours of her garden for the very first time.
Russell and her family moved to Little Marsh Creek Road three years ago. Since then, what had been a hobby for Russell, a registered nurse by trade, turned into an obsession.
“This is my passion,” she said. “This is really a stress release for me.”
Moving in next to a master gardener didn’t hurt, either.
“(Beverly) has been great,” Russell said. “We kind of feed off one another.”
Norris and Russell, moving from one home to the next, admiring the wide variety of plants, acknowledged gardening is a lot of hard work.
Norris said her brother and sister-in- law shake their heads about the amount of time she spends in her garden.
“But for me, if I’m not in my office, I’m outside doing something in my garden,” she said. “It’s not ever work, it’s pleasure.”
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter